A Guide to Different Types of Boba
Written by a few bubble tea addicts
Boba tea has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years. These days, boba shops are seemingly popping up on every other street corner… and we absolutely love it!
Let’s be honest: if you’re new to boba, it can be hard to figure out what drink to try. There are just SO MANY options… and it can be confusing. That’s why we’ve created a guide to different types of boba to look out for, next time you’re in a shop (or making it at home!)
But before that, here’s a summary of what actually goes into boba, from the liquid base, to the toppings, and more.
What is boba tea? (or, bubble tea?)
Boba tea (or bubble tea) is a flavored tea beverage that’s typically served cold. Most of the time, it’s filled with tasty toppings that vary in texture and flavor.
Although boba was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, it has become an international phenomenon, with thousands of locations across the world. In fact, there are over 3,300 bubble tea shops in the United States alone. If you’re new to boba, we wrote a whole ‘what is boba’ article you should check out!
DIY Boba Tea Kits (shop here)
The different types of boba
There are thousands of variations of boba available in the market. Ranging from different teas to sweeteners and toppings. Read on for a breakdown of what’s in a boba, and to see the most popular types of boba tea.
Tea base (Black tea vs. green tea)
The actual liquid in boba comes in a few different forms.
Milk tea is the most popular liquid base in bubble teas across the globe. The process to make milk tea is quite simple. First, the black tea (typically a very strong variety, like English Breakfast) is steeped. Second, it’s cooled down and combined with milk to add some creaminess. It’s really that simple!
Green tea is the second most popular liquid base. As the name implies, this tea base is just steeped green tea, that’s been cooled down. Most of the time, green tea-based boba does not include milk. Green tea is also a more popular option for fruity flavors (strawberry, passionfruit, etc.).
Hot vs. cold
Many bubble tea shops offer both hot and cold boba. The overwhelming majority of bubble tea is drank cold. But sometimes (especially for those living in colder places), it’s just not practical to buy an iced drink in the dead of winter. A hot boba is definitely an option if you’ve got no other choice!
Sweeteners and flavors
In the culinary world, there are literal MILLIONS of combinations of ingredients and flavors. Bubble tea is no exception. You’ve got tons of options to choose from.
Since boba is a dessert, it’s typically sweetened. The most common sweetener is white or brown sugar. Alternatively, some drinks are sweetened with honey or cane syrup.
On the flavor side, syrups are a popular flavoring option across most boba shops. There’s an endless amount of flavor options (read on for a full list of the most popular boba flavors).
Finally, boba toppings are an equally important component of the drink (read our blog about boba toppings here). Tapioca pearls are the most common topping. But there are also a ton of other options with different flavors and textures. For example red bean, pudding, coconut jelly, grass jelly, cheese foam, and more.
Most popular types of boba
Still having trouble making up your mind? Don't worry, we've been there. Here’s a list of the most popular types of boba drinks. Hope it helps!
- Classic milk tea
- Brown sugar milk tea
- Matcha milk tea
- Taro milk tea
- Strawberry fruit tea
- Passionfruit tea
- Thai milk tea
- Honeydew milk tea
- Lychee tea