Bubble tea – also known as boba tea – is a relatively new market, originating in Taiwan in the 1980s and brought to regions such as North America by bubble tea companies over the past 20 years. In that time, however, the drink has become increasingly well known and exceedingly popular, especially in Asia. Over the next four years, the global bubble tea market is expected to grow by almost $1 billion. Unsurprisingly, APAC holds the largest share of the market, but growth is fastest in the Americas where more people are discovering the drink.
What is bubble tea?
At its most basic, bubble tea is a cold tea drink with tapioca balls, which are the bubbles (or boba) that give the drink its name. However, there are a wide range of drink styles, flavors, and toppings beyond this. The drink base can be green tea, other types of tea, or a fruit base instead, and bubble tea shops often offer other drinks like smoothies, slushies, and tea lattes as well. Toppings can include jelly, mousse, and other treats, and consumers can typically customize their drinks in a variety of ways. There are enough options that it’s easy for someone to find a drink that suits their taste.
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Who are the top bubble tea companies in the market?
Many of the oldest and most popular bubble tea companies are based in Taiwan, but the country certainly isn’t the only source of quality and innovation in the market. New shops are opening all the time to take advantage of underserved locations or introduce their own spin on the concept. North America and other regions are now home to their own bubble tea suppliers and shops, along with Taiwanese and other Asian brands that have brought their franchises across the ocean. Below are some of the leading vendors in the bubble tea market, including both suppliers and shops.
Bubble Tea Supply
This bubble tea supplier was founded in 2001 in Hawaii to bring the Taiwanese drink to the United States, designing products specifically with US consumers in mind. The company offers ingredients, supplies, and equipment, as well as recipes and support to its tea shop customers.
Chatime isn’t the oldest bubble tea brands around, but it’s among the most well known. Founded in Taiwan in 2005, it expanded to Australia in 2009 and spread to the rest of the world soon afterwards. The company now has over 1000 locations around the world, and offers an extensive menu of drinks and customization options.
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice
CoCo Fresh also has its roots in Taiwan, opening its first store in Taipei in 1997. Now, more than 20 years later, the franchise boasts over 3500 stores worldwide. It offers a range of drinks including milk tea, fruit tea, yogurt drinks, coffee, and more.
Suggested reading: Top 10 Juice Brands Dominating the Global Juice Market in 2019
This American supplier opened in California with the mission of providing quality bubble tea to the area. It began as a small shipping company in Hayward and now provides products and education across the United States. Aside from ingredients, the company offers custom printed cups as well as services such as logo design.
Founded in Taiwan in 2009, Fokus provides bubble tea supplies, ingredients, and equipment to shops in over 14 countries in APAC, EMEA, and the Americas. The company also offers services such as training and menu design.
Grand Chainly Enterprise
Grand Chainly was established in 2003 in Taiwan and supplies bubble tea companies in the US, Europe, and Asia. It provides ingredients, containers and other supplies, and machinery, as well as offering after-sales service to its customers.
Gong Cha is another bubble tea franchise based in Taiwan, and was founded in 2006. It opened its first overseas store in Hong Kong in 2009, and it now has over 1500 outlets in more than 15 countries around the world, boasting tea sourced from Taiwan estates in its drinks.
HYE has been a supplier to bubble tea companies since 1994. It exports its products to over 15 countries around the world, and offers OEM and ODM services to help its customers develop their brands.
Kung Fu Tea
Kung Fu Tea is an American bubble tea brand that was formed in New York in 2009 with the goal of bringing quality Taiwanese bubble tea to the city. It has since expanded across the US and into other countries, including Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and Cambodia.
An American beverage supplier, Lollicup USA was founded in 2000 to help meet the demands of the US market. Along with its tea offerings, the company also supplies coffee, milk drinks, juice, frozen desserts, and other related products.
Founded in Taiwan in 1996, Quickly now offers over 30 types of beverages in its 2000+ locations around the world. The company has tea shops in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, and sources its tea leaves from multiple locations worldwide.
Tiger Sugar is a very new brand compared to many of its bubble tea company competitors, but it has gained popularity very quickly. It opened its first tea shop in 2017 in Taiwan with its own twist on the boba tea concept. Unlike most brands, Tiger Sugar focuses on only a few menu items. It uses its signature black sugar flavor and the tiger stripe appearance of its drinks to set itself apart, and has already established itself in 15 countries globally.
Learn more about the global bubble tea market with Technavio’s market research report, including:
- CAGR of the market during the forecast period 2019-2023
- Detailed information on factors that will accelerate the growth of the bubble tea market during the next five years
- Precise estimation of the global bubble tea market size and its contribution to the parent market
- Accurate predictions on upcoming trends and changes in consumer behavior
- The growth of the bubble tea industry across the Americas, APAC, and EMEA
- A thorough analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and detailed information on vendors
- Comprehensive details of factors that will challenge the growth of bubble tea vendors