Bubble tea isn't a new arrival in the Tokyo drink landscape, but the beverage has recently enjoyed a popularity boom. Perhaps you've passed a long line of adolescents in front of a store, or your Instagram feed has been overwhelmed by chunky straws and tapioca-filled, vacuum-sealed cups.

The drink — which consists of flavored tea, often mixed with milk and sugar, with black tapioca balls at the bottom, waiting to be sucked up — originally comes from Taiwan, and has gained popularity internationally over the past few decades. Its arrival in Japan is a little less clear, though it seems the first real inroads bubble tea made in the country came at the start of the millennium.

But the beverage has never been a true trend here until now. While bubble tea has had its devotees over the past decade and a half, it only recently connected with Japanese teens, the arbiters of culinary cool across the archipelago. Perhaps owing to bubble tea's photogenic properties, its colorful, layered toppings and add-ins easily visible in plastic cups, online outlets have referred to a nationwide "tapioca boom." You know it has spilled over into the mainstream when YouTubers and J-pop idols try to cash in on the trend.