Have you tried Boba tea? It is actually quite an interesting experience! It is a heavily sweetened beverage with marble-sized balls of tapioca at the bottom that you drink through a large straw and then chew! While some of the possible flavor choices of tea may be “herbal,” this trendy drink is not necessarily a “healthy” herbal tea drink.
Boba milk tea originated in Thailand and became a popular drink throughout Asia, and from there gained popularity in the United States and Europe. Bubble tea is the original name, but it’s also called milk tea, Boba tea, and tapioca tea. The name bubble tea isn’t actually due to the boba balls that look like bubbles, as many think, but was named from the bubbles that result from shaking the milk tea. The chewy boba balls are made from boiled tapioca, which are then added to tea, coffee, smoothies and fruit juice. The tapioca that makes up the balls is an empty calorie starch devoid of nutrition.
The original bubble tea was a milk tea, and many of the options include milky concoctions and smoothies with added fruit and jellied mixtures. Therefore, the sugar content is very high! One 16 ounce serving of just milk tea with boba balls actually exceeds the upper limit of dietary recommendations for sugar and contains about 250-400 calories. When other ingredients are added or larger size drinks are consumed, the beverage easily exceeds 500 calories. The high caloric and sugar content is a concern since sugary drinks contribute to a number of conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Boba tea is a unique experience worth trying if you like sweetened tea. But let’s just be clear that it should not be regularly consumed, especially for people who must limit sugar intake.