Talk Boba

16 Common Questions About Boba

For those that have never tried boba, this list of questions will help you understand why bubble tea or boba has become so popular. Fair warning, you might learn something new here 😅.

Let’s cut to the chase and begin shall we? We’ll try to keep things as short as possible but provide you with the best answer on the internet for boba! 

Common Questions About Boba

Are Boba Balls Healthy? 

Starting off with a tough one. Boba balls or tapioca pearls (for those that don’t know what it is) aren’t healthy or unhealthy per se, it’s very subjective. Here’s the facts, tapioca pearls are usually made with cassava starch, which contains empty calories. What does that mean? Tapioca pearls essentially have carbs for energy but lack anything meaningful in terms of nutritional value, that’s what greens are for! In its purest form (without brown sugar or any sweetener) will be about 100 calories for every ¼ cup of boba balls. Boba pearls are used to add texture not necessarily nutritional value. 

Are Boba Balls Gluten Free? 

Want the short answer? Boba balls are gluten free, yes. Tapioca pearls like we mentioned before are made with cassava starch extracted from the cassava root plant. Cassava plants do not contain gluten. It’s a great alternative to gluten rich starches if you’re looking for a replacement away from wheat or other grains. 

How Boba is Made?

Boba is very easy to make! The most fundamental and classic flavor of boba is the Hong Kong style black milk tea. In order to make this all you need is 3 ingredients: black tea base (preferably loose leaf tea), milk or creamer (sweetened condensed milk is popularly used) and tapioca pearls (you can buy some here if you’d like). Find the exact ratios with our Hong Kong style milk tea recipe guide here or make another boba flavor here!

Common Questions About Boba

How Popping Boba is Made?

Popping boba is made with science! The technique behind making popping boba is called molecular gastronomy. Is that too scientific for you already, because it is for us! In essence, with the right recipe of ingredients such as seaweed extract, water, sugar, fruit juice (or whatever flavor you desire), calcium lactate and a few more ingredients, you can make popping boba right from home. Usually you simply mix droplets of your flavor mixture into vegetable oil like this and let the reaction take place, where your mixture becomes a gel like droplet ready to be served as popping boba when rinsed off. 

What is Boba Made of? 

Like we mentioned above, generally bubble tea or boba only has 4 base ingredients (different boba flavors call for more or less ingredients). A tea base, milk or creamer, a sweetener and tapioca pearls. 

Where is Boba Tea From? 

Boba originated from beautiful Taiwan. Originally it wasn’t called boba but instead it was called bubble tea, and not because of the boba pearls on the bottom of the drink you see today. It was called bubble tea because of the bubbles it had formed when making it. Nowadays, modern bubble tea is referred to as boba or bubble tea depending on where you’re located. Learn more about the difference between bubble tea vs boba here. 

Common Questions About Boba

How to Make Bubble Tea with Powder? 

Simple! When you have powdered mixes for bubble tea, it’s no different than making a cup of coffee other than the addition of boba or tapioca pearls. All you need is the correct portions of powdered flavoring, milk or creamer and tapioca pearls, that’s it! Many of the first boba cafes that opened up in the United States have started with powdered flavors, majority of bubble tea is still made like this actually! Although modern boba cafes are starting to innovate more with all natural and non-processed ingredients. 

How to Drink Bubble Tea?

To drink bubble tea with tapioca pearls all you need is that large jumbo straw you see at boba cafes. However, nowadays with progressive movements towards a sustainable future, boba cafes are pushing forward to using better alternatives than one time use plastic straws. Some use metal straws, bamboo straws or have no straw at all (the lid openings are just bigger). 

How to Make Bubble Tea Smoothie?

Making bubble tea smoothies are quite simple too! Usually bubble tea smoothies are made with a fruity flavor, like honeydew. The same ingredients apply with making bubble tea smoothies as normal bubble tea requires but blended it up with ice is what allows for its smoothie type of texture.

Common Questions About Boba

How to Cook Bubble Tea Pearls?

Cooking bubble tea pearls only requires you to boil them and wait. Depending on whether you have freshly made tapioca pearls or store bought tapioca pearls will determine how long you have to boil them in a pot of water. Check out this article for a full depth guide on how to cook bubble tea pearls. We talk about how you can flavor your bubble tea pearls too! 

How Unhealthy is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is as healthy as you want it to be. Many boba cafes nowadays have full customizability for your order, allowing you to control the amount of sugars, calories and more in one single cup of bubble tea. Without customization, majority of bubble tea flavors sit around 300-500 calories, similar to the calorie counts in your favorite coffee shops like Starbucks. Find out more about whether bubble tea is healthy for you or not here. 

How to Start Bubble Tea Business?

That’s another tough one, there’s so much that goes into opening up a bubble tea business. Maybe we should write a full article on this topic alone, we’re no experts but we’re sure we can give solid advice for this! To start, product is the most important thing. Now that many boba cafes are switching from powdered milk teas to more all natural ingredients, if you’re opening a bubble tea business today, you will need to factor this in. Don’t take the easy way out with powder!

Common Questions About Boba

What’s Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is a tea based beverage (hot or cold) that originated from Taiwan and made popular across the world nowadays. Bubble tea generally includes toppings such as tapioca pearls (boba), grass jellies or custard puddings. See some popular boba flavors here! 

What Does Bubble Tea Taste Like?

Bubble tea isn’t as simple as one flavor, there are many flavors available from many different boba cafes around the world. These cafes have their own unique flavors sometimes but they also include the classic flavors too. See some of the most popular flavors here that we’ve written about, you can find the full recipe guide on how to make it at home too! 

Where Did Bubble Tea Originate? 

Easy enough. Bubble tea originated from Taiwan. It started as just a black milk tea flavor without boba pearls. Eventually as time progressed and more innovation occurred, bubble tea included toppings like boba pearls and became popularized across the world as more people enjoyed it. It’s definitely come a long way from black milk tea to now famous flavors like brown sugar pearl milk tea or strawberry matcha milk teas. 

Common Questions About Boba

Where to Get Bubble Tea? 

Bubble tea might not be as popular as coffee is, but you can find a bubble tea cafes or spot that has bubble tea almost anywhere in the world nowadays. Even places like Mexico are starting to open up boba cafes, it’s truly come a long way! Just search ‘bubble tea near me’ or ‘boba near me’ and you’ll be sure to find one around you. 

Did you stick around for the all the questions? What didn’t you know before reading these questions and answers? Let us know! We might be adding more to this as more people ask us questions. If you have a question about boba, bubble tea, the culture behind it, why it’s popular or anything else, please reach out here! 

If you want to read more, check out our full recipe guides here, you might be inspired to start making some boba at home! It’s funny, even some of our office team members use those guides and try to mimic boba at home just for fun.

Thanks for reading common questions about boba here. If you have a friend that’s not sure of what boba or bubble tea is, please share this will and help your confused friend about boba.

Talk Boba is the largest and most engaged boba community. With over thousands of readers and boba lovers engaging with us across many platforms, we strive to spread boba and the culture it’s brought with it. We’re here to just talk about boba, duh! And occasionally drink boba while doing so.

Talk boba