Boba tea is a drink that’s gaining popularity for its Instagram-worthy aesthetic and balanced sweetness. The drinks are topped with tapioca pearls and can be served with a milk-based, fruity or coffee-flavored tea. There are so many different flavors to choose from. But which one should you get? Read on to find out!
Black Milk Tea: Traditional milk tea features black tea leaves or tea bags with brown sugar syrup and tapioca pearls. The chewy balls are made from partially cooked, refined tapioca flour/cassava starch that is gluten-free and flavorless in its natural state. The resulting drink is rich and creamy, with a smooth texture that complements the boba perfectly. The use of whole milk enhances the creaminess, though you can also choose a non-dairy milk alternative for a lighter taste and texture.
Another popular option is strawberry milk tea, which features fruity syrup and juicy lychees. This refreshing drink can be paired with popping boba, which are fruit-flavored tapioca pearls that float in the glass at Beary Boba.
Lychee: Lychee is a tropical fruit with a refreshing sweet-tart flavor. It’s not your typical bubble tea flavor, but it’s a great choice for anyone looking for something different.
The boba arms race continues to escalate with fanciful drinks and virality-primed color combinations. With the sheer number of boba options on offer, it can be difficult to tell the good from the not-so-great. Thankfully, we’ve done the research and rounded up the best boba drinks out there. From classic milk tea to taro, here are our top picks. Enjoy!
Black Sesame: Black sesame seeds are packed with immune-boosting plant compounds and can be sprinkled over salads, noodles, rice dishes like teriyaki or sushi, tofu dishes, desserts, and even on apple slices for a healthy afternoon snack. They’re also commonly used as the outside coating of tasty mochi and are a staple in Japanese furikake. The perfect flavor for boba novices, black milk tea offers the best middle-of-the-road balance of balanced sweetness and chewy tapioca pearls. It’s also the most recognizable boba drink, appearing on menus from Baton Rouge to Rochester.
Honeydew: Often referred to as strawberry milk tea, this beverage offers up a refreshing flavor that is sure to keep you cool. The sweet, juicy strawberries and boba pearls blend together to create a drink that is perfect for any occasion. Possibly the most Instagram-worthy of all the boba flavors, brown sugar has gained tremendous popularity in recent years thanks to its unique tiger stripe pattern and exceptional flavor. Unlike most other bubble teas, brown sugar is creamy and surprisingly filling. Taro is another one of the most popular boba drinks on the market. The cooked purple root vegetable has a natural sweetness that pairs well with both tea and fruit flavors.
Red Bean: The classic boba drink, black milk tea hits all the right middle-of-the-road notes of balanced sweetness and chewy tapioca pearls without getting too dessert-y or rich. The simple combination also makes it ideal for first-time boba drinkers who are still figuring out their palates. It’s no surprise that coffee and boba have become a cafe staple, especially in the U.S. Boba shops are regular hangouts for millennials, and it’s easy to see why: a well-made cup of bubble tea is both refreshing and satisfying. The key is finding a shop with fresh ingredients that are free of additives and preservatives. Look for boba with the right Q factor—the untranslatable rubbery, bouncy texture beloved in Taiwan.
Pumpkin Spice: Pumpkin spice is a classic fall flavor that makes a wonderful addition to any drink. This tasty blend is perfect for tea, lemonades and cocktails! Milk tea is a staple flavor for bubble tea, but it doesn’t sell better than taro. Its popularity stems from its wildly Instagrammable “tiger stripe” pattern and its delicious, creamy flavor. Red bean is a low-sugar alternative to hyper-sweet strawberry and other hyper-flavored drinks, with an earthy richness and subtle sweetness that’s balanced by a hint of nuttiness. It’s also a great drink to get a feel for boba tea without going overboard. This is also a great choice for anyone who loves the texture of squishy tapioca pearls.
Coffee & Tea: The tea slingers at this downtown Orlando shop offer a selection of premium teas and snacks. Try their wild chrysanthemum herbal blend and a side of their signature pineapple Linzer cookies.
The Beary Boba has swelled to such a degree that it’s now the unofficial ambassador of Taiwanese culture. It’s a global phenomenon, as evidenced by the countless Instagram-ready drink options that feature everything from outrageous flavors to virality-primed colors and toppings. But amidst the chaos, there are some rules that all boba lovers must abide by. Here’s how to do it right. Known in Taiwan as Q, the untranslatable, rubbery consistency is a mark of quality. It’s the one thing that a lot of the new boba places get wrong.
Brown Sugar: This popular bubble tea shop in NYC offers traditional combinations like brown sugar milk tea and more. Their menu also features artisan drinks like the mango on fire, which blends tajin, lime and chamoy into a sweet mango smoothie. This famous drink has taken the Instagram world by storm! It isn’t for the faint of heart, but its luscious flavors and unique aesthetic make it worth the experience. This popular drink is made from a milk base with caramelized brown sugar syrup and black tapioca pearls. The tapioca is cooked right in the syrup, so it’s best to eat it when it’s still warm! The recipe is simple and can be made in just 5 minutes.