A brand new shop, Di Tea has opened a two-minute walk from my house on Howell Road, Exeter. Well, I say shop in the loosest terms… it’s essentially a small garage that has been converted behind my local Chinese restaurant. A nifty way to make your dream a reality I guess?
If the queue is anything to go by this is THE place to visit in Exeter. I have never seen such a buzz outside a shop before. Every time I pass on my way to and from work I see huddles of young Bubble Tea fanatics waiting outside patiently for their magic number to be called. The shop is open from noon until 9pm so there’s plenty of opportunity to stop by so you too can join in on the bubble tea craze.
I know Bubble Tea isn’t a new thing. In fact, it’s been around since the ’80s. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink created in Tainan and Taichung and has since gone worldwide with a shop finally opening in Exeter. There is a vast Asian community in the city so I’m surprised it’s taken this long for a stand-alone place to open. Open it has and it’s proving very popular.
Last Saturday on my way to the train I stopped in to see what all the fuss was about and to try my first ever bubble tea. Having no idea what to order and with a vast tea menu to choose from I asked for their most popular brew. She suggested I try the bubble milk tea. I asked if it was sweet, having literally no idea what to expect. She replied ‘yes’ but said I could have less sugar if desired. I went for this option and was given my number then asked to wait in line for it to be freshly made to order.
A few minutes later my number was called and I was presented with my first ever Bubble Tea. With slight trepidation, I ventured outside where I took a sip of what resembled a very milky tea with little black pearls nestled at the bottom. On first tasting, I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about in all honesty. All those people queuing for a slightly sweet milky drink seemed nuts. It was then that a little black tapioca bubble made its way up the straw and into my mouth. My head was turned. I could now see why the Taiwanese have gone mad for it since the 80’s. I thought the black tapioca bubbles would burst in my mouth but to my surprise they were chewy. A completely different experience to what I had expected and one I really enjoyed. I will definitely head back to sample something a little more exotic next time. Something fruity perhaps?
You will find Di Tea on Howell Road, Exeter. Just follow the crowds!