Tealeaves Folio



Designing the “World’s Most Expensive Bubble Tea”

About the TEALEAVES x The St. Regis San Francisco #WorldsMostExpensiveBubbleTea Project:
In celebration of San Francisco Design Week’s (#SFDW2017) theme “question everything,” the art of tea meets the art of culinary, as TEALEAVES and The St. Regis San Francisco “shake up the status quo” and reimagine bubble tea—from responsible sourcing to five-star culinary techniques—elevating the common beverage to the world of fine dining.


The result is the birth of a new world-class beverage: the Boba Teashake. It’s bubble tea, reimagined.




Originating in Taiwan and seen in the hands of many on a hot day, bubble tea first appeared in the 80’s.

Also known as “boba”, “PMT”, and “BBT”, bubble tea is now a global beverage where chewy tapioca pearls are poured into a glass of iced, sweetened tea. Today, the drink has gained popularity around the world, however many of the ingredients used to make it are questionable—from low quality tea using non-dairy creamers, corn syrups and the dust and fannings of the tea leaf, to powdered and artificial flavors—which has tarnished the beverage’s reputation in certain markets.

“The World’s Most Expensive Bubble Tea project isn’t about masking the ordinary with diamond-encrusted straws and gold chalices, but is a challenge for us all to elevate expectations, quality, and the standards of ingredients and techniques, using bubble tea as an example—to ‘shake up the status quo’ and ‘question everything.’

“Creating the World’s Most Expensive Bubble Tea is not an end destination, but a forever-aspiration.

“It’s about craftsmanship in the art of tea and culinary, and the never-ending pursuit of perfection,” says TEALEAVES CEO, Lana Sutherland

The result is the birth of a new world-class beverage: the Boba Teashake. Launched at Pinterest Headquarters in celebration of San Francisco Design Week, the Boba Teashake “shakes up the status quo.”



TEALEAVES’ Master Blenders created a Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea blend of whole tea leaves blended specifically for ice to serve as the bubble tea’s base. As a beverage cools, its aroma has less impact on the overall intensity of the palate. Taking that into consideration, our Master Blenders amplified the color and taste to provide the best experience for the senses. Indian, Chinese, and Ceylon black teas were blended with the natural oils of lychee and passionfruit for a delicate aroma, even over ice.

When ice is immediately added to typical hot black teas, clouding of the beverage occurs as a natural reaction where microscopic air bubbles emerge due to the tea’s low pH levels. The Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea blend was blended carefully in small batches by hand while examining the tea’s acidity so that it can withstand cold temperatures when “shocked” with ice to reduce the chance of cloudiness. The overarching goal is to achieve a clear liquor reminiscent of scotch on the rocks.

“When creating the Boba Teashake, the Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea blend was prepared with proper infusion times and temperature to achieve the the best expression of taste, terroir, and nuanced flavor, while preventing the over-extraction of bitter tannins typically found in regular, over-steeped bubble tea,” says Executive Chef Franck Desplechin of The St. Regis San Francisco. “We infused the tapioca pearls with TEALEAVES Mountain Berry herbal tea to add an extra dimension of taste and texture, and paired it with a passionfruit coulis, sea salt caramel foam, and fleur de sel. The name of the Boba Teashake is an homage to the technique of using a cocktail shaker to cool the beverage and create the signature bubbles, instead of the typical method of letting the ice melt inside, which would dilute the flavor. We wanted to unearth bubble tea’s true potential by using the highest quality ingredients and five-star culinary techniques to create something unforgettably delicious.”



Learn more about the TEALEAVES x The St. Regis San Francisco #WorldsMostExpensiveBubbleTea Project at WorldsMostExpensiveBubbleTea.com.


Shop TEALEAVES Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea Blend


Shop TEALEAVES Mountain Berry Blend





If you came here expecting gold bars and diamond-encrusted chalices, we’re sorry to disappoint you. We’re not about the overindulgent and the exorbitant—especially when the standards of bubble tea, and tea itself, are simply not good enough.

It’s a gilded landscape
of which powdered iced tea is the norm.
where backyard growers are trusted, just because they’re small.

We see it all—and make choices, every day, to do things differently.
At TEALEAVES, we’re makers.
With rigorous product-first beliefs, we blend our teas in small batches by hand.
We keep only 1% of the leaves presented to us by the world’s tier-1 gardens.
Comparable to how a skilled perfumer creates bouquets of scents, we create eclectic palates
through curating quality botanicals, herbs, and fruits.
We choose the very best, to make the very best.

We’ve pressed on for the past 20 years and have made like-minded friends along the way.
From five-star hotels to Michelin star chefs,
we train some of the world’s most discerning palates in the art of tea,
because we do things right, and we do it well.

Luxury, to us, isn’t merely about gold, silver, and shiny baubles.
It’s about having the luxury of time and the privilege to practice our craft.

Plastic. Powdered. Questionable.
This is our fight. This is our luxury.
Because tea can be so much better.

We want to share with you what we know—the epitome of blending—by using bubble tea as an example.
Optimizing harmony between color + aroma + taste + texture,
we challenged ourselves and our expert friends in culinary to reimagine this iconic beverage.
How would it taste with unlimited time and unlimited resources?
We wanted to unearth this common beverage’s true potential to create something unforgettably delicious.

The meaning of “World’s Most Expensive Bubble Tea” is a challenge for us all.
It’s not an end destination, but a forever-aspiration.

Let’s up expectations. Let’s up quality.
Let’s up the standards of bubble tea together.





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