The Question Everybody Wants To Ask – Can Bubble Tea Be Hot?

You’ve had the famous iced bubble tea, but you’ve always wondered….can bubble tea be hot? This article looks at what bubble tea is and how best to drink it. 

Can bubble tea be hot?
Bubble tea is a popular drink that originated in Taiwan

My introduction to bubble tea came through a co-worker. She was widely traveled and had tried boba in several cities.

So when our city got its first boba shop, she took the whole office on a field trip. It was the first I had ever even heard of it, which is surprising now that I know how widely popular it is.

Bubble tea originally came from Taiwan. The first bubble tea traces back to the 1980s, but no one is sure how it started. One bit of folklore says a tea vendor added tapioca to his drinks one day.

His customers loved it. And the rest is, as they say, history. Bubble tea made its way out into the world and has been gaining popularity since then.

In the United States, you can find bubble tea at many local tea shops.  Additionally, the demand is growing at such a rapid pace stand-alone bubble tea shops are thriving.

Though they all have extensive menus, the drinks often are served over ice. Presented in a plastic cup with a large straw, they are beautiful drinks.

Can Bubble Tea Be Hot?

bubble tea on a paper cup
Bubble tea can be served hot

Not everyone is a fan of cold drinks, however (like myself). I adore hot drinks – even during the hottest part of summer. Is it possible to combine a love of hot drinks and a love of bubble tea? 

Well, technically, yes. Bubble tea can be served hot. However, the traditional serving method is over ice. And, honestly, that is the best way to achieve the visual appeal of bubble tea.

That said, this does not mean you have to give up your dream of a hot, steaming cup of bubble tea. Depending on your local shop, you can ask them to prepare your boba hot. 

What Sort Of Tea Do You Prefer?

Before diving into the world of hot bubble tea, you may want to take a look at some of the available options. Unfortunately, not all bobas will be as successful or tasty as hot drinks.

Are you a fan of fruity or milk-based bubble teas? If the former, you likely will want to forgo getting that hot. There are always exceptions, of course. But generally speaking, the fruity bubble teas are not going to be as successful. 

In contrast, milk-based bubble teas were born to be served hot. Hot tea with steaming milk? Yes, please.

As a bonus, the warmth of the drink will soften the tapioca pearls, even more, giving an added depth and flavor to your drink.

How Do Toppings Factor In?

Iced coffee with jelly toppings
You can choose different toppings for your bubble tea

We are all familiar with the tapioca pearls at the bottom of your bubble tea. But have you branched out and tried some of the other available toppings? Most shops have a wide range of toppings you can add, such as jellies, popping pearls, pudding, etc.

If you are a tried and true fan of tapioca pearls, those are a delicious addition to your hot bubble tea, as mentioned previously. Going this route means you can change up your drink to match the weather or your mood.

However, if you love trying new toppings every time or are addicted to the popping pearls, you’ll want to stick with a cold bubble tea. Most of the alternative toppings don’t mix well with hot tea. 

Other Considerations

Another option to consider is making your bubble tea yourself. Many companies offer single-serve, microwaveable packs of tapioca pearls.

It is easy to make a mug at home or the office. You may even love it so much you set yourself up with your very own bubble tea bar!


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.