How many calories are in boba? Is there a lot of calories in bubble tea? Will bubble tea make me gain weight? Is boba even healthy? How healthy is boba?
Have you asked yourself this at least once? Or maybe your best friend has brought up this question within the friend circle at least once.
Either way, there always seems to be someone that brings up the question of how much calories are there in boba. Especially new bubble tea or boba drinkers. We’ve been guilty of it too.
The short answer, there is not as many calories in bubble tea or boba as you’d think.
But you’re not here the short answer are you now. Let’s break it down and see why there really isn’t that many calories in a drink called bubble tea. Calories in boba, read below!
What are the Ingredients that Make Up Bubble Tea?
First, we have to answer the question of what exactly is in your typical milk teas. Generally, bubble tea consists of 4 parts: the tea, the milk, the sweetener, and the tapioca pearls.
Despite how the tea is steeped, the more important matter is that a tea base makes the whole bubble tea experience that much more delicious. Tea plays a very important role when making a bubble tea, if not the most important.
In our opinion, the bitterness and depth of flavors from tea, mixed with a sweetener and milk are what make the bubble tea experience come full circle. The tea helps to balance out the silky smooth milk and the sweetener nicely. The tea is the base, just like how coffee is the base in a great latte.
To add to the experience, milk is equally as important as the tea is.
The milk used in bubble teas serves to give you that silky and smooth texture when sipping on a delicious milk tea. Without a good creamer, a flavor like Thai tea wouldn’t be as great.
Find a boba shop that truly prides itself in making delicious bubble teas with real milk and tea, you’ll be in for a treat. Sometimes it’s hard to come by these shops though. In general, the majority of the bubble tea shops you see take the shortcut.
They usually make bubble tea with powder mix similar to this. Take honeydew tea for example. If you don’t see real honeydew being chopped up in the blender, it’s safe to say that they use an alternative like powder.
Shops use powder because it’s more cost-effective and quicker to make when ordered. In our humble boba opinion, making bubble tea without powder is the best for quality. Price may be more expensive but the freshness in the ingredients is hard to beat.
In addition to tea and milk, the two most important ingredients in a great bubble tea, you have the sweetener.
Usually, boba shops will use syrups of several different flavors in order to give you the sweet taste you desire. Especially in fruity bubble teas like strawberry bubble tea or mango bubble tea.
However, some shops will opt for condensed milk instead or simple syrup. With condensed milk, you’re getting two of the best worlds, creamy texture and sweetness added to your already great bubble tea.
Here’s a tip.
When ordering bubble teas at your local boba shop, be sure to ask for 50 – 75% of sugar if you’re not that big on sugary drinks. Boba tends to be on the sweeter side than bitter. If you like tasting the slight bitterness of authentic tea, be sure to opt for a lower percentage of sweetness in your bubble tea.
Now the chewy bite of tapioca pearls.
Sometimes it is a hit or miss for a great texture in boba pearls. If you order your bubble tea with pearls (sometimes people order without) this can make or break your entire experience.
A good texture for boba is to have a chew that takes 8-15 bites to finish. Anything more or less is simply not that great.
If you chew less than 8 times, your boba may actually be more starchy and break up too fast. Giving you a very bad texture almost like chewing bits of leftover rice. If you know, you know.
If you chew anymore than 15 times, your boba is too chewy almost like gum.
With each bite of boba pearls, it should break down naturally in 8-15 bites.
What are the Calories in Bubble Tea?
Now that we’ve established the key ingredients that make up a great boba drink, let’s dive into the calories of each part.
We promise it’s not that bad.
How many calories are because of the tea in bubble tea?
In the majority of teas, whether it is black tea, green tea, or some other herbal tea, there are hardly any calories. If anything, a typical homemade brew of tea is less than 5 calories at most.
It doesn’t matter if you use a tea bag or actual tea leaves, the boiled water that is later steeped into tea has little to no calories at all. This is part of the reason why bubble tea doesn’t have many calories when you think about it. The base (the biggest part in terms of ingredients in boba) doesn’t have many calories at all.
It’s the other ingredients or parts of the bubble tea that contain the calories but not as much as you’d think.
What are the calories of milk in bubble tea?
Since a normal 8oz cup of bubble tea typically has a small portion of milk, the calories won’t add up too fast.
In any cup of bubble tea, you’re looking to have about 50 – 80 calories from dairy or milk. Now depending on what milk is used will determine whether your boba calories fall into the higher range or lower range. Some kinds of milk commonly used are regular milk, non-dairy milk, almond milk, or soy milk.
Is there a lot of calories in sweeteners?
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky.
Let’s start with regular simply syrups or flavored syrups that boba shops tend to use often. Like any syrup, it’s mostly made of sugar and water boiled together. When counting the calories in 1 oz of simple syrup, you’re looking at about 30 – 50 calories.
Whereas condensed milk, you can expect to see around 100 – 130 calories per 1 oz of condensed milk. Being that it is a sweetened concentration of milk, the small amount packs a big punch when it comes to calories.
But, with all the above so far your simple bubble tea is looking to be around 200 calories, which isn’t too bad at all. (Like any good thing, balance is key!)
How many calories are in tapioca pearls?
Finally, in order to sum up the total amount of calories any typical bubble tea can have, we have to add in the tapioca pearls. Assuming you’ve ordered this with your bubble tea of course.
Tapioca pearls are made of cassava starch, it’s full of carbohydrates. In terms of calories, you’re looking around 100 – 135 calories worth of tapioca pearls in any normal-sized bubble tea.
Typically bubble tea shops will scoop ¼ a cup of tapioca pearls that translates to the above calorie count.
With all said and done, the total count for a normal-sized bubble tea is around 280 – 350 calories. Keep in mind some stores add more sugars to the flavors and some even add more boba pearls. So the calories can definitely creep upwards to 400 – 500 calories per drink.
Feel free to go for the higher calorie count once in a while. At least your taste buds won’t regret it!
Now that you’ve read the above details in what goes into a normal bubble tea drink, do you think it was all that bad after all? We don’t think it is. As long as there is moderation and you’re not drinking bubble tea 3 times a day, you shouldn’t have any worries.
Life is about balance!
Anyways, thanks for reading with talk boba and be sure to comment below. Did we fix your initial thoughts about bubble tea being too unhealthy or no? Let us know below and like always talk about boba, duh!
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