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How Much Sugar Does Boba or Bubble Tea Really Have?

Bubble tea or boba has the same amount (if not less) sugar than your typical BIG coffee chains.

You know, the iconic green logo one.

Below you’ll find a comparison of 1 big bubble tea chain and 1 big coffee shop chain. You be the judge, does boba really have a lot of sugar?

Generally, bubble tea isn’t all that bad for you. So long as you aren’t drinking 3 cups a day, every day of the week that is.

What is that popular saying again? Something about consuming your favorite foods and drinks in moderation. That saying applies here too!

Bubble tea contains about 250-600 calories each drink. It varies based on the flavor you choose of course. As you can imagine, tiger milk tea will have more calories than a delicious oolong milk tea.

Now don’t let that calorie range scare you.

Remember, if you’re drinking your favorite cup of boba once a month, it’s not all that bad. But, if you’re drinking anything that has around 400 calories daily, we suggest you revisit the moderation quote.

Now the question still stands, how much sugar does boba or bubble tea really have? Let’s get into the details.

What Exactly is in Boba?

Boba, otherwise known as bubble tea in some other locations, generally contains 3 or 4 ingredients.

Your typical cup of boba will consist of a tea base, milk or creamer, sweetener, and a topping of your choice. Toppings like boba pearls, popping boba pearls, lychee, jelly, pudding, etc. If you choose to opt-out from any toppings, the calories of your boba flavor will drop significantly.

Here’s an example of how many calories you can save. Let’s say you don’t want any boba pearls in your bubble tea. You can drop the number of total calories in your drink by about 150-250 calories!

These few ingredients that make up boba drinks are the biggest factors in determining the calorie count in your bubble tea.

If you want to learn more about the healthiness of boba, be sure to check out our full article about whether boba is healthy or not here.

Sugar Content in Boba or Bubble Tea

The biggest factor in determining the amount of sugar in your boba drink is to first ask yourself what boba flavor you have. Some flavors of boba like black milk tea contain less sugar than other drinks like taro milk tea.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that each boba flavor will have 1.5-3 tablespoons of sugar.

The best part is that many boba cafes understand that a lot of people don’t actually like their boba too sweet. Half the team here at Talk Boba don’t like it that sweet either. Many of us order our boba drinks around 50% sweetened compared to their base sugar amount.

If you ever ordered boba from big brands or cafes you’ll notice that they will offer customization. You can typically opt for 75%, 50%, 35%, or even lower percentages of sugar content.

Even zero percent!

Unfortunately, many articles out there will put out a blanket statement saying that all boba or bubble tea is unhealthy. Which puts a bad name on the iconic Taiwanese drink.

Yet, with the idea of boba customization in every order, all boba drinkers have the freedom to choose how much sugar is in their boba or bubble tea.

A blanket statement that boba is unhealthy is not only false. It is subjective based on individual preferences when it comes to flavor, sugar customization, etc.

Kung Fu Tea vs Starbucks— Calorie Comparison with Nutritional Data

Kung Fu Tea Nutritional Menu

If you’re not familiar, Kung Fu Tea is one of the most well-known brands in the boba or bubble tea industry. With over 100 locations in the northeast region of the United States alone, it’s only fair to compare this to another well known cafe brand.

In this case, Starbucks.

What you see below is an image of Kung Fu Tea’s milk tea calories and nutritional information found on their website here. Before we begin, let it be known that the caloric information below is based on a range that does not specify a specific size of the cup.

But generally, the majority of the calories in each drink don’t even reach 400 calories except a few. And they’re specific bubble tea flavors. Even with their most popular drink, Kung Fu Milk Tea, the caloric range is 173-302 depending on the sweetness you choose and the size of the cup you choose.

Milk Tea Calorie Information from Kung Fu Tea

Starbucks Nutritional Menu

The below image is caloric information for one of Starbucks’ most popular categories, frappuccinos. And the most popular cup size at Starbucks, grande.

You can find the whole nutritional menu here if you’re interested. It’s quite amazing actually and very well structured.

As you can see, the majority of the calories shown in the table below are quite similar to the caloric ranges of bubble tea from Kung Fu Tea’s above.

What does this really say though?

We’re not here to prove anything to you but to show you perspective. Talk Boba believes that when other articles or organizations claim that boba is unhealthy, they should provide more context.

From a glance, it’s safe to say that both calories in boba (milk tea) and frappuccinos are very similar in their ranges. See for yourself!

Frappuccino Caloric Information from Starbucks

Now, we don’t want to spark an outrage between boba and cafes like Starbucks. But we wanted to show more context into the nutritional information behind both of the popular drinks in the beverage industry.

We hope you learned something new today about the sugar content and calories of boba or bubble tea.

If you want to learn more about the break down behind boba and what is inside of it, have a read on that article here. Share this with a friend or two if you thought this was interesting. Thanks for reading with us and remember to just talk about boba, duh!
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