Smoki Ice: The Bubble Tea Shop sets up shop in Kochi in the first ever daring attempt to open up in Kerala. This is the sole outlet in Kochi that serves bubble tea, a traditional Taiwanese drink which is taking the world by storm, originated in the 1980s. Undoubtedly, the black balls are the star of the show.
Started by a network architect, Vipin Skaria and his friends, smoki ice has its outlet in Grand Central Mall opposite Infopark. Also known as pearl tea or boba tea, the balls are made of tapioca and are rather chewy. Vipin, who had worked in China, noticed the wonders of the drink amidst his long working hours. Post getting back to India, he and his friends co-founded The Bubble Tea Shop, bringing ethnic flavours and chewy bubbles to Kochi.
The ingredients are sourced all the way from Taiwan. “We have altered the original taste of the drink to satisfy the quintessential Malayali’s taste buds. Black and green tea are mixed for the primary concoction which also serves as the base. We add tapioca balls, fruit pureed bubbles, which burst in your mouth, and nata de coco to the drinks,” says Anil Prasad, one of the partners and a telecom engineer by profession. Nata de coco is jelly-like, made from fermented coconut milk and is added to desserts.
However, the drink is yet to create a wave in Kochi. “Kochiites are unaware of the drink. The concept is yet to create momentum. People here still gravitate towards shakes. In fact, we have created an array of various drinks to cater to the crowd and introduce the tapioca balls,” he says.