Boba Milk Tea Nutritional Values
Boba tea is a popular Asian drink characterized by the tapioca balls at the bottom of the glass. These are edible, sweet gel balls that fit into the larger straws that come with boba tea. Boba tea is also referred to as bubble tea, pearl tea, or Thai milk tea. It’s a popular drink, and boba tea stores can be found in many cities.
Boba tea is a sweetened tea drink originating in Thailand. It is made by mixing tea, milk, sweet flavors (natural or artificial) and a layer of tapioca balls at the bottom of the glass.
It is served cold and comes in many flavors. The base is usually Jasmin or green tea, but earl gray and black tea is also used. Flavors include chocolate, fruit (such as passion fruit, honeydew, mango, strawberry, avocado etc.), coffee, or just plain milk tea.
If you prefer you can get the tea without the tapioca, though that is the main distinguishing feature of the drink. Personally i like the more ‘tea’ flavors instead of the overly sweet fruit or chocolate flavors. My personal favorites include Thai tea flavor, taro, and black milk tea.
There’s a lot of different types of boba tea. There are hundreds of flavors and many different ingredients. However, most boba teas have a few things in come. A tea base, some kind of milk (often artificial or non-dairy cream), flavoring, and tapioca balls.
In terms of nutritional value, let’s start with the ingredient that makes boba tea most distinct: tapioca. Tapioca is a starch that is made from a cassava root. Cassava is a popular root (thing of a large yam) in Asia and Africa. Tapioca is extracted from cassava and is often used to thicken other foods.
Tapioca has very little positive nutritional value. It mostly consists of carbohydrates, lacking protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and even fiber. Basically tapioca is an empty carb.
Tapioca balls found in boba tea contain about 160 calories per glass. This is assuming a glass has about 1/4th cup of tapioca balls. Different boba tea places will have different amounts of tapioca in their drinks.
Tapioca balls are not a good source of anything other than calories and should probably be avoided. If you are looking to gain weight there are plenty of ingredients that have good nutritional content.
Boba tea can use a few different types of tea. Green jasmine tea is very popular, bot not the only kind of tea used as a base. Usually, boba tea vendors try to match the flavor of their teas with the the other flavors they are using.
Tea is generally good for you. Some tea has caffeine, which some people want to avoid. Asides from the caffeine, teas are believed to have health benefits. Links have been found between tea and a reduction of cardiovascular disease. Tea itself has no calories and has been lauded to have many preventative health benefits. There’s really nothing wrong with drinking tea, and in fact it might be good for you.
So far boba tea is one out of two. Tea is probably good for you, and tapioca is bad for you. What about Milk? Actually, many boba tea places use non-dairy creamers instead of real milk. A big reason for this is because many people in Asia are lactose intolerant, and that is where boba tea originated.
You can always ask your local boba tea vendor what they use for the milk in their teas, but likely it will be some kind of non-dairy cream. There are different types of non-dairy creamers, but most of them are high in calories and have no nutritional value. Like tapioca, non-dairy creamers do not contain vitamins or minerals or anything else that your body needs.
In addition to not having anything to benefit your body, non-dairy creamers are a source of trans fats. Trans fats are terrible for you. They do not exist in nature and there is no reason to ingest them. I highly recommend avoiding trans fats as much as possible. If possible, see if your boba place has half-and-half that they can use instead of non-dairy creamers.
There are so many different boba tea flavors, I cannot really get into too much detail here. These flavors are usually used to make the boba tea sweeter. Often the flavors are artificial, and use corn syrup as their base.
Other flavors may be natural, but not necessarily good for you. Even natural flavors are likely going to be high in sugar and low in any beneficial nutritional value.
One reason why I like less sweet flavors of boba tea is that I know I am avoiding these corn syrup-based artificial sweeteners. If you are going to drink a sweet boba tea flavor, try asking for only half the amount of flavoring.
Boba Tea, Not Great
Overall boba tea is not something you should be drinking very much of. I will be honest, I do drink it from time to time. But I also eat other junk food from time to time. I treat boba tea in the same way I treat other unhealthy junk food. It tastes good and I am willing to consume something that is bad for me so I can enjoy the flavor.
If you are looking for something healthy, I would recommend drinking regular tea. You can do what the British do and add milk to your tea.