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Boba and Bubble Tea Explained

Everything you need to know about what boba is and what is tastes like.

Boba is something that has taken the world by storm in recent years. This trend has skyrocketed in popularity, and suddenly you will find Boba stores not only all over the USA but all over the world too.

So, if you are yet to try Boba, you might find yourself wondering just what it is.

What Is Boba

Boba, and Boba tea, is something that first found popularity in Taiwan. But in recent years, it has spread all over the world, and it is seemingly something that everyone loves. But what the heck is it? In this guide, we’re going to find out.


What is Boba?

Well, first things first, let’s take a look at what the heck Boba tea is. As we have said, Boba is something that comes from Taiwan. It was first created in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that it first began to enter the US market.

It took a little more time for Boba to become popular all over the world, and it is only really in recent years that you will find Boba stores on most high streets.

Boba is made using tapioca starch. The tapioca is made into small balls, and this is why they are sometimes also referred to as tapioca pearls. Most of the time, the small balls are simmered in brown syrup, and this is why Boba usually has a dark brown/black appearance and a sweet flavor.

Boba has a variety of uses, but it has really gained popularity through its use in tea. After all, it is Boba tea that has made Boba so popular.


Where Does Boba Tea Come From?

We have just credited Taiwan with the creation of Boba tea, but this is actually something that is heavily debated.

Due to the fact that Boba was created quite a while ago, there is a lot of debate over which region of Taiwan it comes from, and which store first created it. This is why the origin of Boba is simply listed as Taiwan.

In Taiwan, Boba had a lot of different uses. But, in the USA it has one primary use, and that is in bubble tea. It is bubble, or Boba, tea that has taken the world by storm.

Traditionally, bubble tea would have been created by layering pre-prepared Boba with black or green tea, before finishing it off with cream or milk.

A lot of Bubble tea stores still prepare their Boba in this way, but some have put their own spin on it. But what does Boba taste like?


What Does Boba Taste Like?

The dark appearance of Boba can give the impression that it is sour or bland, but this isn’t the case. Instead, Boba is incredibly sweet, and this is why it is used to create bubble tea.

The tapioca balls used in bubble tea are simmered in syrup, and it infuses them with nothing but sweetness. Other than this sugary, sweet taste, Boba doesn’t really taste like much. Instead, it is the ingredients in the tea that you will taste.  

What The Heck Is “Boba”?

In terms of texture, Boba might take you by surprise. When you drink Boba tea, you might find yourself accidentally slurping one of the small balls up your straw, and it can be a shock.

You might expect these balls to be hard, but they are actually soft and creamy. This is because of the tapioca used to make them. But there are actually a few different types of Boba. So let’s take a look at what they are.


Types of Boba

Tapioca Boba

The traditional type of Boba is tapioca. We have already spoken about this quite a lot, as this is the type of Boba that we have spoken about so far. This type of Boba can be served both cold and hot, and it is totally delicious. No matter what type of drink it is added to. 


Clear Boba

This type of Boba is actually pretty similar to tapioca Boba, and that is because it is produced using the same part of the tapioca plant. The only real difference between the two is that clear Boba is not simmered in brown syrup, and so it doesn’t have the same dark appearance as regular tapioca Boba. 


Popping Boba

Popping Boba is a little different, and for this reason, it is only really used in fruity drinks. It is created using different flavors and is designed to give a pop of flavor when it is eaten (hence the name). It is sweet with a gel-like consistency, but it is not made using tapioca. Instead, seaweed extract is usually used to make these pearls. 


Mini Boba 

Finally, mini Boba is made using the same ingredients as tapioca Boba. But, it is made to be a lot smaller. The smaller size means that it can be cooked quicker, and for a lot of bubble tea stores, this is more efficient. This also makes this type of Boba easier to eat, and this is why a lot of Bubble tea stores prefer to use mini Boba instead of regular Boba. But, it tastes exactly the same. 


Final Thoughts

So, if you haven’t gotten around to trying this new sensational drink, you really need to get yourself a cup of bubble tea. Just use this guide to answer any questions you might have about what boba is and what it tastes like.

What’s your favorite boba drink? Let us know down below in the comments!

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.