Bubble Tea: Can It Be Healthy?

What Is Bubble Tea?

In the mid-to-late-90s, as a highschool pupil, my good friend known as me and requested if I needed to go get a bubble tea. The drink was taking his neighborhood by storm and some places had popped up. Fast ahead 20 years, and bubble tea, additionally known as pearl tea or boba tea, retailers are all over the place.

Bubble tea is normally a sweetened tea, with pure or synthetic flavors, containing a layer of tapioca balls, or pearls, typically sitting on the backside. They come up once you sip via a big straw, making them seem like bubbles, or “boba.”

Originating in Taiwan, the favored drink was reportedly created by Lin Hsiu Hui, product supervisor on the Chun Shui Tang Teahouse. The teahouse was already serving chilly tea, however in 1988, she determined to strive including small tapioca balls into her ice tea. The concept was based mostly on a typical Taiwanese dessert known as fen yuan (a sweetened tapioca pudding). It was an instantaneous success.

But is bubble tea wholesome? Let’s discover out.

Bubble Tea Ingredients

The elements in bubble tea can fluctuate, however mainstays are sometimes inexperienced or black tea and tapioca. Unless specified upon ordering, just about all teas are closely sweetened with a type of sweetener resembling cane sugar or fructose, in addition to a milk or non-dairy additive to make it creamy.

Boba tea can also be sometimes flavored, both naturally or artificially, with varied fruits, chocolate, taro root, and extra. Popular flavors are chocolate and fruit-based choices like mango, kiwi, or strawberry.

Do all these elements add as much as a health drink?


Tea is well-studied and has proven loads of promise with regards to human health. Green tea has the sting with regards to health advantages due to its excessive focus of the highly effective catechin polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG.

EGCG is a plant compound with antioxidant results that’s related to improved cardiovascular health, decrease irritation, and a decrease danger of diabetes and different power sickness. It can also be in , simply not with the identical excessive focus as inexperienced varieties.


Tapioca is a high-carbohydrate, starchy product that comes from cassava, which is a root vegetable that bears the same look to the yam. Tapioca is obtainable in quite a lot of varieties, and pearls are one in every of them.

From a dietary standpoint, tapioca provides a load of fast and simply digestible carbohydrates. It could be very low in nutritional vitamins in minerals—significantly within the serving you’d get in bubble tea—and is just about freed from fiber. Its greatest profit is that it’s doubtlessly simple to digest for folks with irritable bowel illnesses or gluten sensitivities, however on the flipside, it needs to be averted by these seeking to management sugar consumption.

Milk/Non-Dairy Products

Milk and different non-dairy merchandise (oat milk, almond milk, and so forth.) are additionally added to bubble tea. Cow’s milk is a wealthy supply of calcium, B nutritional vitamins, iodine, potassium, and extra. Non-dairy are normally fortified, however can function added sugars if flavored. Specify what you’d like whereas ordering and remember that sweetened alternate options add energy to the drink.


Flavors can come from pure sources or syrups. Syrups may have no vitamin and simply add to the calorie and sugar counts of your bubble tea. If there’s strong or blended fruit within the drink, you’ll get a small serving of the vitamins it comprises.


Sweeteners shall be high-calorie, high-sugar, and may contribute to weight acquire and different power circumstances if consumed often.

Is Bubble Tea Healthy?

Unfortunately, inexperienced tea can’t even save this drink. Essentially, it’s a calorically dense liquid dessert. Any profit from the tea is shortly eradicated by the huge sugar and caloric hundreds these drinks supply.

One research totally different boba drinks discovered that, on common, a small 16-ounce (oz.) (473 ml) drink with milk tea and tapioca balls contained 299 energy and 38 grams of sugar.

Some variations of bubble tea function jelly and egg puddings, and after they do, calorie and sugar counts get even increased. A big 32-oz. (946 ml) serving of a bubble tea with these elements provides greater than 250% and 384% of the day by day really helpful consumption of sugar for women and men, respectively, and exceeds 500 energy.

Of course, the latter instance might be a worst-case state of affairs. But that doesn’t imply the best-case state of affairs is especially good. A small bubble tea, even when it comprises barely much less sugar, nonetheless has extra energy than the identical serving measurement of a sugar-sweetened soda.

Can you make bubble tea more healthy? You can actually shave off a number of energy by electing to go the unsweetened route, however the tapioca will nonetheless supply some added sugar.

The backside line is that bubble tea is a candy deal with and people who devour it needn’t concern themselves with its potential advantages. The different elements will probably cancel out any health advantages derived from the tea; it’s a dessert beverage, so get pleasure from solely often and accordingly.

If it’s the feel of the drink you’re after, it’s potential to make a considerably wholesome model. By eliminating sweeteners and extra flavors, you’ll be able to knock off energy with non-nutritive sweeteners and a quite naked bones strategy.

A Healthy(-ier) Bubble Tea Recipe

This fundamental bubble tea recipe will are available at about 150 energy per serving and may simply be made at residence for a less expensive and doubtlessly more healthy different. To make one serving, you’ll want:

  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 10 drops liquid stevia (optionally available)
  • 1/four cup boba balls

Simply mix the matcha, almond milk, ice cubes, and stevia, if utilizing, collectively till easy. Boil the boba balls for about three minutes in a half cup of water, then pressure and put in a cup. Pour the blended liquid over it and revel in.

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