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Most Common Questions About Boba, Bubble Tea, and Milk Tea

These are the most common questions around boba, bubble tea, and milk tea. You asked, we answered.

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! Here are the most common questions about bubble tea and boba.

Common Questions About Boba

Are Boba Balls, Tapioca Pearls, or Boba Pearls Healthy for You? 

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 are 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 any nutritional value. That’s what greens are for! In its purest form (without brown sugar or any sweetener), tapioca pearls are about 100 calories for every ¼ cup.

Ultimately boba pearls are used to add texture not necessarily nutritional value. It’s part of the novelty in boba or bubble tea.

Read our full article about tapioca pearls here.

Are Boba Pearls Gluten Free?

Want the short answer? Boba pearls are gluten free, yes.

Tapioca pearls like we mentioned before are made with cassava starch. Which is extracted from the cassava root plant. Cassava plants in its purest form do not contain gluten.

It’s a great alternative to gluten rich starches if you’re looking for a replacement. In fact, it’s found in many popular gluten-free recipes.

Read Talk Boba’s full article about why tapioca pearls are gluten free.

How is Boba or Bubble Tea Made?

Boba is very easy to make! The most 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 is Popping Boba 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 mix droplets of your flavor mixture into vegetable oil and let the reaction take place. Your mixture becomes a gel-like droplet ready to be served as popping boba when rinsed off.
Instead of going through all these steps to make a few popping boba pearls, you can buy large amounts here on Amazon. Surprisingly.

What is Boba Made of?

Like we mentioned above, generally bubble tea or boba only has 3-4 base ingredients (different boba flavors call for more or less ingredients). A tea base, milk or creamer, a sweetener and tapioca pearls.

View our Amazon inspired bubble tea kit that we put together. It includes all the ingredients you need to make bubble tea at home.

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. The only extra step is 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!

You can use the same tapioca pearls that we use in our office here. They cook in less than 5 minutes!

Many of the first boba cafes that opened up in the United States have started with powdered flavors. The majority of bubble tea is still made like this actually! But, modern boba cafes are starting to innovate 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.

Nowadays movements towards a sustainable future is normal. Boba cafes are pushing forward to using better alternatives than 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 Smoothies?

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.

Whenever we make bubble tea smoothies our Ninja blender comes in handy.

Common Questions About Boba

How to Cook Boba Pearls or Tapioca Pearls?

Cooking bubble tea pearls only requires you to boil them and wait. The time it takes to cook tapioca pearls depends on what kind of tapioca pearls you have. Whether you have freshly made tapioca pearls or ready-made tapioca pearls.

Feel free to read 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. What does that mean?

Many boba cafes have full customizability for your order. This allows you to control the amount of sugars, calories and toppings in one single cup of bubble tea. Without customization, majority of bubble tea flavors sit around 300-500 calories.

This is 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.

Especially now that many boba cafes are switching from powdered milk teas to 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. It has since been made more popular around the world. What makes bubble tea so different and unique are the toppings. 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?

There are many flavors available from different boba cafes around the world. These cafes have their own unique flavors sometimes but they include the classic flavors too. Flavors like black milk tea or taro milk tea.

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 bubble tea included toppings like boba pearls. It then 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, but you can find a bubble tea cafe almost anywhere in the world. 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 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. Other great Talk Boba articles you might’ve not read yet!

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