Talk Boba

Is Bubble Tea
Gluten Free?

You must be wondering, bubble tea has a few ingredients in it that might alarm people that are sensitive or even allergic to gluten. So it begs the question, is bubble tea gluten free? 

To answer your question right away, bubble tea is gluten free. So if you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten proteins, you’re absolutely safe when you’re drinking bubble tea. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper to find out why this is the right answer though, so stick around! 

Is Bubble Tea Gluten Free?

What is Gluten? 

I’m sure you’re already aware of what gluten is if you’re asking this question or topic of the article, but for those that may not know, let’s clear up the cloudy waters shall we? 

Gluten by definition (according to Google) is a “substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.”

In other words, gluten is a protein that is present in most carbohydrate foods most popularly in wheat that specific people cannot digest well. People who cannot consume gluten may have symptoms like vomiting, decrease in the health of their immune system, nausea, irritation and more. Essentially, like any other allergic reaction, you may become uncomfortable. 

Here are some common foods that contain gluten in case you’re wondering. 

  • Baked goods like cookies, cakes and pies. 
  • Cereals like corn flakes.
  • Noodles like ramen or egg noodles. 
  • Pastas like gnocchi or spaghetti. 
  • Breads like wheat bread or rye bread. 

What Ingredients are Gluten Free in Boba?

Like how both Google and us have mentioned before, gluten is typically in food items that are in some form of breads, cereals, baked goods, grains etc. It’s even in dumplings sometimes, isn’t that crazy!? 

Anyways, first off, what are the ingredients in bubble tea? Generally bubble tea is made of up a tea base, milk or creamer, sweetener and tapioca pearls (boba pearls). Tea, without a doubt has no gluten in it. Being that it is both vegan and gluten free, you’ll have no worry of whether you should be consuming this or not. For milks or creamers, you might have to do some research. Some argue that some specific milks or creamers will include gluten depending on what milk or creamer it is. Majority of the time your general milks or creamers will be gluten free though. As for sweeteners, there is no gluten in these for sure, no need to worry about this either. 

The big question is whether tapioca is gluten free or not. Since tapioca pearls or boba pearls are made from cassava starch, some beg the question whether it’s gluten free or not. Even our team has asked this question before! 

Is Tapioca Pearls Gluten Free?

What exactly is tapioca pearls? Tapioca pearls are chewy balls of dough (really delicious) made from tapioca starch which is extracted from the cassava root. We have a full article on what cassava root is that you can read here. 

In short, cassava root is a plant native to areas like South America as a major food source, specifically carbs. The cassava root and it’s tapioca starch that is extracted is however gluten free. Reason being is that it’s not a grain at all, typically gluten is incorporated in grains like wheat bread for example. 

Since cassava root is a vegetable and naturally does not contain gluten, at least in its most natural form, those that have gluten allergies are safe to consume this. Keep in mind though you’d have to be careful of cross contamination. 

The way tapioca starch is extracted or processed is by grinding up the cassava root into a very fine powder. Now, if the factory or processors of the specific brand of tapioca starch also grind up wheats or grains, you’re at the risk of cross contamination. In this case, it wouldn’t be too great if you had consumed tapioca pearls. If you ever worry about whether tapioca pearls may or may not affect you, please do your research or ask the boba cafe about more facts. 

You can never be too safe right? We want everyone to be as safe as possible while enjoying their beloved bubble tea. 


Have you answered your question yet? We hope we did! To reiterate, the only ingredient that you really need to be wary about is the tapioca pearls based on the reasons we mentioned above. We hope everyone can enjoy bubble tea as much as we do as a team and community @talkboba. 

Let us know if this helped you or a friend out in any way, we like to know that we help people on a daily basis about their questions related to boba or bubble tea. If you’re still interested in reading further, check out what tapioca pearls are made of here, it’s a perfect addition to this article, is bubble tea gluten free? 

Like always, enjoy every cup of bubble tea and just talk about boba, duh! 

Talk boba