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Viva la Boba! SCC’s hidden gem, AANAPISI

I recently discovered a hidden little spot on our campus where you can get to know more about Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander culture, heritage, and traditions. 

Yes, you might have guessed right. It’s the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI)

What is it exactly? 

AANAPISI is a designation granted federally to eligible colleges and universities in the United States (U.S.) that have a significant enrollment of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students. AANAPISI groups receive federal funding to support and enhance their capacity to serve and assist these student populations in pursuing higher education. The program aims to promote educational opportunities and success for Asian American and Pacific Islander students, recognizing the unique challenges they may face. 

Our school at Seattle Central College (SCC) fortunately has one representing entity, and they will be around at our campus for at least four more academic years. 

I was so lucky to join them last Wednesday in their boba tea making and sipping. The activity started with a PowerPoint presentation led by Heusom Kim, one of the representatives and organizer of the event, explaining the history of boba tea and how it became such a popular drink. Then, the making of the tea started, and people got to enjoy drinking and conversing with other curious students hopping in on the event. There were two kinds of boba tea served, either with oat milk or whole milk. The activity took place from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in their lounge room, BE 3132. 

Students enjoying the gethering.
Francisco Fonseca | The Seattle Collegian Students enjoying the gethering.

When I came to the U.S. for the first time, in San Francisco back in 2018, I remember seeing people walking by with a cup of what I now know is tea, but with some black pearls or balls at the bottom of their drink. Everything was still so new to me, so I didn’t pay much attention and just moved on without even questioning it. I even think I might have ordered one without even realizing it at a store called Boba Guys.  Honestly, the only place with food that I could care about in San Fran at that time was Bob’s Donuts. Now, years later in Seattle, you can see people everywhere holding the oddly suspicious drink. 

The first time I consciously drank boba tea was just a few weeks ago in an event at SCC where Interim President, Dr. Bradley Lane answered students’ questions, addressed their concerns, and listened their comments. I really enjoyed the tea milky tea itself, but I personally didn’t like the boba much. The tapioca pearls kept getting stuck in the straw I was using to drink the tea, and I don’t find them flavorful. However, I still love milk tea; I’ve always loved it hot or cold. I’m glad that the boba stays at the bottom, allowing me to enjoy the tea almost without any inconvenience at all. 

ANAAPISI member holding a bag of tapioca pearls.
Francisco Fonseca | The Seattle Collegian ANAAPISI member holding a bag of tapioca pearls.

In case you couldn’t attend ANNAPISI’s event and learn about boba tea’s origin, boba tea, also known as bubble tea, is a popular Taiwanese beverage that originated in the 1980s. It typically consists of a base tea (often black or green tea) mixed with milk or fruit flavors and is served cold with chewy tapioca pearls or other toppings. The pearls, commonly referred to as “boba,” are usually made from tapioca starch and have a gummy texture. Boba tea comes in a variety of flavors and can be customized with different sweeteners, toppings, and variations in the tea base. It has gained popularity worldwide and is enjoyed by many as a refreshing and fun beverage. 

Slideshow about boba history at the event.
Francisco Fonseca | The Seattle Collegian Slideshow about boba history at the event.

I asked some students where they get their boba tea in Seattle, and some suggestions were Xing Fu Tang and Don’t Yell at Me! 

U District, where I live, is also home to some great places to get boba tea, like Seattle Best Tea

Kim took me for a little tour around the lounge room, and he showed me how they prepare the teas themselves and what teas they use. He was very friendly! 

Students conversing at the boba tea get together.
Francisco Fonseca | The Seattle Collegian Students conversing at the boba tea get together.

If you are curious and want to get to know more about what AANAPISI can offer you and learn more from them and what they stand for, always feel free to join them! 

It is a very welcoming place that is open to everyone. 

SCC’s AANAPISI group has events happening that are open for all students to join, but I’ve heard they might be soon relocating. So, stay in touch with them either on the Central app, or by emailing them at Currently, Jeff Bermudes serves as the AANAPISI director. 

And you, what is your favorite boba tea and favorite boba spot in Seattle? Let us know in the comments! 


Francisco Fonseca Profile Photo

Francisco Fonseca is the Web Manager for The Seattle Collegian.
He is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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