What is Bubble Tea and Boba Tea?

I’ve never tried Bubble Tea but I saw it on Pinterest recently and I had to do a little research to find out about this drink with “blueberries” on the bottom.

Keep reading to find out what they really are.

What is Bubble Tea or Boba Tea?

Sounds interesting huh? Just the initial research shows I’m late to this game but since I researched it I’m going to tell you about it.

Evidently, there are people who can’t go a day without it.

The thought of passing a Bubble Tea Shop without getting one is unheard of.

By the way, those beads at the bottom they are are Tapioca Pearls (see them on Amazon) otherwise known as Boba.

Another name for this tea is Boba Tea because of those balls.

Here’s What I Found Out About Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea is a type of tea that was first made popular in the 1980s in Taiwan and is now made with a lot of different variations.

Originally, this tea was just a cold milk tea that was shaken until frothy and only sometimes the pearls were added.

The “bubble” comes from the bubbles that form at the top.

The balls you see at the bottom of the cup are usually tapioca balls, though fruit jelly is also sometimes used.

Tapioca balls are typically soft and chewy like gummy candy.  They are usually black, which is why I thought they looked like blueberries.

These balls are made from cassava starch, sweet potato, and brown sugar.

If you see white pearl balls they are typically made from cassava starch, caramel, and chamomile root and they taste different than the black ones.

Boba Tea pearls are made of tapioca. You can make them or you can purchase them.

What Type of Tea is Used?

A common question people ask about bubble tea is what type of ‘tea’ is used.

While you can get bubble tea with any type of tea base you want, it is usually made with either green tea or black tea.

There are some more modern versions that will use red or white tea and sometimes infused fruit teas for a different type of flavor.

There are also many bubble teas made with milk or other cream ingredients that are blended to turn it into more of a frozen treat.

What Else Is In a Basic Bubble Tea?

The traditional type of bubble tea is very simple with only a few ingredients used.

You will typically get a blend of tea that is cooled, along with some type of milk, sugar, and then the tapioca pearls.

Many tea shops selling bubble tea are using coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk as a non-dairy alternative for people who don’t want to have dairy.

Organic Bubble Tea Kit by Gratitude Tea Company

Photo Credit: Gratitude Tea Company

The Benefits of Drinking Bubble Tea

I’m always looking for the health benefits and I found a few that are touted.  

So let’s take a look at some of them. 

The Tea Contains Antioxidants

Let’s start with the health benefits of drinking tea in general.

Even if you don’t like tea prepared in the traditional way, you might enjoy drinking it cold with milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls instead.

It is a little more enjoyable to drink, but you also get the basic tea benefits at the same time.

Green and black tea, which are most often used with bubble tea, contain a type of antioxidant called polyphenol.

This group of antioxidants helps protect your body and immune system, and also has anti-inflammatory properties as well.

It Can Replace More Sugary Drinks

While it would be ideal to drink water or straight tea without a lot added to it, bubble tea can mix it up a little and keep you from turning to sugary sodas and fruit juices.

While some bubble tea is made with a little sugar, it is only a small amount, and you can get it without all that added sugar.

This provides a flavorful drink you will enjoy and you can get your kids to drink, which has health benefits without always turning to soft drinks or juice.

You Can Make it Healthier

Of course, I wanted to find out if you can make it healthier than some of the videos I saw with all the added sugar.

The fact that bubble tea can be easily customized is another benefit because it helps you control exactly how healthy the drink ends up being.

For example, you can avoid regular sugar by using stevia or even add brown sugar instead of white sugar for a different taste.

You can use coconut milk or almond milk in place of full fat cow’s milk, and reduce the amount of sugar and additives in half.

The flavor of your tea can be increased by using a fruit blend, keeping you from needing a lot of the milk and sugar that is usually added.

The Tapioca Pearls Have Nutrients

You also don’t need to worry about the tapioca pearls at the bottom, as these contain nutrients of their own.

They are a source of protein, as well as containing calcium and vitamin K.

Ok, so maybe it can be justified as a somewhat healthy drink, depending on how you make it.

Want To Try Making Your Own Bubble Tea?

Now that you know what bubble tea is and how it can benefit you, you might be curious if you can make it at home.

Why yes, I found recipes for that, too.

You can even purchase a Bubble Tea Making Kit (get it here) on Amazon or search for kits on Etsy.

I found this video by Emmy Made In Japan showing you how to make Bubble Tea once you get all the ingredients together.

Her cute personality is as bubbly as the tea.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

Basic Boba Tea Directions:

1. Brew Your Tea

The first step to making your bubble tea is to brew the tea.

 This can be anything from tea leaves brewed with a tea ball to using simple tea bags. 

You can also leave out the tea completely and use hot water in your bubble tea as well.

When the tea is done brewing, let it sit out to cool off while you complete the rest of the tea.

This allows you to have a nice, cold beverage.

2. Prepare the Liquid

The dairy liquid is going to be prepared next, which is usually blended.

The entire bubble tea doesn’t need to be blended, but you get a creamier texture when you blend the dairy with the amount of ice you want.

You should have the same amount of ice as milk, whether using regular dairy milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk.

Blend it until smooth and set it aside.

3. Add the Remaining Ingredients

By this point, you are beginning to assemble your bubble tea.

Start by grabbing a handful of tapioca pearls and any flavoring syrup you are using and add it to the bottom of your glass.

Next, you will add in the tea, followed by your milk and ice mixture.

 You can also add in some sugar at this point and shake or stir it up.

4. Customize Your Bubble Tea

If you decide to make the bubble tea at home, you can choose from a wide range of options.

People sometimes like turning it into a blended drink with ice and fun flavors, while others go the more traditional route.

I’ve read several posts of people experimenting with their bubble tea by trying different flavor combinations.

You can add almond milk with a caramel syrup to create a delicious nutty bubble tea, or use green tea and passionfruit tea bags in the tea with regular milk, some heavy cream, and pieces of fruit, blend it up, and then add it to your glass with flavored syrup and tapioca pearls.

The options seem to be endless.

Boba Tea or Bubble Tea doesn't have to be made with tea. This is a fun looking recipe using fresh fruit.


Simple Bubble Tea Recipes to Try Out

Take a look at these easy and delicious bubble tea recipes to try out.

Creamy Coconut Bubble Tea

This first bubble tea recipe is very similar to a traditional cream-based bubble tea, often called milk bubble tea, but it adds a little coconut to it.

This slight change in flavor keeps it interesting but isn’t hard to do yourself at home.

For this tea, you will need the tapioca pearls either by purchasing them as-is or cooking black tapioca first.

You will then combine your tea of choice with some coconut milk or coconut cream, ice, sugar syrup, and any flavorings you would like with this tropical beverage.

Pour the mixture on top of the tapioca that is on the bottom of the glass.

Green Bubble Tea

You can also make a green bubble tea and blend it up so that it looks and tastes similar to a green tea Frappuccino.

For this bubble tea, you will need the tapioca pearls, light brown sugar, regular table sugar, green tea, milk, and flavoring.

Brew your tea first and allow it to cool when it is done brewing.

You can also add dried tapioca pearls to the pot of water while brewing the water for your tea, which softens them up so you can eat them when drinking your tea.

Once the tea has cooled, add the rest of your mixture.

It should be served within a few hours of preparing it, otherwise, the tapioca will harden.

Make Boba Bubble Tea at home. It's actually pretty simple once you gather the ingredients.

Tropical Bubble Tea

If you prefer more of a fruity flavor, this tea will be perfect for you.

Follow the directions for brewing a green fruit-flavored tea, then set it aside to cool a bit.

Next, you can add your tapioca pearls to the glass, then add your sugar and sugar syrup, and fruit nectar.

You can get mango nectar or other tropical fruits that you want to add.

Finally, add your cooled green tea and mix everything together.

For it to look like a smoothie, you will blend the ingredients before adding them to the glass.

The tapioca pearls should not go in the blender when making bubble tea.

Fresh Fruit Bubble Tea

This one isn’t made with tea at all. It sounds more like a smoothie.

Blend in blender 1 cup fruit, 1/2 cup milk, sweetener of choice, and 1 cup ice. After ingredients are blended well add liquid and tapioca pearls to a cup and drink.

Are You An Entrepreneur?

If you want to pursue a business of your own and you love Bubble Tea then you can apply for training to open up your own Bubble Tea Shop.

This video will tell you a little bit about what Boba Tea Direct has to offer.

Bubble Tea Gifts

Just to see what I could find I searched Amazon for not only the ingredients but also for gifts for Bubble Tea lovers.

Apparently, you can get Bubble Tea t-shirts, key chains, special straws, and necklaces.

Boba tea earings

Don’t pass up Etsy either because there are many sellers with cute items (see some of them here).

If you end up loving Bubble Tea you won’t have trouble telling the world about it.

Bubble Tea Keychain.Bubble Tea Keychain.Green Bubble Tea NecklaceGreen Bubble Tea Necklace2 BOBAStainless Steel2 BOBAStainless SteelPink Bubble Tea PinPink Bubble Tea PinBoba Tea T Shirt -NavyBoba Tea T Shirt -Navy

I found all sorts of cool images and posts on Pinterest about Bubble Tea and gift ideas.

I’m sure I could do more research but at this point, I just need to find a place near me so I can taste one.

Girls night, anyone? 🙂

What do you think? Have You Tried Bubble Tea?