We've all encountered this particular problem when drinking bubble tea. You've finished your wonderful milky drink... only to realise that you have a ton of pearls left over but no tea to wash them down with. Bummer. :(
Well, this bubble tea enthusiast may have uncovered the secret to making sure you don't finish all the tea in your drink before the pearls. The key - optimised sips.
In an essay published on Medium, data engineer Krist Wongsuphasawat took the science of drinking bubble tea to a whole new level with data science, complete with graphs as well as an interactive simulation that lets you evaluate your bubble tea-drinking style and figure out what an "optimised sip" means for you.
According to Krist, the best strategy is to maximise pearl consumption in every sip i.e. slurping up as many pearls as you can with a minimum amount of tea
The question is - how do you know what the maximum and minimum amounts are? Here's where the simulation, which is based on the amount of tea and pearls, comes into play.
The simulation assumes that all the pearls sit at the bottom of the cup and are layered on top of each other.
As such, when you poke a straw straight down into a cup with n layers of pearls, you will get an n amount of pearls in the straw (refer to image above). The rest of the straw up to the drink's height is tea.
The simulation also assumes that the drinker stops sipping tea once all n pearls are in their mouth i.e an "optimised sip.
According to the simulation, the likelihood of you successfully finishing both the tea and pearls at around the same time depends on the following three factors:
(i) The shape / dimension of the cup
If the cup is wider, the pearls are spread around more and hence, you will likely consume less pearls per sip.
The simulation below shows that it will take you more time to finish the pearls before your tea with a wider cup compared to a slimmer cup.
(ii) The ratio of tea, pearls, and ice in the cup
If there's more tea in the cup, your chance of success increases. If there are more pearls in the cup, there's less tea and definitely more pearls to finish.
The simulation below shows how long it will take you to finish off your pearls before tea in three situations - equal amounts of tea and pearls, more pearls, and with ice.
(iii) How you drink it
Some people slurp it all up like a champ, while some take small sips to prolong enjoyment. Some people may also drink more tea per sip, while other slurp up more pearls per sip.
Referring to the simulation below, there are still pearls left over in the second figure as the drinker drinks more tea per sip compared to that in the first (optimised sip) and third (eats more pearls per sip).
None of the above simulations fit your drinking style? You can customise it here.
The essay eventually comes to the following conclusions on how to increase your likelihood of finishing your pearls before the tea:
(i) It's better to use a slim cup than a fat cup, as a slim cup will create a taller layer of pearls (hence more pearls in a straw) and less surface area to catch the few remaining pearls.
(ii) Don't add too much ice, as they take up space. If you absolutely need to have ice, make sure they melt to add liquid volume to the tea.
(iii) It's better to employ a powerful slurp compared to a weak one so you can maximise the amount of pearls per sip. Just... don't accidentally choke on them.
Got any tips on how to optimise pearl consumption per sip of bubble tea? Share it with us in the comments section below!