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Bubble Tea Flavours: Milky and Pearly Goodness

2021-09-10   ◆   3 minutes read

Have you heard of bubble tea, or boba? If you haven’t, you came to the right place! This milky and pearly drink grew popular in recent years and won over many hearts. This Taiwanese beverage comes in different bubble tea flavours and toppings. Every drink is unique on its own. But don’t worry, we will guide you through it all!

Brown Sugar Milk Tea with tapioca pearls
Brown Sugar Milk Tea with different toppings from Presotea.

The Different Bubble Tea Flavours

Bubble tea comes in different flavours, whether it be milk, tea and even smoothies. The Dessert Advisor team will walk you through the various drinks a boba store has to offer.

  • Classic Milk Tea: This is a combination of tea and brewed milk. The tea flavours have different options, ranging from oolong to thai tea. It is suitable for every palette. Most boba shops offer alternatives for dairy, such as soy, almond and oat milk. This is the staple drink found in every bubble tea shop.
  • Black Tea: This is a drink made with brewed tea. In this section of the menu, you can find fresh tea. For those who are not a fan of dairy, this is the beverage for you! It’s light, fresh, and lactose-friendly. 
  • Smoothies/Milkshake: This type of drink is a great way to introduce your palette to bubble teas. They use fruits and dairy to prepare a flavoursome beverage. 
Refreshing Strawberry Slush with fresh fruit from MeetFresh
  • Fresh Fruit Tea: If you’re not a fan of tea or dairy, this is the perfect option for you! This drink uses fresh fruit ingredients that, either seasonal or concentrated. 
  • Salted Cream: This is typically known as “salted foam-tea”. This is a new innovation at most bubble tea shops. It highlights a sweet and salty foam found on the upper layer of the drink. The foam is made with Himalayan salt, cream cheese or sea salt.

As we speak, new bubble tea flavours are constantly created. With it’s skyrocketing popularity, boba shop owners are always looking for new ideas. The competition between them helped develop the variety of boba tea flavours today.

How to Order Bubble Tea

Now that you’re well acquainted with all of the bubble tea flavours, let’s take a look on how to order your drink. The process of ordering boba can be daunting, but it’s a lot easier than you think! Here’s how to proceed:

  1. Determine the size of your drink: Drink sizes ranged from small to large.
  2. Choose the tea: Most shops offer green, black, jasmine, thai and oolong tea.
  3. Choose the flavour: This depends on the selection of flavours at each tea shop on their menu.
  4. Choose the type of milk: Usually, they use regular milk, but if you’re lactose-intolerant or vegan, they offer alternatives.
  5. Choose your toppings (boba): The regular topping is tapioca, but each shop has their own selection.
  6. Choose the percentage of sweetness and ice: They range from 0 to 100%. If you don’t choose, they will keep it at 100%.

At most bubble tea shops, their menu offers a wide variety of signature drinks, each under their own category of bubble tea flavours. Of course, your drink is always customizable, so don’t be afraid to switch it up to your own taste!

Watermelon Smoothie from Gong Cha Tea

The Origins of Bubble Tea

Now you know the common bubble tea flavours and how to order a bubble tea. But do you know it’s origin? Let’s dive in. The tea industry in Taiwan began in the 17th century when Chinese immigrants introduced tea houses. The rise of bubble tea, or boba, culture originated in the 1980’s. The birth of this milky drink is difficult to pinpoint. At that time, two bubble tea shops served it simultaneously. 

  • Chun Shui Tang Teahouse in Taizhong: The tea house is located in the middle of Taiwan. The owner, Ms. Lin Hsiu Hui, brewed up the idea of putting black tapioca balls inside her milk tea on a hot summer day. After sharing the drink with her colleagues, they began to sell the innovative drink at their tea shop. 
Bubble Tea Flavours Blog Image. Image du blog thé aux perles.
Delicious and creamy milk tea with tapioca and red bean balls from Yifang
  • Hanlin Tea House in Tainan:  The tea house is located in Southern Taiwan. The owner, Tu Tsong-He, also added tapioca balls to his milky beverage. The whiteness of the tapioca balls looked similar to a pearl. The similarity between the two birthed the name of “pearly milk tea”. However, Mr. Tsong-He decided to use black tapioca balls by adding brown sugar in the drink.

There is no clear conclusion between the two shops. However, in an interview with Asian Boss, Ms. Lin Hsui Hui stated that their shop sold bubble tea before Tu Tsong-He. Regardless of the dispute between the exact origins of bubble tea, she highlights that they are both leaders in the boba industry.

What is Bubble Tea?

The “bubble” in bubble tea refers to the actual milk found in the beverage. Originally, it was made without adding tapioca balls. The preparation includes two ingredients: milk and tea. During the process, it is shaken either by hand or by a machine. Once shaken, foamy cream rises to the top of the beverage creating a layer of bubbles. So, the term “bubble tea” was created. 

Matcha Milk Tea Latte from Thé Moon

Now you may ask, why do we call “bubble tea” as “boba”? Is there a difference? The answer is, yes! Actually, “boba” refers to the tapioca balls, or any toppings, added to the drink. But, in all honesty, bubble tea and boba are just different names for the same drink. It comes down to personal preference! 

Various bubble tea flavours from Swee Tea House

The world of bubble tea is an amazing place. We hope that you fall in love with all of the bubble tea flavours as much as we have!

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