Boba: Tasty or Gross

By Ori S.


Boba tea, which is also known as bubble tea, or pearl milk tea, was invented in Tainan, Taiwan, and Taichung, Taiwan in the 1980s. Boba can be either milk tea or fruit tea of any flavor and sometimes has added sugar in it. It comes with many toppings including multiple kinds of boba (which are chewy tapioca balls), grass jelly, aloe vera, popping boba of different flavors, and sometimes puddings can be added too.

Although bubble tea may seem healthy, because its made from ordinary tea, it is actually full of calories. Each cup has about one-fourth of a cup of sugar in it, which is far more than the amount of added sugar that the American Heart Association recommends: Six teaspoons of added sugar for women and nine teaspoons for men. Adding so many extra ingredients to calorie-free tea can add a total of about 453 calories to the previously healthy drink.

Pearl milk tea started when tea stands set up around different elementary schools and would fight for customers. After long days at school, the kids would be excited to buy a refreshing cup of tea, giving them lots of business. One of those tea stands had the idea of adding fruit flavoring to their tea. Because of the sweet and cool taste, children loved it even more. Other tea stands–as well as tea companies–quickly caught on and began to add unique flavors to their tea as well.

In 1983 Liu Han-Chieh introduced Taiwan to tapioca pearls. The trend spread fast, and people began to put these pearls in their favorite drinks, including flavored tea. During this time boba tea became popular in East and Southeast Asia, and over time, it has spread around the world to many places including the United States, Australia, Europe, and South Africa.

Many people have different opinions about boba tea. “It tastes fine but I can’t get past the texture of the tapioca pearls. It makes me feel like I’m swallowing fish roe, and it messes with my mind,” says Mrs. Mackenzie. In other words, even though many people don’t mind the taste, the texture can be a little offsetting.

While some people like it less, others have a different opinion about it. “I love boba tea because it tastes good, and it’s good for any mood. You know how you’re sometimes in the mood for chocolate, and sometimes for fruity candy? Boba tea is great anytime!” says a student at Blach. Boba tea can satisfy any mood, as well as an appetite.

“I don’t hate, I just don’t really like it. The slimy texture bothers me because it almost makes me gag. I like tea in general, so the flavor isn’t bad.  I just don’t like the tapioca balls, but I like the pearls. I like some flavors, but I prefer it without the boba.” says another Blach student.

Boba tea has multiple flavors, making it a great snack anytime. There are thicker and thinner flavors, and the sweetness levels can always be adjusted as well. Also, it comes with different toppings of different  flavors.

All in all, different people can have different opinions about this unique form of drinking tea.

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