Milk tea is probably too familiar, even for those who do not drink tea. Milk tea stores can be easily found on numerous streets and in commercial areas. But Boba may be a new term for many people. So what is Boba? Are there different types of Boba tea? Answers to these questions and additional details about Boba will be provided through the article.

What is Boba? 

There are two answers to the question: What is Boba?

Firstly, Boba is the small ball/sphere made of kneaded and boiled tapioca (cassava) starch so it’s also called “Tapioca Pearl”. Boba has the consistency of chewy gummy candies, is naturally translucent white and practically flavorless. 

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Boba is practically colorless and flavorless

To enhance flavor, add color, and reduce stickiness, makers frequently insert some other ingredients and soak Boba in brown sugar syrup. 

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Boba is added with food coloring or cocoa powder to create an eye-catching brown color

You can see Boba in many foods and drinks, but the most popular is probably Bubble Tea. Thus, Boba is also an acronym for Bubble Milk Tea (Pearl Milk Tea).

Due to the difficulty of pronouncing the full name Zhen Zhu Nai Cha, many names have been used instead (Boba Milk Tea, Bubble Milk Tea, Boba tea, Pearl Milk Tea, Pearl Tea, Tapioca Tea, Bubble Tea etc.) and gradually Boba has also become a shortened word for milk tea with added pearls.

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Boba is a word that can refer to both pearls, as well as milk tea with pearls

Pearls and milk tea together have created a worldwide craze. Find out the history of Boba, the composition, and the variety of Boba tea in the following sections of the article.

Get more information about Vietnamese Milk Tea through the article below:

Vietnamese milk tea: Recipes and Tips to choose the best tea ingredient

Is boba tea milk tea? 

As was mentioned in section 1, the original name of Boba Tea means “Pearl Milk Tea.” While milk tea includes many other forms of tea (Chai, Teh Tarik, traditional Thai tea, etc.), Boba Tea is one variation on the category.

In some regions, Boba Tea might be the only milk tea available. It is undeniable that Boba Tea is the most well-known and popular milk tea.

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Milk tea with pearls has become a drink that is especially loved by young people

Tea companies and manufacturers have introduced an increasing number of milk tea varieties, including Boba Tea, in an effort to differentiate themselves and boost competition.

This diversity will be further explained in section 5. For now, let’s learn about Boba’s history.

History of boba

Although there is no official recognition of the origin of Boba tea, it is spread that Boba tea first appeared in Taiwan tea houses in the 1980s. Before that, tapioca pearls were used for some other products and tea was combined with milk in a monotonous way. The concept of adding pearls to milk tea was first proposed by Mr. Liu Han Chieh in Taichung and Mr. Tu Tsong-he in Tainan coincidentally. Their ideas created interesting drinks that quickly gained consumer love.

Boba tea did not stop as a phenomenon in a short time but continues to be diversified and loved all over the world.

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Boba tea has a variety of flavors

From tasteless white pearls, many kinds of Boba pearls have been created, such as black sugar Boba, brown Boba, fruit Boba, matcha Boba, etc.

In addition to pearls, tea and auxiliary materials for this product are also developed accordingly. Boba tea is usually packed in plastic cups of all shapes and sizes, sealed by automatic sealing machines and drunk with large straws. Besides, some boba chains have tea and syrup dispensers that let consumers choose the level of sweetness, tea, milk or ice.

Even if there are numerous worries about environmental protection while utilizing excessive amounts of plastic materials, this still cannot stop the milk tea market’s strong and varied expansion. More information on this diversity will be provided in Section 5.

Ingredients of boba tea 

There are thousands of types of Boba tea in the world. It is difficult to list all the recipes because each store has its own secret. But in general, bubble teas have the following main ingredients:

  • Tea
  • Boba pearl
  • Milk 
  • Sweetener
  • Ice (optional)


A good tea is the foundation of delicious Boba tea. At first, milk tea using instant flavor tea powder was quite popular and cheap. But consumers are willing to pay several times higher price to enjoy milk tea with natural ingredients. Currently, most of the big milk tea shops use cooked or brewed tea leaves to create tea essence for milk tea. The types of tea are also diverse such as Black Tea, Green Tea, Jasmine Tea, Oolong, Earl Grey Tea, etc.

Boba Pearl

The main steps are: kneading – shaping – boiling. 

Tapioca starch from cassava root is the primary raw material used to make pearls. However, each creator is free to alter the recipe or adjust the ingredients to their preferences. Some may add rice flour or corn flour, some prefer to put in little salt, brown sugar, etc. After being cooked, the pearls are often soaked in sugar water to increase the sweetness and retain the chewiness.

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Basic steps to make Boba pearls


Commonly used milk types for Boba tea are whole milk, condensed milk, non-dairy creamer, milk powder and skim milk. 

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea


The three components mentioned above are sufficient for a simple cup of Boba tea. However, you can add sugar or flavor syrup to make it sweeter with nice aroma, ice to make it colder, or other toppings to make drinking more enjoyable. 

Here are some typical tea powders you may need for your Bobe production. Take a look at our product shield hereby:

FGC- one of the best Oolong tea powder suppliers in Vietnam

FGC – the best company for supplying and packaging instant black tea POWDER in Vietnam

You might assume Boba tea is easy to make. But the milk tea industry is a very wealthy one. Let’s find out in section 5.

Different types of Boba tea: Which is the best-flavored Boba tea?

Every month, new milk tea shops open all over the world. It is challenging to determine the best flavored Boba tea and to compile a list of every variety of milk tea available worldwide. A cup of Pearl Milk Tea can be made from any kind of tea, milk, or pearl, as well as other additions. 

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Each shop has a unique method for making its own milk tea

We would like to highlight some of the major categories below, albeit this list is not exhaustive.

Type of Tea Type of Boba Type of Milk Others
Black tea White boba Whole milk Flavored syrups (Honeydew, Taro, Mango, Peach, Strawberry, Kiwi, Grape, Blueberry, red velvet, melon…)
Green tea Brown sugar boba Non-dairy creamer Ice
Oolong tea (Green Oolong, roasted black Oolong) Coconut boba Condensed milk Sugar syrups
White tea Butterfly pea boba Skim milk Jelly (fruit jelly, herbal jelly)
Flower tea (Jasmine, rose,…) Boba noodle  Milk powder Taro/Sweet potato ball
Fruit tea (Litchi, Strawberry, Peach,…) Soy milk Pudding
Matcha tea Coconut milk Popping Boba
Thai tea Almond milk Red bean
Earl Gray tea Fresh fruit
Ice cream
Cheese cream


Therefore, you can imagine that the random combination of the above ingredients with different dosages will create thousands of Boba tea. Future Generation Co. Ltd. (FGC) might be the first choice if you want to learn more about opening a tea shop and looking for tea suppliers.

Explore interesting ways to making Vietnamese Boba teas through the post below:

Making Vietnamese Boba tea simply with 5 recipes by FGC

FGC- the leading tea supplier in Vietnam 

FGC is a leading tea company in Vietnam with more than 20 years of experience from planting to packaging branded tea. The company also owns COZY, the only tea brand that has won the Vietnam Value title for many years.

In addition to direct supply, FGC is also the tea supplier for many blending factories for milk tea shops. 

Some popular types of tea chosen by our customers are:

In addition to providing bulk quantities for blending, FGC also owns modern packaging lines and machines, increasing more choices for customers:

Tea bag (Single chamber, double chamber, pyramid, pod bag): Instead of having to prepare tea leaves and cook, tea bags will save more time for the brewer)

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea

Tea pouch 

Tea is packed in pouches of 50 grams – 5 kg, enough quantity for shops to use each day, ensuring the best storage conditions. 

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
Some FGC tea products are packaged in bags

RTD tea

What is Boba? Discover different types of Boba tea
FGC’s RTD milk tea

FGC milk tea (Peach milk tea and Matcha milk tea) packed in paper boxes is the breakthrough product in the Vietnamese tea market. The teas do not use preservatives but maintain good quality for up to 8 months, thanks to Tetra Pak’s modern aseptic filling and packaging technology. Consumers can bring it anywhere and use it whenever they want to drink milk tea or add some pearls to have a cup of standard Boba tea.

We hope this article has partially answered the question: What is Boba, and what different types of Boba tea? If you want to find a supplier of raw materials for Boba tea or ready-to-drink milk tea, please contact us via:

 Author: Ms. Hang Gina – FGC Sales Executive

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