What Is Boba And Is It Actually Healthy?
Before we go any farther, nothing about the boba you've come to love is new. The drink originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and eventually made its way to the U.S. sometime in the '90s. From there, it's only become a more and more popular treat. Seriously. There are about four bubble tea places within a five-block radius of where I'm writing this.
That said, many people don't know what the chewy bubbles at the bottom of their drinks are, let alone what the entire drink itself is. Don't worry, though:
boba milk tea 77449
Alright, what is boba?
Bubble tea starts with a tea base that's combined with milk or fruit flavoring and then poured over dark pearls. The gluten-free pearls—the boba—are made of tapioca starch, which is then combined in an industrial mixer "with brown sugar syrup, water, potassium sorbate and guar gum, to produce a damp, caramel-colored powder," according to the New York Times. The result is a mostly flavorless, chewy black bubble.
The pearls that end up in your drink can come in many sizes, though they're usually accompanied by a straw with an opening thick enough to suck 'em all up.
What are the different types you can get?
You can get both sweet and savory boba, if you'd like. The base of your drink can be green tea, black tea, milk tea, fruity tea, coffee, a slushie, or a smoothie, to start. Most commonly, people go with milk teas (tea combined with either powdered or fresh milk and sometimes a sugary syrup) or a fruit-flavored beverage (options range from lemon to lychee to taro).
That doesn't sound terribly unhealthy. Is it?
Eh. It depends. Most boba preparations come with the option to layer on sugar, so if you're opting out of that, it certainly helps. Though the pearls themselves are gluten-free, tapioca doesn't provide much nutritional value on its own, nor does a flavored tea base. That said, if you go with a green tea mixture as opposed to a milky one, you're likely to avoid even more sugar.
When talking about the health benefits of boba, people point back to a 2012 German study that found traces of the carcinogen chemical aspolychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in boba sampled from a German tea chain. Many dispute the findings, though, as no other researchers have found anything similar, nor were the ones behind this study clear about how they came to their results.
Boba tea 77449