Bubble Tea, Benefits, Nutrition, Ingredients, Recipes and Facts

Bubble tea, or boba tea, is a drink originating in Taiwan in the 1980s, characterized by the addition of tapioca or yam starch pearls, or boba. Several varieties of bubble tea are now popular in Asian as well as Western countries. The ingredients of the tea are mixed by shaking the tea which creates foam on its top. This procedure gave it the name 'bubble tea'. Bubble tea is now available around the world, though it remains most popular in areas with significant Asian populations. The original bubble tea contained hot black tea, condensed milk, honey, and cooked tapioca pearls, but today, there are nearly limitless possibilities.

Two Taiwanese tea houses claim to have invented bubble tea: Chun Shui Tang in Taichung City and Hanlin Teahouse in Tainan City. Hanlin Teahouse originally used white tapioca pearls instead of the dark brown variety common today. In any case, bubble tea was wildly popular throughout East and Southeast Asia by the late 1990s, and it soon after spread to the United States, Europe, and Australia.

The tapioca pearls in bubble tea must be boiled for 25 minutes and cooled for another 25, after which they last for about seven hours. Ideally, they are round, soft and translucent on the outside, and a bit chewy in the center. They do not have much flavor on their own, but are usually soaked in a sweet solution. The tapioca pearls in boba are usually at least six millimeters in diameter.

The typical bubble tea house today offers a huge menu of drinks. Bubble tea may be hot or cold, green or black, with condensed milk or flavored powder or syrup. Other boba drinks may not use tea at all, but rather coffee or fruit juice. One recent variant, snow bubble tea, combines shaved ice with boba. The tapioca pearls in bubble tea may be replaced with a variety of ingredients, such as smaller mini-boba, fruit-flavored rainbow boba, green boba flavored with green tea, or sweet cubes of flavored jelly.

Bubble tea, particularly the cold variety, is served with a large, brightly-colored straw to allow the drinker to reach the tapioca pearls. The cup may be covered with a plastic dome lid or sealed with cellophane that the drinker must pierce with the straw. Hot bubble tea is sometimes sipped out of a mug, while the tapioca pearls are accessed with a spoon.

Bubble tea is a pleasure for the eye, the tongue, and the palate, and bubble tea houses are often a pleasant place to take a break from your schedule and relax with friends. With the variety of options on the bubble tea menu today, virtually anybody can find something that appeals to them. While the idea of sweet, chewy spheres in one's drink may seem strange to the uninitiated, most newcomers to boba are pleasantly surprised.

Other names: boba, milk tea, pearl tea, bubble drink, tapioca pearl drink, boba ice tea, boba nai cha, momi milk tea, black pearl tea, and much more.

Bubble Tea Health Benefits

Tea contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that act as antioxidants for disease prevention and treatment of many health-related illnesses. Polyphenols are tea's primary active ingredients, and their health benefits have been documented by numerous scientific studies. Green tea especially has been proven to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure (lowering the risk of heart attacks), aid digestion, fight fatigue, preserve younger-looking skin and promote oral health. Recent animal studies have shown that green tea extracts protect against various cancers.

Bubble Tea Nutrition Facts

Since there exist numerous varieties of bubble tea, bubble tea nutritional facts may vary according to the variety.

Plain bubble tea contains about 160 calories. When you add milk to it, the calorie count goes up to 230 calories. Moreover, one ounce of tapioca pearls provides 100 calories and if you add 2 to 3 ounces of pearls per cup of tea then the tea becomes a high calorie drink. The hidden calories in bubble tea make it a drink to avoid for those who are thinking of losing weight. Although bubble tea contains less caffeine than coffee, some people may experience restlessness, irritability and sleep disturbances, after drinking the tea.

Actually, a 14 g serving of concentrated black milk tea without pearls contain 40 calories, 1.5 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugar and 1 g protein. But when you add half cup of cooked, dark brown pearls to it, its nutritional value changes substantially. It becomes a high calorie drink that contains 200 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber and 7 g protein.

Bubble Tea Side Effects

Most bubble tea varieties are packed with sugar. An average bubble tea with milk and pearls contains 340 calories. One cup of bubble tea can make you cross the limit of daily sugar intake. Tapioca pearls are rich in starch which in excess can prove to be harmful. They promote weight gain.

Bubble Tea Ingredients and Varieties

Bubble tea mainly contains a tea base which can be made from black tea, green tea or pearl milk tea. The tea base and the ingredients may vary from place to place. Bubble tea can be described as a tea base with fruit or fruit syrup and/or milk. It simply is a shaken or whipped drink. Bubble tea with pearls is nothing but the original Taiwanese shaken or whipped tea with tapioca pearls. The tapioca balls or pears are known as 'boba'. Cooked tapioca pearls are added to the tea at the end. Bubble tea is essentially a sweetly flavored tea. Its ice blended versions are also quite popular. Some varieties contain pearls made of jelly. Some prefer fruit flavored teas while some love milk teas. A hybrid variety, 'fruit milk tea' is also available. Some varieties contain pure, crushed fruit smoothies with pearls while some contain ice cream shakes. Dairy milk/cream or milk substitutes are used to prepare milk teas. Some people enjoy bubble tea with honey, agave, stevia or aspartame.
The original bubble tea was just a whipped mixture of hot Taiwanese black tea and condensed milk. It contained a little syrup or honey along with a few tapioca pearls. But these days, hundreds of varieties of bubble tea are available as per demand. Cold bubble tea is more popular than the hot one. The original black tea was first replaced by the jasmine-infused green tea. Small tapioca pearls were replaced by big pearls. Colored pearls were then introduced. The color changed according to the fruit. More fruit flavors were introduced, for example, peach or plum flavoring. Now, even coffee is used to make the base of this beverage! A mixture of half black tea and half coffee is also used as the base, for example, in yuanyang from Hong Kong.

Popular fruit flavors of bubble tea include honeydew, strawberry, jack-fruit, green apple, avocado, passion fruit, mango, lemon, grape, lichee, peach, cantaloupe, banana, coconut, kiwi, watermelon and pineapple. Almond, taro, chocolate, coffee, caramel, mocha, barley, sesame, pudding, ginger, lavender, rose, and violet are the most sought after non-fruit flavors of bubble tea. Different flavors of jellies are used when jelly cubes, stars or strips replace tapioca balls. At some places, aloe, egg pudding, sago, and taro balls are also added to the tea instead of tapioca balls. Here follow bubble
tea nutritional facts.

Bubble Tea Recipe

Tired of having coffee all the time? Then, check out these rejuvenating bubble tea recipes that are not only attractive, but are rather delicious.

Mango Bubble Tea Recipe


  • 1 ripe mango, chopped

  • 1 cup low-fat milk

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ cup tapioca pearls

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tea bag - red, black, green or orange pekoe

  • Honey, for taste


As per the package instructs, cook the tapioca pearls accordingly. Also, you can boil 3 cups of water, add the pearls in, stir it, and cook for about 30 minutes. Place a lid over the pot while the tapioca pearls are boiling. Once they turn plump and soft, leave it in the pot 30 minutes. Later, scoop all the pearls out and place them in a clean bowl. Pour couple of tablespoons of water from the pot itself. Now add 1 tablespoon of sugar and honey. Mix everything completely. To prepare the tea, take one cup boiling water and steep the tea bag for 10 minutes. Place the prepared tea in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill. The sugar and honey will keep the tapioca pearls soft till you have to use them. In a blender, add in mango chunks, low-fat milk, water (depending on how diluted you want the tea to be), and sugar. Blend the liquids till it turns into a smooth consistency. Mix the mango blend with the tea and the tapioca pearls. Your mango bubble tea recipe is ready.

Coconut Bubble Tea Recipe


  • ½ cup tapioca pearls

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 cup ice, crushed

  • 1 cup black tea

  • ½ cup low-fat milk

  • ½ regular coconut milk


Boil the tapioca pearls in boiling water for about half an hour, till they turn translucent and soft. Take the pot off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for another half an hour. Drain the tapioca pearls and rinse them under lukewarm water. Place them in a clean bowl and mix in the brown sugar. If you have enough tapioca pearls for two people, divide them equally in large serving glasses. Take a shaker and mix in the crushed ice, low-fat milk, and coconut milk. Shake the contents vigorously and pour them in the two glasses over the tapioca pearls. Serve the coconut bubble tea chilled with large straws.

Green Tea Bubble Tea Recipe


  • ½ cup tapioca pearls

  • 1 cup ice, crushed

  • 1 cup green tea

  • 1 cup milk

  • Honey or sugar, for taste


Cook the tapioca pearls as mentioned in the mango bubble tea recipe. Once they are chilled, pour them in a glass. Take a cocktail shaker and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Shake till everything incorporates properly. Pour the liquid in with the tapioca pearls and see if you need any more honey, sugar, or milk.

Bubble Tea Recipe


  • ¼ cup large tapioca pearls

  • 2 cups water

  • Tea leaves

  • 10 oz water for strong tea

  • 4 oz whole, skim or soy milk

  • Crushed ice

  • Sugar syrup


For a pot of tea, fill a kettle with water, bring it to a boil and pour the hot water over the tea bags. Make sure you use twice as much tea as you use normally. Cover and let it boil for 5 - 7 minutes. Now remove the tea bags, add sugar syrup to taste and refrigerate for at least an hour or so. Now take another pot, fill half with water and bring it to boil. Put tapioca pearls to the boiling water, stir occasionally and at low heat boil the tapioca pearls for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow it to settle down. Rinse the tapioca pearls under warm water and then dry them completely. In a cocktail shaker, combine five oz of cooled tea, two oz milk and three oz crushed ice and shake well. Put half of the cooked tapioca pearls at the bottom of a tall clear glass, pour the tea mixture in it and serve. You can also use vanilla extract or coconut milk instead of regular milk, and flavors like shot of hazelnut flavoring or a dash of almond extract to add more variations to the bubble tea drink.

Bubble Tea Sugar Syrup Recipe

The sugar syrup in bubble tea is basically used to flavor cooked tapioca balls and to sweeten the freshly made bubble tea drink. Therefore, 1 - 2 tbsp of this syrup should be used for each 16 oz serving of bubble tea.


  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup white/castor sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar


In a large pan, combine both the sugars and water together. Heat over medium heat and as soon as the sugar dissolves or the mixture begins to boil, remove the pan from heat. Allow it to cool and refrigerate.

If you're wondering how to make cold bubble tea, just add some ice cubes in the bubble tea recipes mentioned above. The next time you're in the mood for some iced tea, try these refreshing bubble tea recipes.

How to Make Bubble Tea at Home

Many people like bubble tea but do not know how to make bubble tea at home. Bubble tea is different from the normal tea and hence is liked by many. There are not many methods of making bubble tea. This beverage is supposed to be served cold. Depending upon the variants added, there are different types of bubble tea like you can have black bubble tea, green bubble tea, etc. You can also have bubble tea like the ones with fruit juice, with milk, etc. But, you can also have hybrid tea which is a mixture of fruit juice and milk. Go through the paragraphs below to know how to make bubble tea at home.

Tapioca Pearl Bubble Tea


  • Water

  • Ice

  • Large pot

  • Tapioca pearls

  • Sugar syrup

  • Bubble tea mixture


In a large pot, add 6 to 8 cups of water and allow it to boil. The next step is to add tapioca pearls. But, make sure that you do not add all the tapioca pearls in one stroke. Add them slowly to the water. If you observe that the tapioca pearls have started floating, boil them, if the tapioca pearls are small in size, then you can boil them for 20 minutes, if they are medium-sized, then for 25 minutes and for large sized tapioca pearls the boiling time should be not more than 30 minutes. After boiling them enough, turn off the flame and allow it to settle for 20 minutes in water. In order to avoid the tapioca pearls from clumping, stir them after every 5 minutes. The next step is to rinse the tapioca pearls. Do this till there exists no water on them and allow them to dry completely. Combine the bubble tea mixture powder with ice and water. Instead of using water, you can also opt for milk. At the bottom of the cup, put some tapioca pearls and add some sugar syrup over it. Instead of using the sugar syrup, you can also use honey. Then in the cup slowly put the tea mixture and then you can use a bubble straw. Make sure that you use the tea solution and tapioca pearls immediately. Or, you can also cover them with a lid and keep it in the fridge. If not kept in fridge, bubble tea tends to become mushy. Before you use it, boil a cup of water and add tapioca pearls to it so that they become warm.

How to Make Bubble Tea Pearls

The tapioca pearls which are required for making bubble tea can also be made at home. For 1 part of pearl to be cooked, boil 8 parts of water. To the boiling water, add pearls and make sure that they float evenly. Without covering the bowl with the lid, allow the water to simmer for almost 40 minutes. After 30 minutes, check for the softness of the pearls. If they have the required softness, then you can use them.

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