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Bubble Tea, Benefits, Nutrition, Ingredients and Facts


Published: 02/11/2013

by Christian News



Bubble Tea, Benefits, Nutrition, Ingredients and Facts

Bubble tea, or boba tea, is a drink originating in Taiwan in the 1980s, characterized by the addition of tapioca or yam starch pearls, or boba. Several varieties of bubble tea are now popular in Asian as well as Western countries. The ingredients of the tea are mixed by shaking the tea which creates foam on its top. This procedure gave it the name 'bubble tea'. Bubble tea is now available around the world, though it remains most popular in areas with significant Asian populations. The original bubble tea contained hot black tea, condensed milk, honey, and cooked tapioca pearls, but today, there are nearly limitless possibilities.


Two Taiwanese tea houses claim to have invented bubble tea: Chun Shui Tang in Taichung City and Hanlin Teahouse in Tainan City. Hanlin Teahouse originally used white tapioca pearls instead of the dark brown variety common today. In any case, bubble tea was wildly popular throughout East and Southeast Asia by the late 1990s, and it soon after spread to the United States, Europe, and Australia.


The tapioca pearls in bubble tea must be boiled for 25 minutes and cooled for another 25, after which they last for about seven hours. Ideally, they are round, soft and translucent on the outside, and a bit chewy in the center. They do not have much flavor on their own, but are usually soaked in a sweet solution. The tapioca pearls in boba are usually at least six millimeters in diameter.


The typical bubble tea house today offers a huge menu of drinks. Bubble tea may be hot or cold, green or black, with condensed milk or flavored powder or syrup. Other boba drinks may not use tea at all, but rather coffee or fruit juice. One recent variant, snow bubble tea, combines shaved ice with boba. The tapioca pearls in bubble tea may be replaced with a variety of ingredients, such as smaller mini-boba, fruit-flavored rainbow boba, green boba flavored with green tea, or sweet cubes of flavored jelly.


Bubble tea, particularly the cold variety, is served with a large, brightly-colored straw to allow the drinker to reach the tapioca pearls. The cup may be covered with a plastic dome lid or sealed with cellophane that the drinker must pierce with the straw. Hot bubble tea is sometimes sipped out of a mug, while the tapioca pearls are accessed with a spoon.


Bubble tea is a pleasure for the eye, the tongue, and the palate, and bubble tea houses are often a pleasant place to take a break from your schedule and relax with friends. With the variety of options on the bubble tea menu today, virtually anybody can find something that appeals to them. While the idea of sweet, chewy spheres in one's drink may seem strange to the uninitiated, most newcomers to boba are pleasantly surprised.


Other names: boba, milk tea, pearl tea, bubble drink, tapioca pearl drink, boba ice tea, boba nai cha, momi milk tea, black pearl tea, and much more.


Bubble Tea Health Benefits

Tea contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that act as antioxidants for disease prevention and treatment of many health-related illnesses. Polyphenols are tea's primary active ingredients, and their health benefits have been documented by numerous scientific studies. Green tea especially has been proven to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure (lowering the risk of heart attacks), aid digestion, fight fatigue, preserve younger-looking skin and promote oral health. Recent animal studies have shown that green tea extracts protect against various cancers.


Bubble Tea Nutrition Facts

Since there exist numerous varieties of bubble tea, bubble tea nutritional facts may vary according to the variety. 

Plain bubble tea contains about 160 calories. When you add milk to it, the calorie count goes up to 230 calories. Moreover, one ounce of tapioca pearls provides 100 calories and if you add 2 to 3 ounces of pearls per cup of tea then the tea becomes a high calorie drink. The hidden calories in bubble tea make it a drink to avoid for those who are thinking of losing weight. Although bubble tea contains less caffeine than coffee, some people may experience restlessness, irritability and sleep disturbances, after drinking the tea.

Actually, a 14 g serving of concentrated black milk tea without pearls contain 40 calories, 1.5 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugar and 1 g protein. But when you add half cup of cooked, dark brown pearls to it, its nutritional value changes substantially. It becomes a high calorie drink that contains 200 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber and 7 g protein.


Bubble Tea Side Effects

Most bubble tea varieties are packed with sugar. An average bubble tea with milk and pearls contains 340 calories. One cup of bubble tea can make you cross the limit of daily sugar intake. Tapioca pearls are rich in starch which in excess can prove to be harmful. They promote weight gain.


Bubble Tea Ingredients and Varieties

Bubble tea mainly contains a tea base which can be made from black tea, green tea or pearl milk tea. The tea base and the ingredients may vary from place to place. Bubble tea can be described as a tea base with fruit or fruit syrup and/or milk. It simply is a shaken or whipped drink. Bubble tea with pearls is nothing but the original Taiwanese shaken or whipped tea with tapioca pearls. The tapioca balls or pears are known as 'boba'. Cooked tapioca pearls are added to the tea at the end. Bubble tea is essentially a sweetly flavored tea. Its ice blended versions are also quite popular. Some varieties contain pearls made of jelly. Some prefer fruit flavored teas while some love milk teas. A hybrid variety, 'fruit milk tea' is also available. Some varieties contain pure, crushed fruit smoothies with pearls while some contain ice cream shakes. Dairy milk/cream or milk substitutes are used to prepare milk teas. Some people enjoy bubble tea with honey, agave, stevia or aspartame. 
The original bubble tea was just a whipped mixture of hot Taiwanese black tea and condensed milk. It contained a little syrup or honey along with a few tapioca pearls. But these days, hundreds of varieties of bubble tea are available as per demand. Cold bubble tea is more popular than the hot one. The original black tea was first replaced by the jasmine-infused green tea. Small tapioca pearls were replaced by big pearls. Colored pearls were then introduced. The color changed according to the fruit. More fruit flavors were introduced, for example, peach or plum flavoring. Now, even coffee is used to make the base of this beverage! A mixture of half black tea and half coffee is also used as the base, for example, in yuanyang from Hong Kong. 

Popular fruit flavors of bubble tea include honeydew, strawberry, jack-fruit, green apple, avocado, passion fruit, mango, lemon, grape, lichee, peach, cantaloupe, banana, coconut, kiwi, watermelon and pineapple. Almond, taro, chocolate, coffee, caramel, mocha, barley, sesame, pudding, ginger, lavender, rose, and violet are the most sought after non-fruit flavors of bubble tea. Different flavors of jellies are used when jelly cubes, stars or strips replace tapioca balls. At some places, aloe, egg pudding, sago, and taro balls are also added to the tea instead of tapioca balls.