Boba tea is definitely having its moment in the spotlight. Originally from Taiwan several decades ago, this trendy drink has become increasingly popular around the world. It is also commonly known as bubble tea, partly due to the bubbles that often form when the ingredients are mixed together, as well as because it is traditionally made with tapioca pearls that look like bubbles.
In its early days, boba tea was typically made using a few simple ingredients which included milk, green or black tea, some type of syrup or flavoring, and the tapioca pearls. As the drink has become more widely known, devotees have put their own creative spins on boba tea flavors, and tea houses, cafes and restaurants now offer a wide range of varieties.
As a result, there are dozens—perhaps even hundreds—of different flavors and styles of bubble tea that you can try. You can also have a drink customized especially for you by choosing a creative combination of milk, tea and flavoring selections. If you want to enjoy boba tea at home, you also have plenty of options thanks to the assortment of “instant boba” kits and packs available at many stores and online retailers. For a quicker and more portable option, you can even buy a range of ready-to-drink boba tea varieties in a can.
Related: 17 Delicious Bubble Tea Recipes
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Best Boba Flavors
Black milk tea
This is arguably the most common and well-known boba flavor. In its most basic form, it is made from a very simple recipe consisting of black tea, milk and those tapioca pearls, mixed with ice. Its simplicity makes it universally appealing. As boba tea has become more popular, black milk tea has evolved and is now often accentuated with other ingredients and flavorings.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you will likely find brown sugar boba irresistible. Thankfully, this instant boba pack from Boba Bam lets you prepare a scrumptious glass of brown sugar boba in about a minute. You can also try this instant brown sugar boba kit from Trader Joe’s.
This variety of boba tea will appeal to the candy lovers, as its flavor has been described as similar to caramel or chocolate. This instant bubble tea set from Apexy on Amazon lets you prepare a glass of taro-flavored boba tea in 45 seconds. If you’re on the go, you can also try this Pocas taro bubble tea in a can.
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Here’s one for the people who struggle to answer the question, “Coffee or tea?” If you just cannot decide between the two, this flavor of boba might be perfect for you. Some people (particularly those who favor the sweeter, fruit-based varieties) find the taste a bit too heavy, but coffee lovers will likely think it is just right. Satisfy your craving for coffee boba tea quickly with instant boba packs from Boba Bam.
Related: What is Cold Brew Coffee?
Thai milk tea
Thai milk tea is another classic option, and as more versions of milk-based tea permeate the mainstream beverage landscape, there’s increasing overlap between this and black milk tea, which can often seem very similar. Before the boba craze started sweeping the globe, this drink was often served without the boba pearls at all, but boba fans now usually expect the boba to be included.
Matcha boba is one form of bubble tea that you will surely want to try. Since matcha is a popular drink that’s also having a moment right now, it makes sense that combining this with boba would let you achieve beverage perfection. If the matcha doesn’t provide a strong enough taste for you, try adding a little extra sugar or other sweet flavorings.
If you love fruit-based smoothies, you should give strawberry boba a try. It is definitely on the sweet side but is also cool and refreshing.
Related: What is Bubble Tea, the Most Instagrammable Drink Ever?
The cool, eye-catching look of this rose bubble tea may get your attention, but the delicious taste will ensure you want to order this drink again and again. The taste is pretty much what you would guess from the name—a sweet, floral essence that will make you feel like you are lounging in a serene garden.
Here’s another one that will appeal to fruit lovers—particularly if you like drinks that are a bit tart and tangy. Check out this Pineapple Boba Drink Mix Powder from Buddha Bubbles on Amazon, or the J WAY Instant Passionfruit Pineapple Green Tea Kit, which includes fruity colorful tapioca boba.
Boba made with mango has a sweet, citrusy taste that makes it a very refreshing treat. This is the perfect summertime drink. You can make your own easily at home with this Mango Boba Drink Mix Powder from Buddha Bubbles that you can get on Amazon.
Lychee is a small fruit with a taste that is often described as floral or citrusy. This is one of the most popular fruit-based boba options because the lychee flavor is light, cool and refreshing without being overwhelming.
Don’t confuse this with watermelon, as they are different foods with very different tastes. Wintermelon (also known as a wax gourd or ash gourd) is a fruit that is commonly used in Asian recipes. It has a subtle (some might say bland) flavor that is frequently compared to that of a cucumber. But don’t let that dissuade you—the way this fruit is prepared when used in tea transforms it into caramelized goodness. Trust us, this is one you’ll want to try.
Next up, learn about the different kinds of tea.