Recently, “bamboo-tube milk tea (竹筒奶茶)” has become a new top-stream product in China’s milk tea industry and a popular check-in activity on social media due to the aesthetics of the bamboo container featuring big labels of internet-famous cities (网红城市) such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Changsha, Xiamen, etc. Usually taking an hour to prepare, a cup of bamboo-tube milk tea costs 30 RMB (around 4.36 USD) in Hangzhou, which is about the same price as a Starbucks grande Americano. However, as bamboo-tube milk tea has become popular among young Chinese consumers, some hidden issues have begun to surface.
#Moldy bamboo-tube milk tea: a brewing concern for Chinese netizens
In the second week of April, the hashtag #Milk tea shop cleans moldy bamboo-tube as milk tea container (奶茶店清洗发霉的竹筒装奶茶)# began trending on Chinese social media Weibo, which sparked conversations on #Is the 30 RMB bamboo-tube milk tea an IQ tax? (30元竹筒奶茶是智商税吗)#, viewed over 110 million times by concerned netizens. In response to concerns over this matter and the safety issues surrounding internet-famous food products in general, the Administration of Market Regulation of Linping district has suspended the milk tea store in Hangzhou’s Tangqi scenic area.
Despite the recent controversy surrounding bamboo-tube milk tea, the concept of it still seems to intrigue those who have not tried it. “Bamboo-tube milk tea is nice but a bit expensive.” A netizen from Shanxi said. However, whether it can stand the test of time remains unseen. “There was once when I saw it and wanted to buy and taste what it’s like, but I saw a lot of mildew spots on the bamboo tubes which are on display. It doesn’t even have a top cover, which is quite unhygienic.” Another netizen from Zhejiang commented. Therefore, for bamboo-tube milk tea brands, it is important to maintain the quality of the products to match consumers’ expectations, which is usually relatively high for internet-famous brands, in order to retain customers before the fad fades away.
Key takeaway on the recent popularity of bamboo-tube milk tea:
- Bamboo-tube milk tea has become popular among young Chinese consumers due to the aesthetics of the bamboo container featuring big labels of internet-famous cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Changsha, Xiamen, etc.
- A cup of bamboo-tube milk tea costs 30 RMB (around 4.36 USD) in Hangzhou and usually takes about an hour to prepare.
- However, concerns over moldy bamboo containers have surfaced on social media and the Administration of Market Regulation of Linping district has suspended a milk tea store in Hangzhou’s Tangqi scenic area in response to these concerns.