Asian Sensation introduces Sewanee to the flavors of Taiwan

by Tess Steele

Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Sewanee is in a rather remote part of Tennessee. So it’s quite surprising to see advertisements that break the bubble.

Bubble tea, a traditional Taiwanese chilled beverage, was brought to the Mountain courtesy of the Asian Sensation Club. Their annual bubble tea tasting event took place on October 16.What even is bubble tea? Eating bubbles? That isn’t exactly a common phenomenon here in the States, and the first time many try the tea they feel somewhat hesitant. Yet, the tea is both fascinating and refreshing. The “bubbles” are actually tapioca pearls that burst in your mouth, creating an interesting sensation as one enjoys the tea. According to CNN, bubble tea, which originated in the 1980s, is a relatively new invention. The inventor, Lin Hsiu Hui, was sitting in a boring meeting, and decided to pour her tapioca dessert into her tea. The combination was delightful. She brought the idea back to the tea company she worked for, Chun Shui Tangshe, and the drink’s popularity exploded. From here, the tea house strove to be inventive in their drinks, creating the modern day concept of bubble tea.

With the tea’s popularity in South-East Asia, it is only fitting that Sewanee’s Asian Sensation Club host an event celebrating the popular drink. President Tran Ly (C’17) along with the other club members spent hours preparing for the event, creating an array of flavors of tea including taro, almond, and honeydew. “I enjoy being able to make the drinks, but being able to share our work with other students is really cool too,” said Ly. The event had a turnout of around 35 people, with many first time bubble tea tasters making an appearance. Overall, the students and community members who attended enjoyed the brightly colored tea and other refreshments. The event, which has taken place for several years at the university, will be held once again next semester, so for those who may have missed bubble tea the first time around, there is still an opportunity to give one of Taiwan’s most popular drinks a try.