What is Boba?

From granitas, slushies, and teas to puddings, Boba has become the talk of the town. Vastly appealing Boba has made its way to almost everyone's social media. But is it worth the hype?

Updated on Aug 15, 2022 11:57 AM IST  |  412.1K
Boba is a small chewy pearl also known as Tapioca pearl
Boba is a small chewy pearl also known as Tapioca pearl
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The Boba is also known as the miniature, chewy balls (usually black in color) and is found at the bottom of a drink, typically tea or smoothie. Is there anything else that you might know about Boba? No? Then you are at the right place!

Today we will dive to the bottom of everything and scoop out all the details concerning Boba. Ready?

What is Boba?


The super popular and trending drink Boba originated in tiny tea outlets or shops in Taiwan throughout the 1980s. The broad contents to create Boba could be gluten-free starch balls (tapioca) extracted from the roots of a Cassava plant. The overall result is tasteless and chewy spheres or bubbles.

Ideally, Boba pairs well with bubble teas, smoothies, slushies, etc. Bubble tea starts with a tea base combined with milk (or fruit flavoring). Pour this mixture over the dark gluten-free pearls, i.e., Boba.

How is Boba made?


Tapioca balls come from the cassava plant root. The method involves chopping the cassava root into tiny pieces and then boiling it for roughly half-hour until it becomes soft to extract the juice.

This cassava plant juice helps to create Boba or Tapioca pearls. Mix water, sugar syrup, guar gum, and potassium sorbate to form a gluey powder that is caramel in color. Dip the starch balls or bubbles (Boba) in this mixture to give otherwise tasteless Boba spheres a slightly sweet taste. Extract all the juice from the Boba ball, sun-dry it, and then pack it.

Place these balls into molds of dissimilar shapes to give non-identical shapes to the Boba balls. For example, to create flower-shaped Boba balls, use a flower cutter, and for cube-like shapes, use a cube cutter.

Once the Boba balls take your desired shape, store them in a container and keep them in a refrigerator for a minimum of two days before using them in your drink.

What are the different types of Boba?


There is a wide range of flavors of Boba - from fruity choices, like grape, lychee, or watermelon, to sweet ones, like honey or chocolate. You can put the different types of Boba into two general categories, i.e., Tapioca Boba and Popping Boba.

1. Tapioca Boba

Traditional milk tea Boba is served with Tapioca spheres, i.e., pearls made from starch.

The beverage is often a mixture of water, milk, tea, and sugar. You get a heap of variations; however, Boba milk tea is the most common drink available in cold and hot forms. Tea shops or cafes usually serve this drink in a very wide-mouth plastic cup and seal it shut with a transparent cover.

Traditional Boba spheres are found at the bottom of your drink or cup and are crunchy in texture (imagine a combination of Jell-O and chewing gum). You can merely enjoy this beverage at any time of the day or night. Mostly all the Tapioca balls are black in color with the exception of rare forms of white and transparent.

2. Popping Boba

You can typically pair a Fruit-based Boba with a vast range of toppings, the most popular being Popping Boba. It is usually made from algae (seaweed) extract, fruit juice, Calcium compounds, and a sweetener like honey.

Popping Boba is fruit-filled edible balls donning a gel-like skin. Popping Boba ooze with fruity flavor once popped or squeezed - hence the name!

Is Boba popular? Why?


1. Distinctive style and edible affair

Firstly, the experience of drinking a Boba beverage is one of a kind. Puncture the plastic covering of your cup with a good-mouthed straw. Then drink your Boba beverage through the straw and relish the exploding or crunchy pearls getting sucked into your mouth. The fusion of thick drink and chewy pearls will be entirely unique to your mouth (not alike slurping on a slushie or smoothie)

2. Wide range of toppings and toppings

The cafes serve Boba tea (for example) with either a fruit-base or a milk-base.

Similarly, some Boba tea flavors are unlike anything else available in the market. A few of these contrasting flavors are (original) milk, taro, matcha, honeydew, green apple, strawberry, passion fruit, lemon, mango, watermelon, lychee, grape, peach, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi avocado, banana, and coconut.

To further elevate your drink, you can choose your own toppings like popping Boba, jelly, pudding, or red bean.

3. Aesthetically appeal (fit for Social Media showoff)

Boba drinks are highly appealing and pleasing to look at (we all have seen the pictures come on!).

Boba has become well-liked partly because a lot of customers share it on their social media pages, proudly showing off to their friends how their drink stands out in the market.

People love to customize their beverages - from skilled milk with low sugar (diet Boba) to fusing green apple and peach for colorful depth. We have seen it all and even loved it. You own it; you flaunt it, right!

How can you make Boba tea at home?


Firstly, let us gather all the supplies. To understand the process in this instance, we are using Tapioca balls (you can choose your favorite topping). Buy a pack of bubble tea balls (they are easily available on Amazon).

Secondly, be ready with your preferred tea, milk type (or fruit juice), and refined sugar (or honey). Let's start!

i. Mix water and tea into a small utensil and place it on high heat. Boil it, switch off the heat and let the tea become normal (room temperature).

ii. Fill another utensil with water. Once it starts boiling, add the Boba balls and leave them for about 15-20 minutes. However, keep checking the balls after every 10 minutes.

iii. Strain the water (do not throw it) and collect the spheres.

iv. Put those pearls in a bowl and add honey or refined sugar. Pour the collected hot water.

v. Continue stirring the water to dissolve the sugar. Allow the tapioca pearls to soak in the sugar syrup for at least a half-hour, then leave the spheres aside.

vi. Once ready, place those pearls into your glass. Add the tea, sugar syrup, and ice cubes (choice). You can also add whipped cream if you prefer so.

vii. Give it a quick stir, sit back with a straw and ENJOY!!

Is it okay to prepare Boba beforehand?

Yes, it is okay to prepare Boba balls in advance. You can make these pearls up to six weeks beforehand. Once prepared, store these balls in a dry, clean, and airtight container in your refrigerator or at room temperature. If you choose to refrigerate the Boba, their texture will become firm and crisp, so if that is something you prefer, yum! If you purchase Boba pearls from a store, keep them at room temperature and in their original packaging.

Also, make sure you do not cook the Boba pearls until you plan on using them in your drink. Once you cook those balls and do not use them within 24 hours, they become soggy and sticky in texture and may even become unedible.

The best thing is to keep the Boba balls in cold water or cooking syrup after cooking to retain their texture until you decide to use them.

Our advice: Do not risk cooking the Boba pearls until you want to use them in your drinks.


Is Boba a healthy beverage?

Unfortunately, no, Boba is not a healthy beverage. Although the carbohydrates and calories present in Boba may help you enhance your energy levels, it actually has minimum health benefits.

Typically Boba beverages consist of high sugar content, which in the long run or in case of daily consumption may lead to severe health conditions like obesity, indigestion, and diabetes.

Having said that, you can always customize your Boba drinks. For example, ask for sugar-free or less sugary sweeteners like honey, replace heavy milk with almond milk or skimmed milk, and avoid overloading your drink with whipped cream. You can also opt for iced tea, green tea, or black coffee instead of whole milk and enjoy the drink stress-free!

Take Away


The Boba are the crunchy and small black balls sunk at the bottom of your beverage. One of the best things about Boba is that you can easily add it to completely different drinks like milk, tea, ice coffee, ice tea, and even smoothies and slushies.

Now that you have an idea about Boba, why not give it a taste and let us know your favorite Boba drink!


What is Boba made of?
Boba is made of tapioca starch from the roots of the Cassava plant.

Why should I not drink Boba?
Boba beverages usually have high sugar content in them.

Can my kids drink Boba?
Kids under the age of four should not drink Boba as there is a risk of them choking on the Boba pearls.

What will happen if I do not chew Boba?
You are likely to suffer from gas or bloating and stomach aches.

Is Boba safe for pregnant women?
Yes. But, remember to chew the Boba pearls properly before swallowing.

Will I gain weight after drinking Boba?
Yes and No. If you consume Boba on a regular basis, you will tend to gain weight owing to its high calories and sugar content. However, you can enjoy Boba beverages every once in a while without having to worry about weight gain.

Can Vegans drink Boba?
Yes. Boba is made up of starch and does not contain gelatin. You can always customize the Boba beverages as per your preferences and you are good to go!

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