What flour does boba use?
Written by a few bubble tea addicts, on Aug 25, 2022
There are quite a few types of boba out there. Regular boba, taro boba, colored boba, etc. We'll go through all of the most popular types of boba to give you an idea of what type of flour they're made with. Before we start, just want to give a shoutout to OneZo (in the image above) for having some of the best selections of boba in the world!
What flour does boba use?
Regular Brown Sugar Boba
Regular boba is made using tapioca starch, which comes from the cassava root plant. Tapioca starch looks like a white powder, which gets mixed with boiling brown sugar to make tapioca flour. From there, the flour is kneaded, cut up into slices, rolled into balls, and boiled until it becomes... boba!
Sage Boba (Source: Spoon University)
Similar to brown sugar boba, Sago boba is made using sago starch. Sago starch is extracted from various tropical palm trees and has the appearance of tiny white balls. These balls are boiled and cooled several times before ultimately becoming Sago boba! No flour is needed in the process.
Most shops that make matcha boba usually make it in a very similar way to Brown Sugar boba. The only difference is when combining tapioca starch and boiled brown sugar, you also add matcha. From there, it's the same process as brown sugar boba, which will yield delicious matcha boba.
Source: Jade Leaf Matcha
Given the texture of taro (sludgy), making taro boba with fresh taro would be very difficult. Instead, most shops replicate the brown sugar boba recipe and just add artificial taro powder to make taro boba flour. From there, the usual steps for making boba are followed to cook the topping.
If you've read the article up until now, you may be disappointed (or relieved by how simple it is). Whether you're looking for mango, strawberry, or some other fruit flavor of boba, the process is pretty much the same. Just like you would for Taro or Matcha boba, you need to add your fruit of choice to a combination of brown sugar and tapioca starch to make a fruit boba flour. You want to make sure the fruit is pureed beforehand (otherwise you'll have chunks of fruit in your boba). From there, you'll follow the standard process for making brown sugar boba to get your finished product!
So is tapioca starch the secret to boba flour?
In most cases... yes. That chewy, doughy flavor we get when we bite into boba, is tapioca starch. It gets processed into boba flour and boiled to ultimately become boba. While there are some exceptions (like sago - some will argue this isn't true boba), most boba you find will be made from tapioca starch/flour. Now that you understand this, you can start to make all sorts of unique boba flavors!