However common it is over in that futuristic landscape, it does seem rather a jump from the very British subject of my last little excursion at Fortnum & Mason (forgetting the Indian and Chinese tea, the French pastries and the 90% foreign waiting staff). As they say, variety is the spice of life... although having said that, I can never really manage much more than a korma.
Now, the tea I sampled was from "Wasabi", but it is available in many other places, including shops in Notting Hill and Soho, which are dedicated to this slightly odd beverage. I do feel an explanation may be required on what Bubble Tea actually is, as it's a rather strange concept. The fact that it is not sparkling, as the name implies, may come as a shock to such westernised brains as ours. The wonderfully poetic languages of the East demand a little more imagination in order to fully comprehend and appreciate their names. Coming in a range of black, green with milk teas or iced fruit tea flavours, there is huge choice depending on personal preference. The one uniting factor across this multitude of options are the bubbles themselves, or "Pearls". Once again, not real pearls you understand? Good, just checking. These tiny tapioca balls floating in the tea really add something special, providing of course you don't choke to death on the little things, and once you've mastered the wielding of the positively colossal straws, the sweet chewy treats become most enjoyable.
Having said that, one shouldn't expect an explosion of chemical taste such as can be found in the various frappachinos offered on the high street. The taste of Bubble Tea is much more subtle, with light scents and hints of flavour discernible in each refreshing sip. However, I would definitely recommend this as a summer drink, perhaps as an alternative to the your preferred mix of crushed ice and flavouring, which is only really used as an internal ice pack. It is most certainly less likely to freeze your brain with agony. As for these days of knitwear and near frostbite, I think I'll stick with my thermos. But when our prayers are answered, and summer comes, I'm sure I'll practically swim in the stuff.
Made fresh and rather healthy, but perhaps an acquired taste after years of bubble-less tea.
HospitaliTea: Not applicable
It's a take-away drink really, although the lady at the counter was very friendly.
Delightfully different, a must-try for any tea enthusiast.