Isserly said

Is boba tea (bubble tea) considered a real tea?

Is it? I would like to see what everyone’s opinion on it is. I just got into steepster and while not having experience as many teas as everyone, I have had my share of boba tea. So is it tea or not?

9 Replies

Kinda depends which bubble tea you get and the place that makes it.

I’ve had some places that I see them steep up a green or black, shaker it with ice to chill, add the usual tons of syrup and boba. I’ve also had ones made as a matcha smoothie. I personally find those boba shops harder to find, but are always the best.

Other times, it’s “mystery mix” tea and who knows what is in it and if theres actual tea in it.

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Having lived in the country that invented boba tea (called pearl milk tea in Taiwan) for the past ten years, I would say boba tea is as close to tea as a chicken nugget is to chicken. Most of the tea shops here use tea flakes to produce the black, green, or oolong tea. Real milk in pearl milk tea is rare, mostly powdered milks are used. Sugar is often added by choice. You can decide between levels of 1/4, half, or normal sugar, and of course you have the pearls or bubbles.
Pearl milk tea has its place, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t compare to loose leaf tea.

Jen M said

Chicken nuggets aren’t chicken? :(

Ha. Yeah, still a guilty pleasure though.

Well it depends on where you get them. Usually, there’s some chicken in there:p

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“Pearls” or “boba” or “bubbles” or “tapioca” are those little chewy black tapioca balls. So if you want it without the add-ons it’s just ‘milk tea’. How close milk tea is to actual tea depends on who and how they are making it. Alot of chain places just use powder tea and creamer for milk.

It seems to me that more places are starting to use actual Tea though, I know of at least six places in San Francisco Bay Area that use those ‘Tea Expresso’ machines- which is pretty cool to watch, and taste not too bad either if you’re in the mood for it.

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Rachel said

Flyawaybirdie, could you share where these tea espresso machines are? I am located in Oakland and would love to try one of these out!

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Isserly said

Thank you everyone for your information. I enjoyed reading all your replies and educating myself on is boba a real tea. I would also like to know about Flyawaybirdie’s tea espresso machines in the bay area since I visit there and would love to try some out next time I visit!

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funkle said

I have to admit to partaking on occasion. Here is San Francisco, there are a few high quality bubble tea places that use loose leaf brews. Boba Guys uses mostly home made & organic ingredients. BottleZup has a fantastic oolong milk tea, which is very strong & flavorful.

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