Two of our founders in the USA are often found slurping away at a tall cup of milky looking tea filled with these little black floating spheres while we have our business meetings...we try to ignore them but eventually we decided to ask what in the world they were eating.
"It's Boba!" they exclaimed happily while we stared blankly at them. Being the culinary researcher in our midst I decided to look into this. There are not a lot of places in Italy that serve this Boba Tea, otherwise known as "Bubble Tea".
WHERE IS BOBA TEA FROM?
This drink originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. Originally, boba pearls were used in shaved ice desserts and paired with syrups, beans, and yummy, chewy rice balls. They began to make their way over to the USA around the 90s; although we hadn't heard of it until recently where its popularity began to pick up.
WHAT ARE THOSE LITTLE BALLS?
Those slippery little spheres hanging out at the bottom of your Bubble Tea are actually made from tapioca starch, brown sugar syrup, water, potassium sorbate and guar gum. They are processed together to form these culinary treats. The pearls that end up in your drink can come in many sizes and guess what? They're gluten-free! These pearls themselves don't provide any nutritional value on their own but they make for an entertaining drink.
WHAT FLAVORS CAN I GET?
Now that it has gained massive popularity, Bubble Tea enthusiasts can try a myriad of flavors but the original styles have a base of either green tea, black tea, milk tea, fruity tea or coffee. Some are even fruit smoothies.
IS IT HEALTHY?
Honestly any drink, whether it's from a coffee making mermaid chain or a doughnut cranking world-wide brand, that is loaded with sugar isn't going to be the healthiest. Most Bubble Teas are loaded with sugar syrups to flavor and sweeten the drink plus those little pearls can each add 5 to 14 calories, which means that 1/4 cup of them can add over 100 extra calories to an already sweetened drink. If you're looking for a healthy, less sugary drink, Boba is not for you...but "everything in moderation" we always say.
Here's a great video from Food Insider