Bubble Tea: The Ultimate Social Influencer
Boba tea has come a long way since its adoption in the San Gabriel Valley in the early 1990s. In those days the boba experience consisted of sweet tea served in a styrofoam cup with a splash of non-dairy creamer and a scoop of black tapioca pearls. This beverage was a secret menu item of sorts, only found in Taiwanese restaurants upon request.
Today, the #boba hashtag boasts over 2.5 million posts on Instagram. A single scroll down this feed touts boba plush toys, boba ice cream bars, and plenty of hands displaying the tapioca laden beverage. What is the foodie experience if it is not perfectly coiffed nails holding said item in front of a neon sign that brandishes a cheeky quote? Over the years, numerous components of Asian cuisine and culture have rapidly gained popularity in the West. It is no secret that Eastern “aesthetic” is pleasing to the eye, and many elements of Asian countries are eagerly scooped up as fashion and lifestyle trends in other parts of the world.
Boba’s Social Life
In Taiwan, the unequivocal boba tea capital of the world, boba tea (zhēnzhū nǎichá [珍珠奶茶]) is as traditional as the American morning cup of coffee. Here it is not uncommon to spot vibrant boba cup holders dangling from the fingers of bustling locals. These adorable satchels carefully cradle their owner’s daily dose of icy, chewy, refreshment.
Over the past two decades, boba tea has gone from the best kept secret of the San Gabriel Valley’s Taiwanese restaurants to a prominent component of its youth culture today. The thirst-quenching concoction of black tea or juice, with tapioca pearls or pieces of fruit slurped through a comically oversized straw is now a beloved social activity with friends.
But is it Instagramable?
There is a profound psychological connection between visually appealing cuisine and repetitive consumption. Studies show that people who regularly photograph their drinks and meals report greater satisfaction and enjoyment from them. There is something almost sacred about the simple act of pausing your activity to capture the moment in time.
Boba tea is no stranger to the dopamine spike that comes with seeing your order prepared and surrendered to your care. This brightly colored beverage encapsulates contrasting dark tapioca pearls, offering drinkers a sort of strange satisfaction.
Benefits of Boba Branding
Nowadays, navigating the numerous bubble tea shops within greater Los Angeles feels like you are drinking from, well, a boba straw. The question is: how can your bubble tea business stand out among the rest? Aside from exceptional products, the short answer is: branding. Polishing up visual appeal might be the change that takes your shop to the next level.
San Gabriel Valley’s BaBaPOP Tea Bar features a cheeky cartoon pug logo, with tongue hanging out and rosy cheeks stretched in a delighted grin. This impish pooch can be found on every boba cup and on the shop wall.
Another local shop, Factory Tea Bar dangles a decadent spread of dessert-style boba tea and juice slushies. Its specialty drinks even include sugary goodies wrapped around your boba straw.
Adding extra eye candy to your product branding helps what you’re selling appear absolutely irresistible. Consider the unique edge your own boba tea shop offers. Do you mix and match fruit pieces and tapioca pearls, creating an entirely unique design? Maybe it is time to purchase neon or striped straws and roll them out as your signature staple.
Having an appealing visual edge simply gives your boba tea creations that extra chance in the spotlight (think #boba). Rest assured that this well-loved Taiwanese classic is doing all the work, your only job is to package it.