How To Drink Boba Tea: Everything You Were Afraid To Ask!

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If you’ve never tried boba tea before, or aren’t sure exactly how you’re supposed to drink it, don’t worry! Maybe you’re wondering what exactly is boba tea and more importantly, how do I drink it?!

In this article, we’ll cover all the boba basics by answering some common questions like what it tastes like, what are the best bubble tea flavors and how to drink boba tea.

Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a delicious Taiwanese drink consisting of a tea base, sweeteners and chewy tapioca balls. Adding chewy tapioca pearls, or boba balls, at the bottom of boba drinks provides a unique drinking experience. 

You can order or make bubble tea in many different flavors, including the popular flavors of green and black tea. There are also fruity flavors like strawberry and mango. Taro tea (the pretty purple boba tea) and brown sugar tea are other top boba choices.

How To Drink Boba Tea Pin

What Is Boba Tea?

In its simplest form, boba tea is a beverage made with tea, tapioca balls and sometimes sweetener. When milk or cream is added, the drink is often called milk tea.

This delicious drink goes by many different names including bubble tea, pearl milk tea, boba milk tea, bubble milk tea, pearl tea, tapioca tea and even kung fu tea.

This popular drink can be served chilled or hot, depending on preference. It comes in an endless variety of flavors, making it easy to please any palate.

Thanks in part to the popularity of this drink trend on social media, hundreds of different boba tea shops and bubble tea cafes now exist in the United States. It’s also easy and fun to make homemade bubble tea.

If you’re looking for great boba tea to make at home, we recommend checking out a company called Pearly. The offer super easy bubble tea kits and accessories like boba glasses, wide straws and ice cube trays.

Anatomy Of Bubble Tea Pin

What Does Boba Tea Taste Like?

The short answer is “It depends!” One of the reasons people love bubble tea so much is because there are so many flavor combinations. Here are a few types of this beloved drink that you will find in a bubble tea shop.

Traditional Boba Teas

Classic bubble tea is generally made with a simple tea base and chewy tapioca balls in the bottom of the cup. These drinks can be made with different types of tea including black tea, green tea, Thai tea, or oolong tea.

If it’s your first time trying this type of tea, your best bet is to pick a tea flavor you enjoy and are familiar with. You can also add sugar or another sweetener like brown sugar syrup.

Boba Milk Teas

Boba tea with milk is similar to classic boba, but has milk added for a creamier taste.

Classic milk bubble tea is traditionally made with powdered milk or fresh milk. But you can definitely use any type of milk you enjoy like coconut milk, non-dairy creamer, almond, soy milk, and oat milk.

Bubble Fruit Teas

Boba fruit teas offer another twist with a deliciously sweet, fruit flavor from fruit juice, fresh fruit or even fruit purees. Strawberry, passion fruit, mango and honeydew are a few popular fruit teas.

Coffe Boba And Boba Lattes

If you enjoy coffee, you may want to give a boba latte a try. The base of this drink can be regular coffee or cold brew. When served cold with ice, many people find it similar to an iced coffee.

Cheese Boba Teas 

Cheese teas are less common but definitely unique. This boba tea is topped with cheese foam which is basically a foamy layer of milk and cream cheese that adds a savory finish.

When ordering at boba shops or making your tea at home, have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations. You can play around with ingredients and sugar content. You can also try a variety of toppings like grass jelly or aloe vera. Also, try making hot and cold tea.

Related: 25+ Boba Tea Recipes

How To Drink Boba Tea Feature

How To Drink Boba Tea

Bubble tea can look a little intimidating, but don’t let that stop you! You drink boba tea the same way as any other drink, except you’ll notice at the bottom there are little boba balls that often look like dark pearls.

These black tapioca pearls (or crystal boba) have a chewy texture that adds a fun element to your drinking experience.

Below we’ll cover some basics to get you on your way toward becoming a boba master!

Decide On Your Flavor

The first step in your boba journey is deciding between the many different flavors of boba tea. There are literally hundreds, many even thousands, of delicious flavors which can make it challenging to choose the best boba tea flavors. The endless combinations are what keep people coming back for more with this drink!

Use A Wide Boba Straw

Without a wide boba straw, it’s pretty tough to enjoy the boba pearls at the bottom of your drink. For that reason, boba teas are served with fat straws with an angled end that is wide enough to suck up the boba balls.

Just sip your drink and suck the chewy tapioca bubbles from the bottom of your cup. When you get a tapioca pearl in your mouth, just chew it up and swallow!

Chew The Boba

Once you’ve sucked the chewy boba bubbles from the bottom of your cup, gently chew them. You might notice them pop or they might feel like jelly between your teeth as you chew them. 

The more you chew your boba pearls, the easier you can swallow and digest them. Chewing on flavored boba pearls also releases even more great taste into your boba tea.


Now that you’ve learned how to drink delicious bubble tea, it is time to enjoy! Experiment with different flavors and try new boba recipes.

You can also experiment by trying different sugar levels, including sugar-free beverages, adding your own sugars, and using only natural sugars. 

Once you find flavors you enjoy, try going to different boba tea shops. Bubble tea shops were invented in Taiwan but began spreading into America in the early 90s. Boba shops are extremely popular now, so it should not be difficult to find a boba tea store near you.

You can also try making your own bubble tea at home. Bubble tea is surprisingly easy to make and you only need a few ingredients. Making your own is a lot of fun and it will definitely save you money. Pearly boba tea kits are a great option to get started with making bubble tea at home.

Bubble Tea Cup In City

Frequently Asked Questions About Boba Tea

How Do You Properly Drink Boba?

To properly drink boba tea, you must use a large boba tea straw. These straws assist you in sucking up the tapioca balls from the bottom of your drink.

Sip them through the straw and then chew them in your mouth before swallowing them with your drink. Depending on personal preference, you can drink boba tea, either hot or cold.

Do You Drink Boba With A Straw?

You should drink bubble tea with a large straw because it helps you get all parts of the tea, including the juices and boba pearls. The large straws help you suck the large tapioca pearls into your mouth so you can easily chew them.

Without a straw, it is hard to get to all the delicious chewy pearls that hang out at the bottom of the drink. The straw also helps mix your bubble tea by stirring it, preventing it from separating into layers.

How Do You Drink Boba Without A Straw?

If for some reason, you didn’t get a straw with your tea, you can still drink boba without a straw by sipping it. However, drinking boba tea without a straw can be a little harder because all the yummy boba pearls are at the bottom.

Most people love to chew these boba pearls while drinking the rest of their tea. It creates a delicious and full flavor experience.

However, some people prefer to drink warm boba tea without straws to make the experience more like drinking a hot cup of coffee or tea. Drinking cold milk or fruit boba tea with a straw can be similar to enjoying a smoothie or milkshake. 

Tapioca Pearl or Boba Balls For Bubble Tea

What Do You Do With The Balls In Boba tea?

The small spheres in boba tea are boba balls or boba pearls. They are most typically made from tapioca starch that comes from the cassava root. They come in many colors and flavors. They are a delicious part of your tea that distinguishes them from other teas.

Using a large, wide straw, you will be able to suck up the pearls in the tea, then chew and swallow them. If you do not like the flavor or consistency of the tapioca balls in your boba tea, you can ask your barista to skip them.

Are You Supposed To Shake Bubble Tea?

You typically do not need to skip bubble tea after your barista creates it for you. Bubble tea should be ready to consume when it is given to you.

Store-bought bubble tea that is sealed might need to be shaken if it’s been sitting for a little while to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.

If you’re making bubble tea at home, most recipes will advise you to blend, shake or stir vigorously to combine all the ingredients.

Are Boba Balls Edible?

Yes, the tapioca balls at the bottom of your boba tea are absolutely edible. They are incredibly delicious and are one of the best parts of drinking boba tea.

It is important that you chew your boba balls entirely before swallowing them, or you could get an upset stomach.

Do You Chew Or Swallow Boba?

You should always chew your boba pearls when drinking your bubble tea. Chewing your boba pearls is the best way to help your body digest them and unlock the delicious flavors of the boba pearls.

Swallowing too many boba pearls whole may cause an upset stomach. It could also be a choking hazard for kids or people who have difficulty swallowing.

What Happens If You Swallow Boba Whole?

It’s a good idea to chew boba balls before swallowing. However, if you happen to swallow a couple of whole boba balls, you’ll probably be ok.

Chewing helps your body digest the tapioca pearls faster and more easily. A couple of other good reasons to chew the pearls are that it releases even more flavor and it’s just fun!

Can Kids Drink Boba?

People of all ages, including children, can drink boba tea. There are flavors for everyone to enjoy. Just be sure to share these tips about how to drink boba tea with your kids so they can have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Fruit juice-based boba tea is a great option for young children because they taste sweet and don’t have caffeine like tea-based bubble tea. It’s also important to note that many boba tea flavors contain a lot of sugar which may not be ideal for kids.

Some children may need time to adjust to the strange, new texture and taste of tapioca pearls. Introduce your children to flavors of boba tea that you know they already enjoy like strawberry or brown sugar. Get more ideas on flavors for beginners.                           

As you’ve learned, boba tea is a delicious and refreshing treat that can be enjoyed in many different ways. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy boba tea with confidence!

So next time you’re craving something sweet, try making your own boba tea at home or head to your nearest boba tea shop and enjoy a cup of this delicious drink.

Meet Micky Reed, your go-to snack expert and creator of The Three Snackateers—a hub for all the best sweets and treats to make, try, and buy. From whipping up collaborations with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's to being featured on Delish and PopSugar, Micky's delicious adventures are causing a stir in the foodie world. You can find Micky on IG and Pinterest.