Bubble tea or boba tea is a sweet Taiwanese milk tea drink made of black tea, milk, sugar and tapioca pearls.
However, over the years many new boba flavours have emerged in bubble tea stores across the world. So, you'll also find other bubble tea types that are fruit-based, without milk, or has a different type of boba topping inside. It can be served hot or cold.
Bubble tea shops will often serve you this drink in a transparent cup with a fat straw. So, you'll be able to sip the milk tea and chew on tapioca pearls.
What are tapioca pearls?
Tapioca pearls or boba balls (also called bubbles) are made of tapioca starch and water. It is a common topping in boba tea drinks. For sweetness, some people will also add brown sugar.
Who invented boba tea?
Boba first appeared in Taiwan during the 1980s. It was a popular alternative to traditional hot milk tea on summer days. There are many debates about the drink's origins.
Two Taiwanese tea stores, Chun Shui Tang and Hanlin have fought over being the inventors of the drink. However, its origins are not clear.
What does boba taste like?
Boba tea is a sweet refreshing milk tea drink. Shops will often allow you to customise the level of sweetness and ice level to get it to your taste. You can also make it at home with some of our bubble tea recipes below.
Best Bubble Tea Recipes
Here are some of our top-rated bubble tea recipes which you can try out!
- How to Make Bubble Tea (Boba Milk Tea) At Home!
- Matcha Milk Tea Recipe
- Thai Tea Boba Recipe: How to Make Thai Bubble Tea
- Taro Milk Tea in 2 Ways! Make From Fresh Paste or Powder
- Brown Sugar Milk Tea Recipe, Make Tiger Boba or Mudflip Tea
- Strawberry Milk Tea With Boba Pearls and Fresh Strawberries
- Honey Boba Recipe, Make Honey Milk Tea At Home
- Cheese Tea: How to Make Cheese Foam for Boba
Alternative Boba Tea Toppings To Make
- How to Make Tapioca Pearls (Boba Balls) with Perfect Texture For Milk Tea
- Popping Boba Recipe: Fun DIY with or Without Sodium Alginate!
- Crystal Boba: A Tapioca Pearls Alternative Using Agar Powder
- Taro Balls Recipe: A Traditional Taiwanese Dessert
- Make Coconut Jelly in 2 Ways! As Dim Sum or Boba Topping
- Grass Jelly (Cincau): A Traditional Chinese Herbal Dessert
- Egg Pudding (Custard), A Boba Topping & Traditional Asian Dessert
- Coffee Jelly, Easy Japanese Vegan Dessert Recipe
Recommended Bubble Tea Products
Looking for more bubble tea products we recommend? Check out our guides here below.
Best Bubble Tea Shops Near You
As true bubble tea fans, we've gathered some of the best bubble tea recommendations across the world. Explore our list of the best bubble tea shops in your area. From the UK, Asia, to the States.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about this delicious drink!
What is the main ingredient in bubble tea?
There are 5 main ingredients in bubble tea and these are tapioca pearls, tea, milk, ice and syrup. Changing the ratio between the ingredients will give you a different texture and taste.
Refer to our Golden ratio for more information.
Why bubble tea is bad for you?
Bubble tea often will contain a large amount of sugar in the drink. Furthermore, tapioca pearls are almost entirely made of starch. This means it is high in carbohydrates and provides very few health benefits.
Do you need tapioca pearls for bubble tea?
Tapioca pearls are a key topping in bubble tea but you can replace them with other toppings such as crystal boba, coffee jelly, egg pudding and more!
For an extensive list of over 99 boba toppings, refer to our article on boba toppings.
Is it called boba or bubble tea?
In the US, the East Coast will refer to the drink as bubble tea while the West will call it boba. Depending on where you’re from you will have heard of either of these names. You can use both names interchangeably.
Have a read of our bubble tea vs boba article to find out more on this debate!
Is bubble tea cancerous?
Bubble tea is not cancerous and the ingredients used are not toxic nor harmful to the human body.
Is bubble tea addictive?
You can be addicted to bubble tea as it often contains a large amount of sugar. To avoid this, order a bubble tea with a lower sugar level from the store.
Is it OK to drink bubble tea once a week?
It is good to drink bubble tea in moderation due to the few health benefits associated with the beverage.
What is the healthiest bubble tea?
The healthiest boba drinks are Green, Black or Oolong tea without added sugar and milk. These options are virtually 0 calories. However, adding ½ cup of tapioca pearls will add approximately 280 kcal. Grass jelly, coconut jelly and chia seeds are healthier boba toppings.
Wintermelon and Lemon Calamasi are also great options that have 0 calories without added sugar and milk.
For more details, please refer to our article on bubble tea calories.
Latest Boba Tea Recipes To Try
- Coffee Milk Tea Boba Recipe (Hong Kong Yuenyeung)
- Lychee Jelly Recipe for Bubble Tea
- Assam Milk Tea Recipe
- Passion Fruit Boba (Tropical Bubble Tea) Recipe
- Lavender Milk Tea Recipe With Buds, Tea Bags or Powder
- Earl Grey Milk Tea Recipe (Warm or Iced)
- What is Rainbow Jelly Boba Topping and How to Make it
- Almond Milk Tea Recipe (Warm or Iced with Boba)