Sweet secrets about milk tea
One sunny Sunday afternoon, I received a WeChat message from a female friend who was busy writing her literature essay in a nearby library. After many hours of intensive academic writing, she asked me to join her for some milk tea (also known as naicha). As a naicha lover, this proposal would allow me to gratify my excessive appetite for that delicious beverage.
My friends and I often go for naicha. Sometimes we drink it just to kill time and forgo boredom. Maybe its sweet taste is just so tempting that we can’t help but become naturally drawn to it. To find out more about why many young people like me are addicted to naicha, I went out and investigated.
At the front entrance of Xiamen University, I interviewed Xu and Wang, two undergraduates. The two boys each had a rucksack on their backs and a cup of naicha in their hands. When asked about why they love naicha, Xu said, “It is the same as eating snacks. You drink it when your mouth is bored.” But for Wang, naicha helps reduce the pressures of studying.
Ziqi, a college girl from Nanjing, giggled after hearing my question. “It’s primarily because of its wonderful taste,” she answered. “Having a sweet beverage when I’m tired makes me relaxed and my fatigue drifts away.” The 21-year-old doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that naicha contains plenty of sugar and might cause weight gain. “Just remember to do more exercise to burn the extra calories,” she concluded.
Besides sugar, this beverage also contains tons of trans fats and caffeine; consuming too much and too frequently is not healthy. But for local loyal naicha lovers, the excessive intake of these unhealthy ingredients is of little concern. “You can’t see them with your eyes, can you?” laughed Xu. “Anyway, you also eat trans fats in cakes and many other foods. In terms of a healthy diet, it is very difficult for young people.” Wang nodded in agreement and added, “We already have too many things to worry about in life. Don’t add this kind of petty thing to your worry list.” In reality, the infectious naicha frenzy has gone far beyond Xiamen. It can be said that naicha has become one of the most popular beverages in China, especially among young people. The phenomenon has produced a large wave of naicha consumption in cities both big and small. According to a recent report released by China Newsweek, in downtown Beijing, the number of naicha stalls totaled 1,838 as of July of 2017. The number is even higher in downtown Shanghai.
I expect we will see even more in 2018 and 2019.