What’s the Difference Between Bubble Tea and Boba Tea?

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If you’re a bubble tea enthusiast like us, you’ve probably asked yourself this question at least once before – what’s the difference between them? Well, let us give you the lowdown on these two tasty drinks and hopefully help clear things up!

History of Bubble Tea

What's the Difference Between Bubble Tea and Boba Tea?
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Bubble tea is a beverage that became popular in the 1980s in Taiwan. The first ones combined the flavor of freshly brewed black or green teas with chewy tapioca balls, which were added for texture and sweetness. Today they come in a wide variety of flavors and textures, ranging from fruity slushy-style drinks and crushed ice blends to dairy-infused creamy drinks.

Though it was invented by Liu Han Chieh in Taichung, Taiwan almost forty years ago, it has since become an international phenomenon. Since its creation, these shops have opened all over the world offering a variety of flavors. Real one is still made with freshly brewed loose leaf black or green tea and chewy tapioca balls or pearls as an optional addition.

These days however there are many fruit or milk based variations such as smoothies or shakes that contain sweeteners like fruit juices and syrups as well as additional ingredients such as jelly cubes, fresh fruit slices, popping bobas (fruit juices encapsulated by membranes) and ice cream to make these beverages even more unique and delicious.


It is a drink that originated in Taiwan during the 1980s. It consists of tapioca pearls and is usually made of a combination of several ingredients including tea, fruit juice and some type of sweetener.

The ingredients in this beverage vary based on the type. Generally, however, it contains any combination of the following items:

  • Tea – Green or black teas are most commonly used but other flavors like oolong and hibiscus can also be used. Ones chosen are often rooibos (red) or herbal.
  • Fruit juice – Fruit juice is another popular choice for boba drinks. Popular juices include mango, passionfruit and lychee but almost any type can be used depending on taste preference.
  • Milk – Milk, especially condensed milk or creamer, is often added to provide a creamy texture and taste to boba tea drinks. Soy milk and almond milks are vegan alternatives for those seeking an animal product-free beverage.
  • Sweetener – Sweeteners like honey or agave nectar are sometimes added to balance out the acidity from fruit juices as well as improve flavor. Many people opt for regular white sugar but substitutes such as stevia can also be used depending on personal preference of health needs.
  • Tapioca pearls – These small chewy balls made out of tapioca starch add texture to drinks as well as a slightly sweet flavor that is unique only to bubble teas. Tapioca pearls come in different sizes ranging anywhere from 8mm -20mm depending on preferences towards chewiness/softness or even aesthetics when it comes down to presentation.

Taste and Texture

What's the Difference Between Bubble Tea and Boba Tea?
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They are quite similar beverages, with few key differences in their ingredients, preparation and taste. It consists of freshly brewed beverages blended with a flavor syrup or concentrate, while boba is a drink made of steeped tea leaves that are mixed with fruit or milk-based toppings. Both drinks are served cold accompanied by chewy tapioca balls known as “bubbles” or “boba”.

In terms of taste and texture, it has a more intense flavor due to its concentrated ingredients. The flavor varies depending on the type of fruit or syrup used in the drink mix. The amount of sweetness, sourness and intensity vary depending on how much syrup is added and the type used. It also typically has a thicker, creamier consistency than boba tea which is usually thinner due to being steeped for longer periods of time.

They usually have a softer taste than bubble ones because it does not contain any syrups – these drinks often have delicate floral notes from the use of freshly brewed teas like jasmine green teas infused with fruits or milk-based toppings like condensed milk for additional sweetness. The texture tends to be lighter than bubble teas since it does not have any added syrup. Boba’s tapioca pearls deliver an interesting textural contrast as they provide an unforgettable chewy bite when sipped through an extra-wide straw!

Health Benefits

They are both drinks made with milk, tea, and tapioca pearls. The main difference between the two is that bubble one is usually sweetened and flavored with fruit syrups or powders, while boba tea usually contains lightly sweetened milk. Both drinks offer a light and refreshing treat.

They have the potential to be healthy, depending on the ingredients. Most bubble teas are made with green or oolong tea, which is rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against cell damage. By using naturally sweetened ingredients like honey and real fruit juices, these drinks serve as a delicious beverage that can even provide some nutritional benefits.

These beverages made with black or green teas also contain these antioxidants, but some of these benefits may be negated by adding sugar to make the drink more palatable. This type of beverage is also high in calories due to added sugars and milks such as condensed milk or heavy cream. If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can avoid adding extra sugars to it by ordering it “unsweetened” when available at bubble tea shops instead of requesting it “regular” or “extra-sweetened.”


What's the Difference Between Bubble Tea and Boba Tea?
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In conclusion, they are essentially the same thing – a drink containing tea with tapioca or jelly balls. From some perspectives, they may have originated differently and have slightly different uses in specific parts of the world, but they are enjoyed by millions of people all over the globe.

They come in a variety of flavors with optional toppings like fruit or pudding and can be served hot or cold depending on the area. Overall, whether you call it “bubble tea” or “boba” make sure to try out this delicious concoction at least once in your life – you won’t regret it!