The 12 million possible combos of bubble tea

I haven’t had a bubble tea in over 10 years but I still remember the flavour (chocolate and ginger). Apparently that’s one of about 12 million options according to Julia Janicki and Daisy Chung who created some brilliant data viz for Taiwan Data Stories:

As two Taiwanese people living abroad, bubble tea runs in our blood. For the uninitiated, bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink with tapioca balls also commonly known as “boba.” Although bubble tea can be made with other liquids and toppings, many people often order the standard: milk tea with boba. However, in Taiwan, the birthplace of boba (depending on which origin story you believe), locals often customize their drinks as if they own the shop! In fact, there are countless more flavors and toppings in Taiwan than we ever see abroad.

This made us curious: exactly how many unique boba drinks are there in Taiwan? And after living away from home for more than 10 years, are we missing out on any new developments in the boba scene? To answer these questions, we analyzed drink menus from the top 5 most popular stores as of Feb 2021 according to YouTuber Data66’s Google Trends data.

With this page, you can make your own bubble tea and download the result. Something to note before you visit a bubble tea shop and can’t decide what to get.

More on Taiwan: How to make a Taiwanese Castella

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