Have you ever seen people walking around with multicolored drinks that are full of little round tapioca balls? These delicious concoctions are a Taiwanese invention known as bubble tea, and they’ve been around making mouths happy for the last forty years.
Below you’ll find a list of the 12 most popular flavors for bubble tea in the world. The flavors of bubble tea vary wildly, and there are lots of different sweeteners, syrups, fresh fruit, and fruit juice you can add to them. Check out a few varieties and see if this cool, creamy beverage is a good match for you!
What Is Bubble Tea?
Bubble tea, also known as boba milk tea, pearl milk tea, Thai tea, and many other different names, originated in Taiwan at bubble tea shops. In recent years it’s has spread to the United States, North America, and the entire world as a popular tea-time beverage.
This drink is so popular across Asia that many enthusiasts carry around a special boba tea mug with them in a sling to get their favorite.
Another great thing about bubble tea is that it comes in a wide variety of different flavors. This makes it a fun beverage if you enjoy swapping up your caffeine options rather than drinking the same thing every day. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the best boba tea flavors on the market.
Taro Milk Bubble Tea
If you’ve ever seen someone drinking a purple-colored boba milk tea, chances are they were drinking taro milk tea. Taro is an Asian tuber with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that goes well with milk tea. If you’ve ever eaten a sweet potato, the flavor of taro is quite similar. Taro is naturally white, so this drink is usually dyed purple to help identify its flavor.
Along with being delicious, taro root is also associated with the following health benefits:
- Improved digestion and intestinal health
- Stable blood sugar health
- Weight loss
Iced Thai Milk Bubble Tea
Along with Taiwan, Thailand has been quick to adopt bubble tea as a popular street beverage since its introduction in the 1980s. Iced Thai milk tea is recognizable for its bright pastel orange color and is a black tea infused with several different aromatic spices, such as:
- Star anise
- Masala chai
The sweet flavor of condensed milk and spices in Thai iced tea makes it a popular perennial bubble tea favorite, especially in warm climates and in places that serve spicy food.
Matcha Milk Bubble Tea
Matcha milk bubble tea is Japan’s contribution to the bubble tea craze, and this version of bubble tea involves a creamy green tea base with a beautiful bright lime-green coloring. It’s important to keep in mind that when you’re making matcha milk bubble tea at home, the quality of the matcha you use will make a big difference in the final results.
Along with its delicious green tea flavor, matcha milk bubble teas are also visually impressive when they’re layered since they have a dark brown layer of boba pearls in the bottom, a creamy white middle, and a bright green top.
Honeydew Milk Bubble Tea
Honeydew melon might seem like an odd flavor to pair with bubble tea, but the unique fusion of fresh melon and creamy tea is a winning combination. Honeydew is a musk melon similar to cantaloupe in flavor and texture, but it is a pale green color rather than orange. Honeydew milk bubble tea has a similar pale sage green color to a mixed matcha bubble tea.
Honeydew melon milk bubble tea might have a great taste, but it also has some surprising health benefits too. Honeydew melon is associated with the following numerous health benefits:
- Strengthens hair, teeth, and bone
- Rich source of Vitamin C, potassium, and other vital nutrients
- Hydrating and cooling effect on the body in hot weather
Tiger Milk Bubble Tea
Tiger milk tea is a caramel-flavored bubble tea named for the stripes that develop in this drink when it is layered with a brown sugar syrup. Although tiger milk tea is called tea, it actually doesn’t contain any tea.
Tiger milk tea is just a combination of milk and brown sugar, so it’s great for people who want to drink bubble tea without any caffeine.
Mango Milk Bubble Tea
Mango milk tea has a wonderful tropical flavor that is perfect for hot summer days, and it’s simple to make yourself if you don’t want to purchase it in a shop. All you need is the following ingredients:
- Black tea
- Boba pearls
- Mango nectar
- Cream, condensed milk, or regular milk
If you want to start making your own bubble tea, mango milk tea is a great place to start. Check out this simple recipe over at Sprinkle Bakes.
Black Milk Bubble Tea
If you don’t like a bunch of odd flavors in your bubble tea, there’s always the option to get a plain old-fashioned black milk bubble tea. This bubble tea is slightly less sweet than many other types of bubble tea and will just have a basic creamy tea flavor, so it’s perfect if you’ve never tried bubble tea before and you want to start with something simple.
Strawberry Milk Bubble Tea
With its beautiful pastel pink shade combined with a layer of dark boba pearls, strawberry milk bubble tea is one of the most colorful bubble teas you can find in a tea shop or stand.
Strawberry milk bubble tea is created by combining black or green tea with strawberry milk and boba pearls.
Like other types of bubble tea, strawberry milk tea is sweetened with simple syrup. You can also add a strawberry syrup to add an even stronger strawberry flavor to your drink.
Almond Milk Bubble Tea
Almond milk bubble teas are the perfect choice for people who want to indulge in bubble milk tea, but don’t want to drink anything that has actual dairy in it. In almond milk bubble tea, almond milk is used instead and combined with boba pearls, black tea, and sweeteners.
Another advantage of almond milk bubble tea is that it’s vegan. Even if you’re avoiding animal products altogether, you can still enjoy some delicious boba.
Coffee Milk Bubble Tea
If black, green, and oolong tea alone don’t have enough caffeine to get you through the workday (or you just don’t like the flavor of them) a coffee milk flavored bubble tea can give you an extra energy boost to pull you through your afternoon slump. Black tapioca pearls can add a nice chewy layer to any iced tea coffee drink.
This type of tea is also known as Hong Kong milk tea. This popular drink is made of strong black tea, brewed coffee, chewy tapioca pearls, and fresh milk.
Popping Boba Tea
Instead of boba pearl tea made with tapioca starch, popping boba tea is made up of little spheres filled with fruit juice that “pop” when you bite them. It’s a fascinating process that’s a bit like a science experiment.
You can get all the ingredients online, so if you want to try to make your own fruit bubble tea, check out my DIY popping boba recipe.
Brown Sugar Boba Tea
Also called brown sugar milk tea, this classic boba milk tea uses boba balls that have been soaked in a brown sugar syrup. It has a richer, almost caramel flavor that is my favorite sweet treat. Brown sugar syrup is easy to make and keep on hand in your refrigerator.
What Other Things Can Be Added to Bubble Tea?
Most boba shops have an almost infinite number of combinations you can choose from to surprise and delight your taste buds. It can seem overwhelming, but boba tea shops need to know your personal preference for five things you usually have to choose when you place your order.
- Type of tea
- Type of milk
- Milk tea toppings
- Sweetness level
- Amount of ice
Types of Tea in Bubble Tea
Pretty much the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing your tea type. Here are popular types, but this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list.
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- Herbal teas
- Jasmine tea
- Earl Grey tea (another type of black tea with bergamot)
- White tea
- Chai tea
- Fruit tea
- Decaffeinated tea
Types of Milk in Boba Milk Tea
Whether you want a splash of milk, or milk as the star of your drink, here’s another choice you’ll have to make when you order off bubble tea menus:
- Whole milk
- Reduced fat milk
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Oat milk
- Soy milk
- Non-dairy creamer
- Oat milk
- Chocolate milk
- Strawberry milk
- Whipped cream
- Ice cream (makes a extra creamy, decadent milk tea)
- Milk powder
- Condensed milk
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Other plant based milks
Toppings for Boba Tea Lovers
Once you’ve tried regular black tapioca pearls in your milk tea, you can mix things up with these other toppings and mix ins:
- Fruit juice
- Fresh fruit
- Cassava root
- Red bean paste from red beans
- Grass jelly, lychee jelly, coconut jelly,
- Fruit syrups
- Aloe vera
- Taro balls
- White tapioca pearls
- Honey infused boba
- Sweet potato balls
- Popping boba
- Chia seeds
Sweetness Level for Milk Tea Recipes
This one is probably the easiest to choose. Many tea shops use a percentage scale when they refer to sweetness. You can adjust the drink to match your own personal sweet tooth. Here are some levels to look out for:
- 100% sweet (“normal” sweetness based on the recipe)
- 50% sweet (half the normal sweetener)
- 0% sweet (no sugar added)
Amount of Ice
The final decision you’ll have to make regards the number of ice cubes used in your drink. You an order the regular amount of ice, or opt for light ice, half ice, or even no ice.
If you tend to drink your bubble tea slowly, choosing less ice will keep your drink from diluting too much before you finish it.
Bubble Teas Have a Flavor for Everyone
Whether you like your bubble tea super sweet or a little more on the smooth side, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. If you don’t like the first bubble tea you try, be sure to experiment with some different types to see if you can find your favorite!