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What is Boba and Why is it So Popular?

So your best friend quickly blurted “let’s get some boba!” And you’re thinking to yourself, what on earth is boba? Is that a fictional character? Is it some food I never heard of? Where do you even get boba?
Well… let us explain!

Boba or bubble tea is a tea based drink that is typically consumed with friends for a quick fix to your sweet cravings. Boba first originated from Taiwan specifically in Tainan and Taichung in the 1980s. Although boba came from Asia it quickly became popular amongst English speaking countries. You can find boba in countries like the United States and other western regions.

Boba definition: “small, usually black, balls of tapioca used in beverages, which are generally consumed through a large straw.” — Your Dictionary

Nowadays more and more people enjoy boba or bubble tea around the world. We think it’s safe to bet that there is not one developed country that doesn’t have boba or bubble tea. Let us know if we’re wrong!

Left hand holding boba drink and straw

What Ingredients are in Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea can have many ingredients. And its flavors are ever expanding the more people (boba lovers) enjoy this delicious drink.

Typically bubble tea will have the following.

This is essentially all that you need for bubble tea, it’s not that complicated actually! When you begin to taste all the different flavors of bubble tea, that’s when things can get interesting.

Since the base or underlying flavors of bubble tea comes from the brewed tea used (usually black tea or green tea), you can explore many options just like your favorite coffee drinks. There’s almost no end to how many flavors of boba or bubble tea that can be made.

Some of the most popular flavors include thai milk tea, matcha milk tea, black milk tea or taro milk tea. All included with boba or bubbles of course. Try these flavors out first if you never tried bubble tea before. These flavors will be subtle enough and NOT overwhelming so that you have a great first impression on Taiwanese’ wonderful dessert drink.

In addition to milky tea flavors, teashops have been including fruity flavors as well. Some of the most popular fruit tea boba drinks include lychee, mango, honeydew and passion fruit to name a few.

Boba— Tapioca Pearls

If you’ve never tried boba before you might be wondering what are those black chewy looking bubbles on the bottom (or top) of my drink? Well that is what you call tapioca pearls or boba— hence bubble tea.
Don’t be afraid of these black bubbles, it’s not like they bite or anything. They’re chewy and delicious! It’s just tapioca spheres made from tapioca— a starch typically extracted from cassava root.

what is boba

You might be wondering, are boba pearls healthy? Tapioca pearls are mainly made up of starch, so the nutritional value from them is quite slim. It’s mainly carbohydrates that you’ll consume when eating boba or tapioca pearls.
So no, those little boba pearls do not add too much calories if at all into the bubble tea drinks. Boba pearls are mainly used for uniqueness and texture rather than nutritional value.

Some boba can be popping too! Popping boba is typically in your fruity boba drinks because they usually have a sweet tarty taste to them when they pop. Popping bubbles is made from flavorings and mainly seaweed extract. Seaweed extract is usually the outer shell of these popping boba pearls to enclose the deliciousness inside that you can’t seem to have enough of.

Now that you know something about boba pearls, are you still afraid of the bubbles in bubble tea?

Is Boba Healthy for You?

As long as you control your consumption in moderation… Hahaha but seriously we love bubble tea but that doesn’t mean we shy away from the fact that it has a lot of sugar. (At least in some boba flavors).

Your typical bubble tea will have somewhere between 20-60g of sugar. Depending on the flavor you choose, where you get it and how the tapioca pearls are made. The sugar content in one 8 ounce bubble tea can vary.
How does it compare to your best-known coffee brands though? You know, that green logo one…

In a typical drink from your best-known coffee brands like Starbucks, the average sugar content in their drinks are around 40g of sugar. Of course the sugar content can vary from size of the cup to the type of drink you order.

To be safe, always consume in moderation, life is about balance after all right?

what is boba

That’s it! Did we answer your question about what boba is? If not, be sure to comment or contact us. Talk about boba so that we can chime in on anything you’d like to know about these Taiwanese drinks. ‘Til next time!

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