Bubble Tea

Berlin is awash in a new fad — Bubble Tea. There are little shops springing up all over the place. A new one just opened at Bahnhof Zoo, so I decided to give it a try on my way home this evening. There are lots of decisions to be made: milk and tea or just tea? Green tea or black tea? What syrup? Which kind of tapioca balls?

Tapioca. That was right up there with liver and onions and mashed potatoes and orange juice with pieces on my will-not-eat list as a child. Slimy balls of glue in a milk and egg custard. I'd rather not have had dessert at all, but we had to belong to the "Clean Plate Club" before we were allowed to leave the table.

But this is a scientific experiment. I chose green tea, being lactose intolerant. Mango syrup sounded good, and the guy offered to half-and-half the tapioca balls. So I took mango and lychee balls. A second guy poured cups of stuff into a cup — the tea and the syrup. He added ice and strapped it into an automatic shaker. Then he poured it out into the cup with the tapioca balls, and sealed the lid with plastic foil. I was given a thick, pointy straw, and instructed to poke it in hard. I did, worked fine, and he smiled and gave me a fortune cookie.

I took a deep breath and drank. Sweeeeeet is not strong enough to describe it. And you can get extra sugar on it, if you need to, for an additional 50 cents. No, thanks! And then the first tapioca balls bubbled up. I shuddered and held them in my mouth. I bit - and the sweetness inside the tapioca was released. Hmm, an interesting sensation.

I finished the cup, having a bit of trouble at the end as there was no more liquid left and I was wary of inhaling tapioca into my windpipe. It was definitely interesting, but will probably not be something I will become addicted to, it was too sweet.

The fortune cookie announces a new romance - maybe I will fall in love with bubble tea the next time I try it?

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