Bubble tea, or “boba," has been pretty popular for a while in the United States. In fact, the sugary drink, which features tapioca pearls suspended in iced tea, first appeared in America all the way back in the 1980s after being brought over from Asia along with a bevy of other foods and flavors at the time.
But it's not exactly the most luxe beverage on the market. There's often tons of corn syrup and artificial flavors involved, and all of that coupled with the playful, whimsical nature of the whole drink makes it unlikely to ever appear on the menu at, say, a fine dining restaurant.
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Now, all that's about to change. TEALEAVES and The St. Regis San Francisco have teamed up to introduce all of us bubble tea lovers to the “World’s Most Expensive Bubble Tea." The companies have re-imagined and elevated the popular drink—even going so far as to rename it the "Boba Teashake" and employ Franck Desplechin, executive chef at The St. Regis San Francisco, to dream up its new ingredients. What they've come up with is almost more art than beverage.
The drink's unveiling will take place in celebration of San Francisco Design Week (June 14-22), and ticket holders will be able to watch a demonstration with Desplechin to learn about the "proper techniques of blending, preparing, tasting, and evaluating the perfect cup of tea, as well as watch a culinary demonstration, and partake in a tea tasting by TEALEAVES," according to a press release.
“With this project, we asked ourselves, ‘How would we re-imagine bubble tea with unlimited resources and time?’” TEALEAVES CEO Lana Sutherland explained in the release. “The World’s Most Expensive Bubble Tea project isn’t about masking the ordinary with diamond-encrusted straws and gold chalices, but is a challenge for us all to elevate expectations, quality, and the standards of ingredients and techniques, using bubble tea as an example—to ‘shake up the status quo’ and ‘question everything.'"
So, what's in the tea that makes it so special?
Apparently, it's a lychee passionfruit bubble tea made with whole tea leaves, which are "blended specifically for ice, using an approach completely different than that for hot tea." There's a combination of Indian, Chinese, and Ceylon black teas, which are then blended with lychee and passionfruit oils.
The tapioca pearls are also infused with an herbal tea blend and paired with a passionfruit coulis, sea salt caramel foam, and even fleur de sel. And instead of letting ice melt within the drink, it's cooled in a cocktail shaker. Hence the "Teashake" name.
Talk about a fancy bubble tea experience. There's even an entire website devoted to the Teashake.
If you can't make it to San Francisco to taste the Teashake in person, you can always make it at home. The Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea Black Master Blend No. 7502 is available now for $23.95 at TEALEAVES.com.