Pop goes the Bubble

You might spot Adnan Sarkar taking long slow strolls around his hotel at Hill Road in Bandra. He gets most of his ideas during these strolls. One of these ideas was launching Dr. Bubbles, a bubble tea cafe in Mumbai.  A genial giant with a continuously ticking brain, he complements the scientist imagery of the name, Dr. Bubbles.

Bubble tea is a trend that started in Taiwan in the 1980s and has been making its way across the globe. Quartz states that the bubble tea chain, ChaTime has more than a thousand cafes in 26 countries. Quickly, another chain is present across 2000 locations in four continents.  So is CoCo Fresh Tea & Juices. A drink that bubbled up in Asia has found an ardent global audience ready to pop and swig. The trend finally found an echo in Mumbai with the Dr. Bubbles cafe.

So what exactly is bubble or boba tea? Take a look at how to make bubble tea, to get an insight into its taste. We start with brewing tea. Once that is done, add ice cubes and flavored syrup to the tea brew and give it a rather vigourous shake.  This shaking forms a froth of bubbles and gives this tea its name – bubble tea. Now add tapioca pearls and toppings of choice. Your composition is ready to be sipped. You could also make a few changes to the traditional bubble tea. You could use creamers instead of flavored syrups and have coconut jelly bubbles that pop instead of the chewy tapioca pearls. The result is an iced fruity drink that packs a delicious punch. Get those half inch wide straws to sip so that none of the tapioca pearls escape :).

Adnan spotted this trend on one of his trips to South East Asia and decided that Mumbai was ripe for this new drink.  Dr. Bubbles was launched at its Hill Road Bandra outlet in 2015.

The launch of this outlet saw Adnan take on multiple roles. From designing the Dr. Bubbles logo to custom building the machinery to get the drinks just right.  Adnan simply loves being a tinkerer.

Most members of Adnan’s family are vegans and that has had a bearing on his choices for the flavored syrups and bases. All his flavors are natural.  If a customer is lactose intolerant, she can opt for non-dairy corn-starch based creamers. For diabetic customers and yes, he has quite a few, there is a stevia based option. Be it new flavors (honeydew melon is the latest addition), new toppings or even the addition of savoury waffles, Adnan wants his customers to remain enveloped in a taste bubble when they are in the cafe.

The attention to every step of the bubble tea making process has won a lot of converts (Adnan spent close to a year perfecting the process). We ran into Simran Joanne and Kiran Kapoor enjoying their glass. “I had first tasted bubble tea at Jakarta a couple of years ago”, says Simran, “and have been in love with the drink ever since. I make it a point to come to Dr. Bubbles whenever I am in Bandra”. “And sometime she pushes me to take a trip here”, smiles Kiran.


As the number of his cafes grow – 4 should become 6 shortly – Adnan understands that bubble tea would need to have a staple, no mistake process that allows him to offer the same experience across all his cafes – a “Starbucks”ization of bubble tea, if you will. And that’s what he thinks about nowadays on his strolls.

And what about his own all time favorite? That would be Nutella Milk Tea with fresh cream and chocolate chips. With bubbles all around.


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