two clear glass jars with straws

Ah, bubble tea! Bubble tea has gained popularity all over the world in recent years. Originally from Taiwan, this sweet, creamy, and chewy tea-based drink has a variety of toppings and tea flavors to offer. The most popular topping is Tapioca, while the go-to varieties are black pearl milk tea and green pearl milk tea.

In its most basic form, a typical milk tea consists of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls, all shaken together like a martini, and served with a fat straw for drinkers to enjoy the tapioca balls at the bottom of the cup. From there, the popularities are endless. You can adjust the sugar level and amount of ice (usually, 1/4, half, or full) to be put in your drink. Some people would even prefer theirs sugar-free. You can opt to lessen the number of boba pearls in your drink, too. Some people prefer their milk tea cold while some like it hot. Some menus add fruit or local flavors or syrup for a localized punch. Due to its popularity, there are powdered iced tea formats and even bubble tea flavored ice cream. Big stores such as Lollicup Store release new flavors regularly.

For some people, bubble tea was loved the first time they drank it. Some people grew to love them after they tried various flavors. It goes well with different kinds of food, and some people have developed of consuming the sweet drink instead of coffee.

Is it bubble tea or boba tea?

Bubble tea goes by a lot of names. On the east coast, they favor calling this comfort drink bubble tea, while people from the west coast call it boba tea. In other parts of the world, they prefer to call it milk tea, bubble milk tea, or pearl milk tea. The bottom line is that they’re all the same. Well, almost the same. You can enjoy bubble tea with or without milk, so there’s that. The moniker depends on where you are. You get to call it what you want.

How bad is bubble tea for you?

Undeniably delicious, like with all good things, bubble tea should be consumed in moderation. A single serving of bubble tea has about 300 to 400 calories, and it usually doesn’t have a lot of nutrients. It’s made as a comfort drink after all. To add to this, bubble tea consists of sugar-based ingredients such as tapioca balls and sugary syrup, so it might not be ideal for those trying to lose weight or lower their sugar consumption.

On the other hand, you can opt to customize your drink by opting to put tea leaves or opting for black tea with less to no sugar. Another option is using sugar alternatives or even brown sugar, the healthier counterpart of processed white sugar. You can even forgo the milk, cream, and chewy tapioca balls as well. The taste of the boba or milk tea would depend on the syrup, teas or fruit poured in every cup. Basically, you can customize your bubble teacup in order to suit your personal dietary requirements. There are many ways to enjoy your order of bubble tea.

What are the balls in bubble tea?

The black balls found in the typical bubble tea is called tapioca balls. Tapioca balls come from Tapioca, a starch extracted from cassava roots. They were originally intended to be the cheaper alternative for pearl sago, which is popular in Asian cuisine. Tapioca balls are naturally gluten-free. The raw tapioca pearls are often black but can also be transparent or white as well.

You don’t need tapioca in your bubble tea though. They are just the toppings that are usually free for every drink purchased. Depending on your tea flavor of choice and the bubble tea shop’s menu, some people use coconut cream, taro or other flavored pearls. You can even use fruit instead of pearls. Toppings in bubble tea add some punch to the drink’s taste, and it tastes really nice. Bubble tea drinks are customizable, so you can choose the toppings you think works best, and you can try different ingredients for a different flavor.

Is bubble tea cold or hot?

The answer is it depends on your preference. Some like it piping hot, and some want their bubble teas with a lot of ice to cool off during a long summer day. The usual offering in bubble tea shops is of the cold variety, and that’s why it’s normal for tea shop menus to detail the sugar and ice level options available. There are many ways to enjoy bubble tea.

Where does bubble tea come from?

blue and white ceramic cup

Bubble tea is a product of Taichung, Taiwan. It was invented in the 1980s, but the original inventor is still up for debate. Two Taiwan-based shops claim that they were the brains behind the famous drink. The Hanlin Tea Room claims that it was invented in 1986 when its owner Tu Tsong-he was inspired by white tapioca balls he saw in the market. He then made tea using these balls, resulting in pearl tea.

On the other hand, Chun Shui Tang tearoom argues that bubble tea was born after its founder, Liu Han-Chieh, began serving Chinese tea cold after he saw that it was a custom in Japan. The new way of serving tea boosted his business, establishing multiple chains. The bubble tea itself was then made by the teahouse’s product development manager, Lin Hsiu Hui, who randomly poured fen yuan into the cold tea drink during a meeting. The beverage was a hit in the meeting, and it led to the product’s inclusion in the menu. It then became a bestseller of the company. From Taiwan, the drink spread across Asia, and then eventually to the west. Related or similar drinks have then popped up because of the craze.

Have Your Tea Your Way

One may argue that bubble tea is an unhealthy drink, but tea boba is a great refreshment to cool off after a stressful day. This popular drink can be paired with a lot of food, and some people claim that they just make them feel better with every drink. Every bubble tea shop has its own spin or flavor which makes their tea boba make people want to come back for more.

Like with any flavored drink though, it should be enjoyed in moderation. One order of this drink should be enough. You should also be picky about the ingredients you use, depending on your personal diet restrictions. You can even opt for fruit instead of using tapioca or taro in your drink. You can opt-out of the cream, milk, or brown sugar, too. You can even try adding little hints of your favorite flavoring or syrup.

The bottom line is that bubble tea has become a star import of Taiwan, and time has proven that it’s really not going anywhere. Many fads come and go, but because of its diversity in flavor and increase in variety every menu search, boba tea, or bubble tea will surely be here to stay. It’s exciting to see what’s next for bubble tea. If you’re craving tea boba today, simply visit the Lollicup store today. For a limited time only, SelectAware offers Lollicup store coupons so you can enjoy bubble tea at a fraction of the price.

Avatar for Susana Neva

Hi, I'm Susana. I am currently a student studying business and in my free time I love to blog about...well, anything really. My favorite thing in the world, I would say, are my two precious kitties!