Wines & Drinks

What’s Hot on the Bubble Tea Scene in 2024

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Bubble tea is one of the world’s favourite beverages, a trend that’s been mounting for over a decade now, reaching feverish new heights in 2024.

However, within that overarching popularity exist micro-trends –flavours, textures, approaches and styles that float to the top of the cultural zeitgeist. Like all mega-popular beverages, these micro-trends change and evolve alongside consumer preferences. (Think of the “pumpkin spice” craze among coffee lovers, or the “IPA” frenzy among craft beer enthusiasts).

Tracking what’s hot can be daunting, especially for a boba newcomer. To help you navigate the exciting world of bubble tea, this article explores what’s trendy on the scene this year. Grab a straw and join us at your local bubble tea shop!

Global Fusion Flavours: A World Tour Through Bubble Tea

When bubble tea first gained international traction 20 years ago, it was all about the classic milk tea with tapioca pearls. Now, as countries around the globe embrace the beverage, global fusion flavours are beginning to dominate the conversation.

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Take a beloved brand like Chatime. Their menu reads like a world tour; they feature Thai milk boba, Japanese matcha bubble tea, taro smoothies, tropical passion fruit tea, and much more.

Seasonal Roll-Outs That Turn Boba into an Event

Who doesn’t love a seasonal roll-out event? You wait with bated breath for those summer chilled specials or autumn spiced drinks, knowing that your window for enjoyment is brief but magnificent.

Expect to see this trend alive and well in the bubble tea world in 2024. Brands like Chatime Canada have already mastered the art of the seasonal roll-out – with past innovations including fall pumpkin spice milk tea, spring Sakura peach green tea, and winter holiday KitKat®collab. What will the brand brew up this season? Whatever they roll out, it’s destined to be hot.

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The Rise of Fruit Teas 

This trend has been a few years in the making. Originally appealing to summertime boba enthusiasts who wanted a crisp alternative to milk tea, fruit teas eventually shot up in popularity year-round.

Now, you can find a veritable fruit-basket of different flavours at your local bubble tea shop. Tropical flavours like mango, lychee and passion fruit sit alongside familiar fruit favourites like strawberry and peach. Fruit teas are definitely a hot trend – even if they’re often served ice cold.

Inclusivity All the Way

Let’s circle back to Chatime again (because, after all, they are the leader in the bubble tea space). Chatime Canada recently announced that its entire menu is Halal-certified, thereby extending its offerings to Muslim bubble tea lovers. The company also offers lactose-free dairy and dairy-free alternatives, so people with dietary restrictions or allergies can join the fun. They offer caffeine-free teas so kids can partake. And the brand recently launched a Lunar New Year campaign, giving away purple pockets (a spin on the traditional red envelope in Chinese culture) containing prizes and coupons.

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These moves are part of a broader trend in bubble tea – a shift towards inclusivity. Gen Z is perhaps the largest consumer base for bubble tea, and their thoughts on inclusion and access are well-documented. It’s no surprise that their favourite drink should also be inclusive.

These are a few hot trends on the bubble tea scene in 2024. To taste what’s hot (or cold!), check out your local bubble tea shop and chat with the tearistas!

Philip Okoye
the authorPhilip Okoye
Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at chef@foodwellsaid.com

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