You’ve had your first or couple of bubble teas now and you wonder if it’s too good to be true. Can it really just be tea and milk with some added flavors?
Bubble tea can’t be too unhealthy can it?
Let’s dive right in on the health concerns behind bubble tea and whether you should be drinking boba as much as you are.
How many calories are there in boba?
It all depends, like anything in this world… It depends on how much you drink. It depends on what type of bubble tea flavor you get. It depends if there is boba or tapioca pearls in your bubble tea. And more!
Let’s stick with a general scenario, the good ol’ fashioned classic of thai milk tea with bubbles. (One of our favorite boba flavors).
For a regular 16-ounce serving of thai milk tea with bubbles you’re looking around 200-275 calories. Let’s break this down.
Macro Nutrients of Bubble Tea
From that fat section, you’ll be consuming somewhere between 5-8 grams of fat depending on how your local bubble tea shop makes it. (The more milk or sweeteners like condensed milk used, the more fat content your bubble tea will typically have).
For the carbs, the bulk of the calories in any drink, you’re looking at consuming around 40-70 grams of carbohydrates with a regular 16-ounce serving of thai milk tea with bubbles. Where do these carbohydrates typically come from in bubble tea? Generally, it comes from sugars within your boba drink. Think about the condensed milk used or even how the tapioca pearls are made (usually with brown sugar), these sugars will add up to make up majority of your carbohydrate intake in bubble teas.
And finally, protein. There isn’t all that much protein in bubble teas or boba despite drinking milk. Depending on the boba flavor you order, the milk will vary based on that selection. With a typical 16-ounce cup of thai milk tea, you’re looking to consume around 2-5 grams of protein. Like I said before, not all that exciting when it comes to protein. (Body builders may want to stick to their protein shakes and muscle milk).
How many calories are in tapioca pearls?
The bulk of the calories in any bubble tea will be mainly from the tapioca pearls themselves. Typically they’re made with cassava starch and have little to no nutritional value if any at all.
Keep in mind, that shouldn’t be the only factor in deciding whether you want to drink boba or not though. Boba is delicious and in order to get the full experience you’d have to try it with the tapioca pearls, it only adds to the depth of flavor and texture.
In general, a typical cup of tapioca pearls is roughly 450-550 calories depending on how your local boba cafe processes boba pearls. Split this into about 1/4 or 1/6 of a cup, you’re looking to be consuming around 100-150 calories worth of bubbles in your bubble tea.
Usually it has this many calories because tapioca pearls are made with cassava starch and a sweetener, either caramel or brown sugar. With all the sugar in the tapioca balls, it only makes sense that the calories are a bit high because of the carbohydrates.
Now this may seem like a lot of calories for ¼ cup of tapioca pearls in your bubble tea but think about it. Without boba pearls in your bubble tea, it’s safe to assume that your bubble tea drink isn’t even over 100 calories. (That’s less calories than your typical Starbucks Frappuccino).
There’s no need to be worried about whether bubble tea is unhealthy or not as long as you don’t drink liters of it a day. Just like how many connoisseurs drink coffee on a daily basis with additives like sugar and milk, people also drink bubble tea on a daily basis.
It all depends, like we said before. In our opinion, with something like bubble tea, you can’t judge it based on whether it’s healthy for you to consume or not. You should instead, ask yourself the question “do I want to have a new experience and try something different?”
If your answer is yes, then let that be it. Bubble tea is wonderful and everyone should at least give it a try once. It’s becoming more and more popular for a reason. Just another alternative to your daily coffee routine. If you have more questions be sure to join our exclusive Talk Boba group where bubble tea lovers like you ask questions all about boba, join the conversation!