Over the past few years, boba shops have been popping up on just about every corner. What’s the story behind this delicious drink? What are those bubbles, anyway? Here’s the inside scoop on boba, aka bubble tea.

The History of Bubble Tea

Boba started in Taiwan, possibly in Taipei. Milk tea was already a popular drink, and shaved ice and tapioca balls were popular desserts. Although there are several more specific origin stories (which may or may not be true), at some point someone had the genius idea to combine the two, and boba was born.

Photo Credit: Flickr

What is Boba?

The bubbles in boba are tapioca pearls, which are made from cassava starch balls. The term “boba” can refer to the entire drink or to the tapioca balls. The tea base can be made from black or green tea. Next, they add milk, which makes it creamy (or a milk alternative, if you’re lactose intolerant).

Once you’ve chosen your tea and milk base, you can choose from a wide variety of toppings, including:

  • Boba: They’re chewy, delicious, and the classic choice for bubble tea.
  • Pudding: This has more of a custard-like texture.
  • Aloe vera: You already know aloe vera is good for you, now enjoy it in your drink!
  • Taro balls: These are made from taro and are sweetly delicious.

You can play around with different flavor combinations until you find the perfect drink.