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It wasn’t until I got to college that I first laid eyes on bubble tea.

The story of bubble tea is one of disparate parts coming together, a collision of cultural products and practices in one drink.

The fusion of those two traditions — milk tea and chewy, gelatinous pearls — eventually gave rise to bubble tea.

And thus bubble tea, or “pearl milk tea” in Taiwan, was born.

Google Trends data shows a steady increase in interest over time for “bubble tea” and “boba tea” starting around 2012, with steeper inclines the past few years.

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