Boba or Bubble tea is a tea drink originating from Taiwan that literally conquered the world by a surprise. Today, bubble tea shops exist in almost every big city around the world. This drink is often difficult to describe – it can be very simple, or close to a masterpiece. It’s a milk tea, but these days it can be made without milk too. It contains real tea, but it can be made with fruit only. One thing is for sure, there is a right boba tea for every tea lover in the world. Even for people that don’t drink tea at all.
Since the invention of the first bubble tea, the list of flavors became incredibly long. So long we can talk about the most popular and unique boba flavors.
What is boba tea?
Boba tea is a Taiwanese milk drink made with a few simple ingredients – strong tea base, a milk ingredient and sweetened black tapioca pearls. The traditional boba tea is similar to Hong Kong milk tea, Thai tea or Teh Tarik, Malaysian milk tea. All of them contain black tea as a base, sweetener and a milk ingredient – usually condensed or/or evaporated milk. The difference? Some are frothy, some aren’t, some are often served over ice, some hot. Boba tea is frothy and usually contains black tapioca balls. Today other substitutes such as fruit jellies may be used too. Sometimes, regular milk or condensed milk are replaced with a non-dairy alternative such as almond milk.
What are the best bubble tea flavors?
Bubble tea comes in thousands of flavors. There are a few boba tea categories:
- Plain milk tea
- Plain Thai tea
- Fruit bubble tea
- Alcoholic bubble tea
- Shaved ice bubble tea
Plain bubble tea is usually made with plain black or green tea and milk, and sweetened black tapioca pearls. You can use almost any type of tea for bubble tea as long as it’s strong enough to mix it with milk. The best green tea types for making milk tea are Jasmine green tea, Gunpowder green tea or Makaibari Estate green tea. The best black tea types for making boba tea are Assam black tea, Ceylon black tea or breakfast blends. Thai tea contains condensed milk rather than regular milk. It’s sweeter and creamier.
Fruit bubble tea contains fruit purees or fruit syrups. It doesn’t need to contain any real tea. When made with fruit puree, it often doesn’t contain milk at all. However, every fruit boba tea will always contain black tapioca pearls.
Alcoholic bubble tea is usually contains gin, vodka, rum or other alcohols, in addition to real tea and/or fruits. Shaved iced bubble tea is made with black tapioca pearls and milk tea shaved ice.
What does boba tea taste like?
Every boba tea will have a different flavor. Typically, it will taste sweet, unless you decide to make it at home without adding a sweetener. Traditional boba tea will usually have a black tea base. It will taste similar to regular milk tea. Fruity bubble tea will taste as a fruit smoothie.
Most Popular Boba Tea Flavors
- Brown sugar flavor – brown sugar flavor is one of the most popular bubble tea flavors, and the most classical one. It’s made with brown sugar and brown-sugar flavored tapioca pearls soaked in – brown sugar.
- Matcha green tea flavor – Matcha green tea powder often used for making milk teas and lattes. It has a strong green flavor that blends amazingly well with milk.
- Mango flavor – sweet, juicy and often made without the real tea, only with fruit puree.
- Red bean flavor – red bean paste is a must try flavor if you love Asian sweets. Red bean paste is a sweet paste made from adzuki beans. It’s often used for making glutinous rice cakes and pancakes.
- Strawberry flavor – strawberry milk tea can contain strawberry puree or strawberry powder, mixed with milk and black tapioca pearls.
- Hojicha green tea flavor – hojicha is a type of roasted green tea with a unique toasty and strong flavor.
- Taro flavor – taro is a type of sweet starchy root, similar to potato, with an earthy, sweet, vanilla like flavor and purple color. Taro milk tea is made with either taro powder, taro puree, or taro chunks.
- Honeydew flavor – honeydew is a very popular flavoring for fruity bubble tea. It contains either pure honeydew puree made from fresh melon or honeydew puree and green tea.
- Jasmine flavor – jasmine flavored boba tea is usually contains Jasmine green tea. It’s one of the most popular floral boba tea flavors.
Most Unique Milk Tea Flavors
When talking about boba milk tea, the imagination is limitless. You can make it with almost any type of real tea, any type of fruit, almost any type of herbal tea, different syrups and even alcohol. Some of the most unique boba flavors include:
- Butterfly pea flower milk tea
- Crème brûlée milk tea
- Avocado milk tea
- Cookies and cream milk tea
- Lavender milk tea
- Kashmiri chai milk tea
- Peppermint milk tea
Best Bubble Tea Flavors for Newbies
If you are completely new to bubble tea, start with the traditional flavors. Assam or Ceylon black tea is a great base for making a traditional boba tea. Mix it with cow’s milk or condensed milk, honeyed black tapioca pearls and top up with ice. The best fruity boba tea to try is mango or strawberry. You can use almost any flavored bubble tea you want. If you don’t have fresh ingredients, try flavoring your regular milk bubble tea with green or black tea base with fruit syrups or powders. For example, coconut, pineapple, lemon, peach, passion fruit, raspberry or vanilla. There are hundreds of boba tea recipes available to experiment.
Want to try making your own boba drink? Try this recipe.