Everything You Need To Know About Bubble Tea
Bring up “bubble tea,” and people’s ears are bound to perk up. The other day at the Eat This, Not That! headquarters in New York, a couple of us were talking about it and our resident tea aficionado and author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, Kelly Choi, immediately launched into all these fun facts about the colorful concoctions we’ve seen around the city.
“It’s not good for you at all, though,” Kelly revealed. “It has so much sugar. But people like it because it’s kinda fun to drink and it’s not like they’re drinking soda. And maybe they’ll choose a tea that’s actually good for them next time!”
Jumping on the restaurant industry’s successful build-your-own model that’s been popping up everywhere , bubble tea’s customer customization has helped the drink grow in popularity over the last two decades in the States.
While the drink got its start in Taiwanwhere bubble tea shops can be found on nearly every cornerit has also spread to neighboring countries like Japan, South Korea, and China and then to the rest of the world, including the U.S. during the mid-1990s.
Bubble tea remains a mystery to most Westerners, but it’s becoming increasingly more well known. There are now over 800 shops in the U.S., mostly concentrated in New York and California, and shops have been spotted in over 30 countries.
Back to the bubble tea, though. It’s trending, so it’s time to get filled inespecially before you go and place an order.
The Calories In Boba Milk Tea
Boba milk tea is more than just a drink â it’s an entire subculture. The bubble tea has evolved since first hitting the scene, but the original is a blend of tea, high-fructose corn syrup, milk and ice, a combo that can make those boba milk tea calories add up pretty quickly.
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And since most of the calories in boba milk tea come from sugar, there’s not a lot to offer when it comes to boba nutrition. The tea is mostly calories, sugar, carbohydrates and just a small amount of fat, although it does offer a bit of calcium, too.
How Many Calories In A Boba Tea
The Number Of Calories That Are Containd Within Your Boba Drink As was said previously, adding sugar to your bubble tea causes it to have more calories. However, the precise quantity varies depending on how much you like your daily sugar consumption. In general, though, one serving of bubble tea that is 16 ounces has anything from 200 to 450 calories.
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How Many Calories Are There In Bubble Tea Toppings
- Aloe Vera: 70-80 calories per serving
- Brown Sugar pearls: 180-250 per serving
- Grass Jelly: 50-70 calories per serving
- Passionfruit Jelly: 150-190 calories per serving
- Pudding: 70-90 calories per serving
- Popping Boba: 64-70 Calories
- Red Bean: 180-200 per serving
- Sago: 140-190 calories per serving
The lowest-calorie option for topping your boba is, drumroll please
Popping boba! These little balls of fun range from 64-70 calories per serving.
How Many Calories Are In A Bubble Tea Bubble
It is quite difficult to obtain accurate information on this topic nonetheless, the results of my investigation indicate that each boba ball has between 5 and 14 calories. Because the usual boba drink contains anywhere from 25 to 75 of these tapioca pearls, this implies that the tapioca alone may quickly add up to hundreds of calories.
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Is Boba Bad For You
While you can customize your boba tea the way you want, a standard milk tea with tapioca pearls can contain more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola. And thats just the sweet side.
Taking a deeper dive into boba teas nutrition, we can break it down by ingredients: tea, milk or creamer, and toppings. Once you consider the wider range of drink options like slushes and cheese foam tops, you open the door to a lot more dessert-like items.
To simplify things, lets just take a look at the quintessential milk tea.
What About The Toppings
Yes, the toppings. Who could forget? The toppings are what makes boba the unique and beloved drink it is!
Like bubble tea, the toppings differ in calories depending on what boba shop they come from. Lets start with the highest-calorie boba topping.
The highest calorie boba topping is jelly. Jelly comes in many different flavors like coconut and grass jelly. These range from 50-190 calories per serving.
The second highest-calorie boba topping is tapioca pearls ranging from 94-104 calories per serving. These are the most popular boba topping and are honestly what makes boba, boba.
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Why This Is The Best Matcha Boba Tea
- Its the best matcha recipe. If you love matcha, this is a great recipe to make. It is not overly sweet, but has enough sugar and milk to balance out the bitter taste of matcha on its own.
- Its easy to make. You dont need any fancy syrups or powders to make this recipe. All the ingredients are easy to find at your local grocery store.
- Its vegan. This drink uses almond milk instead of cows milk, so its completely vegan as is, and no substitutions are necessary.
How Many Calories Are In Crystal Boba
Boba drinks are sweetened milk tea drinks with tapioca balls. Learn how many calories are in Crystal Boba and why its a popular drink.
Boba drinks are becoming a popular drink in the United States. These drinks are often served with milk or fruit-flavored syrup, but you can also find them with condensed milk, honey, sugar syrup, and other flavors. Given its ingredients, its calorie content also became a trending topic.
There are about 90 calories in one cup of Crystal Boba. Although, in general, the calorie count for different types of boba tea can vary depending on the type and size of tea, milk or cream, and toppings used. So, if we were to figure this information to the Crystal Boba, we can see that it contains about 225 calories.
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Potential Risks Of Boba Tea
While there are some health benefits to consuming the green tea in some bubble team mixtures, most forms of boba tea also contain high levels of sugar. The amount of sugar you drink along with your boba tea can pose potential risks.
Increased Risk of Obesity and Diseases
Consuming high levels of sugar has been linked to serious health complications like obesity, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease , cognitive decline, and some forms of cancer.
Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is also linked to higher body fat in young children.
As the boba tapioca balls are made from cassava, you should also avoid boba if youâre allergic to root vegetables. Some people with latex allergies may also have a reaction to products made from cassava.
Boba Health Myths Debunked
Not all is doom and gloom about our favorite treat, however! Over the years, bobas nutrition has undergone lots of scrutiny, resulting in false claims and a few debunked myths about how bad boba can be.
Myth #1: Tapioca pearls directly cause cancer
In 2012, a German study suggested that the tapioca pearls in boba may be linked with cancer . It caused quite the stir around the world, leading to many putting their boba cravings to rest. However, after both the Consumer Protection Committee in Taiwan and U.S. Food and Drug Administration looked into the matter, it was concluded that there was no health concern around cancer.
In addition to the media sensationalizing the whole story, it also turns out that the German study was not published in a peer-reviewed journal. In other words, this controversial study wasnt assessed by experts in the field to verify accuracy prior to publication.
Myth #2: Boba can get stuck in your stomach
From a viral x-ray showing hundreds of undigested boba balls in a young girls stomach to suspected constipation, there have been worries around boba being indigestible and potentially dangerous.
Yet in an interview, Dr. Ryan Marino, an emergency medicine physician at UPMC in Pittsburgh, suspects that someone would have to drink a huge amount of boba milk tea to experience a problem. He also believes that uncooked boba is much more likely to get stuck than cooked boba.
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Whats In My Bubble Tea
Bubble tea is a wildly popular drink in Singapore and its variety seems to have exploded over recent years. With the basic brew consisting of tea, milk, creamer, sugar and tapioca pearls, bubble tea is ubiquitous on our sunnyisland but what is its nutritional value and how much of it should we be drinking?
Tea is good for you but not everything thats added to itDrinking green tea and black tea has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer. This is due to their polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
However, when ingredients like non-dairy creamer and toppings are added in, the increase in fat and sugar content instead increases the risk of chronic diseases. For instance, non-dairy creamer contains trans fat in the form of hydrogenated palm oil which has been strongly correlated with increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Ultimately, bubble tea is still considered a sugar-sweetened beverage placing it among the likes of soft drinks, energy drinks and 3-in-1 instant coffees and teas.
|Milk Tea with Pearls|
|Cheese Foam||160 to 200|
*Take note that jellies and pearls are kept in a sweet syrup before serving to keep them moist, thus adding to thesugar content of your drink
Can I make drinking bubble tea a guilt free experience?
Tapioca Balls Or Jelly
Similar to the competition among tea shops upon the invention of bubble tea, tea shops are still trying ways to differentiate themselves from other establishments by offering a wide assortment of toppings. Boba isn’t the only thing added to bubble teas now. You can also get popping boba, jelly, and pudding. For pudding teas, the barista can blend the entire pudding into the drink instead of adding a flavoring. Be careful about your combinations, though. The tartness of the fruit jelly and popping boba may not always pair well with the creaminess of the milk.
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Disclaimer About The Nutritional Value Standards
For this article, we have compiled the nutritional value of popular bubble tea flavours and orders based on the findings of Hong Kong nutritionist Hayley Leung from Helpthy Wellness and Feibi, a Taiwan based nutritionist.
Calorie values of the drinks below are based on 700 ml or 24 oz serving. Unless specified, we assume that all drinks are ordered at a full-sugar level. We refer to the amount of milk, sugar and toppings added based on the average serving of boba shops in Taiwan as per the referred analysis.
The calorie counter for each ingredient may differ from one shop to another, but the figures provided here are to be taken as an approximation for comparative purposes.
Boba Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means
In Taiwan, it’s more common for people to refer to the drink as pearl milk tea because originally small 1/12″ tapioca pearls were used. It was only when one tea shop ownerin an attempt to make his tea stand outdecided to use larger tapioca balls and chose a more provocative name, “boba,” to represent the difference. In Chinese, the word boba, , is a combination of a word for bubble and a word for big, which, when found together, is slang for “big breasts” or “buxom lady.” When used to describe the drink, the characters directly translate to boba milk tea, and loosely to bubble milk tea. This translation is commonly used by English speakers and refers to the variant with the big, 1/4″ tapioca pearls.
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Boba = Tapioca Pearls = Cassava Root
Recognized more commonly in tapioca pudding, tapioca pearls are made from starch extracted from cassava root. Cassava is a nutty-flavored tuber native to South America. This root vegetable is a major food staple in the developing world as it has nearly twice the calories of potatoesprimarily from carbs and sugarand is thus a large source of energy. If you thought its lack of nutrients was bad, get this: cassava can be toxic when eaten raw. The tapioca starch has to be detoxified before consumption due to its levels of cyanide, a toxic compound that when ingested can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and even paralysis.
Kung Fu Tea Nutritional Menu
If youre not familiar, Kung Fu Tea is one of the most well-known brands in the boba or bubble tea industry. With over 100 locations in the northeast region of the United States alone, its only fair to compare this to another well known cafe brand.
In this case, Starbucks.
What you see below is an image of Kung Fu Teas milk tea calories and nutritional information found on their website here. Before we begin, let it be known that the caloric information below is based on a range that does not specify a specific size of the cup.
But generally, the majority of the calories in each drink dont even reach 400 calories except a few. And theyre specific bubble tea flavors. Even with their most popular drink, Kung Fu Milk Tea, the caloric range is 173-302 depending on the sweetness you choose and the size of the cup you choose.
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Can You Prepare Beforehand
You can prepare most ingredients in advance to make the perfect boba to save time on the day.
In fact, you can make boba pearls up to 6 weeks in advance. Store them in a clean, dry airtight container at room temperature for best results. If refrigerated, their texture can become harder . If using store-bought boba, keep them in their original packaging.
After cooking, keep the boba in cold water or the cooking syrup to preserve the texture until adding them to the bubble tea. You can store tapioca pearls this way for about 24 hours. Any longer, your boba pearls might become soggy, so try to avoid this.
However, once you remove these from cold water, they can instantly start sticking to each other and become tougher in texture. In general, try not to cook the boba until you need them.
You can easily prepare simple syrup days in advance and refrigerate it. It is a practice that bartenders will often make syrup in bulk. Cold-brewed drinks can be stored in the fridge for up to 36 hours.
On the other hand, normally brewed beverages might become bitter if stored in the fridge for more than half a day. If put directly in the cold without cooling it down, this process could become even faster.
Health Effects Of Bubble Tea
A few decades ago, when Bubble tea made the global headlines and became a cultural phenomenon, few were concerned about the health effects of this drink.
Only as of lately have people start questioning how high in calories this beverage is and whether it can affect our health negatively. That is why researchers across the world have started conducting studies regarding the ways high sugar and calorie content in Bubble tea can cause adverse health effects
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Taro Milk Tea Calories
A 16-ounce taro bubble tea has approximately 278 calories, making it a lower-calorie alternative than a sweetened coffee drink of the same size. Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino, for example, has 420 calories for a drink of the same size.
A taro bubble tea’s calories depend on the amount of sugar and tapioca you put in it. Five teaspoons of sugar is typical in a 16-ounce cup, delivering 81 calories. Add or subtract 16 calories per teaspoon of sugar if you decide you like the drink more or less sweet should you make it at home.
The delicious black tapioca bubbles at the bottom create the bulk of the calories. There is about a third of a cup of them, which come with 180 calories.
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Sugar Content In Boba Or Bubble Tea
The biggest factor in determining the amount of sugar in your boba drink is to first ask yourself what boba flavor you have. Some flavors of boba like black milk tea contain less sugar than other drinks like taro milk tea.
A good rule of thumb is to assume that each boba flavor will have 1.5-3 tablespoons of sugar.
The best part is that many boba cafes understand that a lot of people dont actually like their boba too sweet. Half the team here at Talk Boba dont like it that sweet either. Many of us order our boba drinks around 50% sweetened compared to their base sugar amount.
If you ever ordered boba from big brands or cafes youll notice that they will offer customization. You can typically opt for 75%, 50%, 35%, or even lower percentages of sugar content.
Even zero percent!
Unfortunately, many articles out there will put out a blanket statement saying that all boba or bubble tea is unhealthy. Which puts a bad name on the iconic Taiwanese drink.
Yet, with the idea of boba customization in every order, all boba drinkers have the freedom to choose how much sugar is in their boba or bubble tea.
A blanket statement that boba is unhealthy is not only false. It is subjective based on individual preferences when it comes to flavor, sugar customization, etc.
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