There are a lot of natural teas being consumed on a daily basis by people for various health benefits. One of them is taro tea, which is notable for its purple color. For people unfamiliar with the name, you might be wondering what taro tea is all about.
What Is Taro Tea? Taro tea is a type of tea that is made from the taro plant, also called eddo, dasheen, or cocoyam. The root of the plant is dried and ground into powder, which is then made into taro tea.
Samira Kazan, who is a cookbook author, explains that taro tea can be made from either the powder or paste form of taro root. The flavor of taro tea depends on what you want to put in it, and it can be combined with food items like milk, green tea, and sugar syrup.
What Is Taro Tea Made Of?
Taro tea is primarily made of taro root powder. Depending on the preference of the manufacturer and the drinker, other ingredients are also included. The Taro plant comes from the Colocasia plant family and has leaves that are ear or heart-shaped.
There are two types of taro plants. The ornamental taro has pink/red stems and leaves while the edible taro has green stems and leaves. Both the corm (the underground tubers or roots) and the leaves are edible. Generally, taro roots have white flesh covered by brown skin with a few purple spots inside.
Before taro tea can be made from the plant, it usually takes about 3 – 4 months to grow and produce the tubers, and can be harvested with a spade or a garden fork. These tubers grow best in the ground as they have enough room to expand.
After harvesting, taro roots are prepared to be converted into taro tea by washing and leaving them in a paper towel to dry for about a day in a well-ventilated area.
To make taro root powder, the taro root is cooked and drained before being mashed up with a potato masher. You can then let it cool in your fridge and dehydrate it for about 11 hours.
The dried root is then ground, and for homemade purposes, a coffee grinder can be effective. The blended result is taro flour or powder which is popularly made into taro bubble tea or taro milk tea.
To make the taro bubble milk tea foundation, boil half a cup of water. Reduce the heat to medium-high once the water begins to bubble. Then, depending on personal preference, add any type of tea leaves to make a unique taro bubble tea mix. Green tea leaves make an excellent pairing choice with taro.
The taro bubble tea mix is ready after another three to five minutes of boiling the water and leaves. While the tea is still hot, combine it with two tablespoons of taro powder. It must be thoroughly mixed for the powder to dissolve. The subsequent steps are determined by your preferences.
What Does Taro Tea Taste Like?
Taro tea tastes like sweet and nutty vanilla, though the taste and flavor are mainly dependent on the bubble tea shop or individual making it. The flavors differ based on the quantity of sweetener added, the type of milk and tea used, as well as the boba syrup used.
Some people who have tried the tea made with taro milk powder describe it as having a sweet metallic flavor. Other comparisons include the resemblance of a mild chocolate flavor, caramel, coconut, or vanilla. It has also been described as nutty, milky, creamy, or buttery, while it tastes like cookies in some descriptions.
This difference in comparison is a result of the numerous variations of taro tea. The milk used and the flavor chosen are two factors that can affect how your taro bubble tea turns out.
Taro bubble tea made with cow milk tastes sweeter and creamier and has a thicker texture, whereas, taro bubble tea with almond milk tastes nutty and earthy and has a silkier texture.
Apart from taro, several other plants are cultivated to serve as ingredients for tea, including;
|Mint||Mint is known for its distinct flavor, and it is compatible with various edible items, including tea.|
|Bergamot(or Bee Balm)||This also belongs to the mint family, and it serves as a great addition to your tea.|
|Horehound||White horehound is a great plant for when you have a cold. Its tea helps clear up a sore throat|
|Ginger||Ginger stands out among most other plants because of its unique flavor and numerous health benefits. You can either make ginger tea or add it to another tea.|
Is Taro Tea Good for You?
Yes, Taro tea is good for you because its fiber content makes it nutritious and helps to support healthy digestion. Taro is very beneficial for humans due to its numerous health benefits such as heart protection, fiber, and calcium.
Taro contains powerful antioxidants such as essential vitamins, beta-carotene, and polyphenols which helps in combating free radicals and preventing some serious medical conditions.
A one-cup serving of taro tea contains one-third of your daily manganese requirement, which helps with metabolism, bone strength, and blood clotting.
Some other benefits of taro tea are highlighted below:
- It aids weight loss as it contains fewer calories than most popular beverages. The calories in taro bubble tea are determined by the quantity of sugar and tapioca used. A 16-ounce serving of taro bubble tea contains about 278 calories, which makes it a lower-calorie option than other sweetened drinks of the same size.
- It has a low caffeine content but contains enough to help you focus. Each 16-ounce serving of taro bubble tea contains a cup of black tea, which contains about 25 to 48 milligrams of caffeine.
In comparison, a cup of coffee contains 95 to 165 milligrams. So, if you appreciate a soothing cup of taro bubble tea in the evening, you won’t have to worry about staying up late
- The colorful bubble and its healthy nutrients make it a non-carbonate alternative beverage for kids. If your kids enjoy drinking taro bubble tea, it is strongly recommended that you prepare it at home rather than purchasing it from a stand as this allows you to control the number of calories, sugar, and type of milk added to the tea
- Taro tea is beneficial to heart health because fiber plays an important role in lowering the risk and symptoms of high blood pressure and promoting heart health. Also, because of the ability to trap and wash away cholesterol from the body system, taro is a strongly recommended drink for lowering cholesterol levels.
The fusion of the health benefits of tea, taro, and milk makes taro bubble tea one of the healthier drinks for adults as well as children.
However, as stated already, these benefits differ based on the ingredients used to make tea. To make your taro tea more nutritious, replace condensed or whole milk with alternative options such as almond or coconut milk.
Many bubble tea shops also let you purchase your drinks with less sweetness, limiting the quantity of sugar and sweeteners included. If you’re preparing taro bubble tea at home, try using fresh taro rather than powdered taro to ensure you get the most nutrients.
Why Is Taro Tea Purple?
Taro tea is purple because manufacturers add purple coloring to the taro powder which it is made from. In situations where there is no food coloring added, such as homemade powders, the tea will have a light pink color.
The tea color is confusing to many people because the taro root itself isn’t always purple, rather, it has brown-grayish skin and white or speckled flesh. The taro root is lavender in color when newly harvested, noticeable as tiny dots in the white flesh.
Once the root is processed, it takes on a light purple color. However, where the taro root is grown will also influence its color as they either come in white, pink, or purple.
Taro powder manufacturers typically add extra coloring to achieve the preferred purple color in many taro delicacies. Boba or bubble tea shops also add Ube which is commonly known as purple yam to the creamy or off-white drink to add a sweet flavor and bright color.
Can You Eat A Taro Plant?
No, you cannot eat a taro plant because the uncooked leaves and stems are poisonous. Raw consumption of the plant causes severe mouth and throat irritation. When raw taro is sliced or peeled, it can also affect the hands by causing an itching sensation.
Taro plants are high in oxalate, a compound naturally present in several plants. The oxalate crystal causes a toxic reaction and can be found on the stalk and leaves of taro, so the entire plant is deemed harmful.
Seasonal changes affect the taro plant’s toxicity and are usually at their peak during the rainy season because that is when oxalate concentrations are at their highest.
Any part of the taro plant can cause a burning sensation when chewed raw, affecting the mouth, lips, and tongue, and causing swelling. The swelling can cause affect a person’s ability to talk, breathe, and swallow, making them difficult. If swallowed raw, the taro plant can also affect the digestive system negatively.
Handling the taro plant can also result in your hand or skin itching. To prevent itching when cutting taro leaves or roots, you can apply lots of mustard oil on your hands before cutting or peeling taro. Wearing gloves beforehand is also recommended.
Taro must be cooked until softened to eliminate the toxic oxalates, which requires just a few minutes to boil or 30 minutes to an hour when baking. After cooking the taro leaves to a tender state, ensure to drain thoroughly.
There are some other plants that are similar to the taro plant since they belong to the Colocasia family. However, they should not be mistaken for the edible taro plant (Colocasia Esculanta). They include;
|Colocasia Thailand Giant||It is larger than the edible taro plant, sometimes reaching up to 9ft tall.|
|Colocasia Aloha||Its leaves are more colorful than the edible taro plant, containing reddish or brownish hues.|
|Colocasia Black Coral||The color of its glossy leaves is almost black, unlike the regular green color of edible taro.|
|Colocasia Hawaiian Punch||Its petiole (the stalk between its stem and leaves) is colored red instead of green.|
When cooked, the taro plant can be eaten in a variety of ways as it is extremely versatile. It can be made into fries or chips, bubble tea, curried taro, poi, ice cream or frozen yogurt, and pancakes to mention a few.
Soaking taro leaves in water for 30 minutes or overnight is another process of expelling poisonous oxalates. According to research statistics, longer soaking duration and boiling, rather than baking eliminates more oxalates.
Taro plants are safe to eat once these steps have been followed. However, due to the high oxalate content in taro, people at high risk of kidney stones should avoid taro plants entirely.
What is Taro Bubble Tea?
Taro bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink made from taro root powder, jasmine tea, milk, and tapioca pearls. Taro bubble tea is also called taro milk tea or taro boba and has become quite popular in the US over time due to its distinct flavor and pretty color.
Taro bubble tea comes in a wide range of flavors, but the most popular is a mixture of black tea, milk, and sugar served with tapioca pearls.
Other variations can include oolong tea, green tea, evaporated milk in place of fresh milk, Thai iced milk tea instead of black tea, and taro root pearls in place of tapioca pearls.
Taro roots are starchy, which makes them suitable for creating a chewy texture similar to tapioca pearls. Tapioca balls, however, have a bland flavor, so some usually season them with pandan leaves, ginger, and sometimes black pepper before making them into ball shapes.