The world of boba tea can seem vast and complicated, particularly because of the sheer number of different types and flavors that are available.
If you’re just starting to get into the magical and slightly mysterious world of boba then you’re probably wondering: what are the best boba tea flavors?
The best of the different flavors that you will find at your local boba shops will always come down to personal preference. There are types and tastes to suit everybody.
From the most popular, simple flavors, like black tea or green milk tea, to fruity innovations like passionfruit or strawberry, you are certain to find something you like.
If you’re excited to explore all of the flavors that boba tea has to offer, then this is the article for you. Read on to find out all about this incredible drink sensation, and all of the best flavors that people are loving right now with these unique beverages.
New to boba tea? Start with How To Drink Boba Tea: Everything You Were Afraid To Ask!
What Is Boba Tea?
Before we get into all the different types and flavors that you can choose from, we should answer a simple question: What exactly is boba tea?
Boba tea, otherwise known as “bubble tea” is a tea-based drink that originated in Taiwan. There are many different boba drinks out there, but they most commonly consist of tea and tapioca balls.
The balls (otherwise known as “boba” or “pearls”) are where the drink gets its name – they sit at the bottom of the cup, and are chewy and delicious!
Where Does Boba Tea Come From?
Although it has seen massive growth in global popularity over the last 10 years, the drink was actually invented in the 1980s, though exactly how it came to be is still debated.
There are two origin stories for this fascinating drink, and no one is quite sure exactly which one is truly the first.
The Chun Shui Tang tea room in Taichung is one place that claims to have created the first boba tea. The company’s product development manager, Lin Hsiu Hui says that she came up with the idea in 1988 when she poured tapioca balls from her dessert into her tea during a meeting.
The Hanlin Tea Room in Tainan is the other claimant to the discovery. They say that their teahouse owner, Tu Tsong-he, came up with the idea after seeing white tapioca balls in the local market and adding them to their teas, naming it “pearl tea”.
What Does Boba Tea Taste Like?
If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying some boba tea yourself, it’s quite hard to describe what it tastes like. There are so many different flavors that it can come in, and even the balls themselves aren’t always the same.
Traditional bubble tea is sweet and milky, with the added texture of the chewy tapioca pearls to give it a completely different mouthfeel than most beverages.
Boba tea does, however, come in many different varieties, and they are all distinct in their own ways.
Types Of Boba Tea
There is an almost endless selection of bubble tea flavors out there and new flavors are coming out all the time. It’s all about mixing and experimenting with different tea bases, flavors, sweeteners, and toppings.
Even the boba themselves can come in jelly form, or as fruit-based popping balls, as well as the traditional tapioca.
You can have boba tea with or without milk, and it can be served hot or cold – basically, nothing is off-limits!
Although the possibilities are almost infinite, there are some common types that you are most likely to see in bubble tea shops.
- Traditional Teas: Traditional bubble tea is generally made with a simple tea base and chewy tapioca balls. These drinks contain different types of tea. Most often, black tea, green tea, Thai tea, or oolong tea will be the base.
- Milk Teas: Boba tea with milk is the creamier version. Although classic milk tea is traditionally made with powdered milk or fresh dairy milk, you can also use alternatives like coconut milk, non-dairy creamer, almond, soy, and oat milk.
- Fruit Teas: This slightly more modern twist on the traditional recipe has a sweet, fruity flavor. The amazing fruit flavors are brought into the tea with fruit juice, or even fresh fruit or fruit purees, as well as the traditional boba, tea, and sometimes milk.
- Lattes: Another innovation in the world of boba beverages is the boba latte. This version includes coffee as well, for a very different flavor.
- Cheese Teas: You’ve probably not heard of this one before, and its name is certainly bizarre. Cheese tea is a new innovation in the boba world, and it is topped with cheese foam. This is a foamy layer of milk and cream cheese that adds a savory finish to the traditional beverage.
Most Popular Boba Tea Flavors
Now that we know the basics of boba tea and some of the many options that are out there, let’s talk about some of the most popular flavors that you can taste. There are so many for you to try! On the menu, you might find:
Pearl Milk Tea
Don’t get too confused by the terms that you might see on a menu: boba tea, bubble tea, and pearl milk tea are all essentially just different names for the same thing.
The traditional bubble tea flavor is a simple black tea. It is versatile and refreshing, and it pairs very well with soy milk.
Black Milk Tea
The addition of milk makes your boba tea much more creamy and mellow, and there are all kinds of milk options to choose from.
Matcha Green Milk Tea
Matcha milk tea has become one of the most popular bubble tea flavors in bubble tea shops. It has mellow, savory notes, that are often described as grassy or nutty. Pearly has a great Matcha Milk Tea kit to make affordable, delicious tea at home.
Jasmine Green Milk Tea
If you’re looking for a hint of something floral, Jasmine green milk tea has the fragrant aroma of jasmine blossoms. This option is great for pairing with almond milk.
Hojicha Green Milk Tea
Another interesting green tea option that has become very popular is Hojicha. The leaves for this tea are roasted at a high temperature, giving a naturally smoky but sweet flavor.
A classic tea base for boba is Oolong, which is a fresh and bright alternative to traditional black tea. Oolong boba tea is delicious with oat milk.
Thai Milk Tea
If you’re after a bit of spice, Thai milk tea might be right for you. This tea is made with star anise, so it is both floral and spicy. Check out this DIY Thai Milk Tea kit for more info on this flavor.
For something tropical and refreshing, passion fruit tea is a great choice. It is sweet and tangy, and it is often made with a bit of lime juice.
Strawberry Milk Tea
Strawberry milk tea is gentle, sweet, and fruity. The flavor of the tea itself is usually not very strong, and it almost looks like a strawberry milkshake.
Red Bean Tea
This version is made using a red bean paste-infused tea, and it is sweet, creamy, and earthy. It has a bit more texture to it than most boba tea, and it’s high in fiber.
Lychee Milk Tea
Lychee is a sweet, smooth, and fragrant tea. The flavor is almost like that of a grape, but with a little more intensity.
Taro Milk Tea
Taro is a starchy Asian root vegetable, and it adds a bit of texture as well as flavor to boba tea. Taro bubble tea has a sweet, almost vanilla-like taste that could be compared to a sweet potato. If you’re looking to make taro boba tea at home, Pearly has a great DIY taro milk tea kit.
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
This version of boba tea doesn’t actually contain any tea at all. It is made from brown sugar syrup, milk, and tapioca pearls for a smoky, caramel flavor.
Honeydew Boba Tea
Perhaps the ultimate refreshing boba flavor is honeydew melon. It is sweet and fragrant, and it feels energizing to drink.
Best Bubble Tea Flavors For Beginners
If you’re just getting started in the boba tea world, then the variety of flavors out there might seem overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve put together some of the best bubble tea flavors for beginners to help you get started on your boba journey!
Strawberry Milk Tea
Perfect for kids and an instant hit for grown-ups too, strawberry milk tea has a beautiful pink color and a sweet, fruity flavor.
Taro Root Tea
Matcha Bubble Tea
A great way to introduce yourself to green tea boba, matcha milk tea is a bit stronger than some other options and it can be made smoother with milk. It also has a fun green color.
One of the most popular flavors that you can find, honeydew bubble tea is sweet, fruity, and refreshing. It is often made with green tea and it is a great choice for first-time drinkers.
Mango Milk Tea
For people that love a fruity taste, mango boba is almost more like a juice than a tea. In fact, this sweet beverage is often made without using any tea at all.
If you want to get yourself into boba tea with a familiar flavor, you can’t go wrong with coffee. It’s a great pick-me-up, with all of the creamy texture of a latte.
Red Bean Tea
If you enjoy sweet Asian treats, then you will probably be familiar with the wonderful flavor of red bean paste. This is a great way to try a boba tea with a bit more texture and thickness.
Black Milk Tea
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a classic. It is straightforward and simple, with flavors of black tea, milk, and tapioca pearls, and it is perhaps the most essential boba tea for a beginner to try.
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FAQs aBOUT bOBA tEA
What is the best boba tea flavor?
The best boba tea flavor is always going to be a matter of personal preference. Let your taste buds be the guide!
What is the most popular boba tea flavor?
This is a highly debated topic. The answer will also depend on who you ask. For example, boba fans in the United States and Asian countries often have very different flavor preferences.
What flavors go well with boba?
Many people enjoy sweet, fruity flavors with their boba, like strawberry or melon, but earthy and slightly savory flavors can be a great combination as well.
What is the sweetest boba flavor?
The sweetest boba flavor is probably brown sugar boba, as this often doesn’t even contain tea. The main flavor comes from brown sugar syrup, and it doesn’t really get sweeter than that!
How do you drink boba tea?
You can drink boba tea however you want, although most people use a thick straw. The straw that you usually get with boba tea is wide enough for you to sip the tapioca pearls directly through it, so you can enjoy the chewy texture while you drink.
There you have it, some great ideas for the best boba tea flavors to try! Boba tea has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are endless flavor combinations to explore.
Whether you like your tea sweet or tart or tasting like coffee, there’s a boba tea flavor out there for you. So next time you’re craving something refreshing, remember to give one of these delicious flavors a try.