Is Crystal Boba Better Than Regular Boba?

Bubble tea is a popular drink with tapioca pearls or crystal boba, but is crystal boba better than regular boba? Read more to find out.

Is Crystal boba better than regular boba
Boba pearls

Bubble tea’s popularity is attested by the 3,392 bubble tea shops available in the US. Many boba-baristas create different versions of the drink to stand out from the rest, including adding white translucent pearls instead of the regular dark ones. 

So, what is crystal boba? All boba is generally unhealthy, but crystal boba is considerably healthier than others. It also offers more ways to enjoy bubble tea by absorbing color and juice. 

This article will discuss the brief history of bubble tea and determine which is better for your bubble tea: regular boba or crystal boba.

Bubble Tea History: What Is Crystal Boba?

The first pearl milk tea was introduced in Taiwan in 1988 by Lin Hsiu Hui by pouring tapioca pearls into her iced tea. Then it was brought to the US by Taiwanese immigrants during the 90s. 

 Bubble tea history: What is crystal boba?
The first Pearl milk tea was created by adding boba pearls on her iced tea

Bubble tea initially wasn’t popular and was only found in Asian-American restaurants. When Taiwanese immigrants opened bubble tea shops in Los Angeles, it became popular. People on the West Coast referred to the pearl milk tea as “boba tea,” while the East Coast called it “bubble tea.” 

“Bubble” refers to the bubbles on top of the drink after shaking, while “boba” refers to the pearls.  Bubble tea combines gelatinous chewy balls and milk-based or fruit-based tea. 

Crystal Boba Vs. Regular Boba


Crystal boba has a unique white translucent color rarely seen in tea shops. This boba is made with white agar powder and other gelling agents that gives it a very soft and gelatin-like texture. Crystal boba is bean-shaped, mainly due to the dropping process while cooking the pearl.

Regular boba, also known as tapioca pearls, is black due to the brown sugar used in making the pearl. Tapioca is a gluten-free starch from the cassava root plant, a native South American plant that arrived in Taiwan. The original tapioca pearls have a chewy, thick, and spongy texture, but the one used in bubble tea is smaller and slightly softer.


Crystal boba has a mildly sweet, citrus flavor due to the Konjac plant. This type of boba can also retain its flavor when added to bubble tea or upon storage.

Konjac flower on a tropical garden
Konjac plant

Regular boba has a neutral taste. There is slight sweetness since it’s from brown sugar or caramel syrup. The pearls become firm and lose their flavor to the other ingredients once added to the bubble tea. 

Health Benefits

Any type of boba is unhealthy, especially manufactured pearls with coloring and preservatives. Tapioca starch can be hard to digest. But crystal boba is considered healthier than any boba pearls. 

A hundred grams of crystal boba contains 70 calories, most of which are carbohydrates and no fat. Regular boba is fat-free but has 358 calories and 83 grams of carbohydrates.  


Regular black boba is available in pretty much any store. It is rare to see crystal boba, but it is growing in demand. 

How To Make Homemade Crystal Boba

Crystal boba is available in the market and online. You can try Bossen Original Crystal Boba and add it to your favorite milk tea. 


  • Agar Powder 
  • Jelly Powder 
  • Coconut Water 
  • Sugar 
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • Water 
  • Ice
  • Squeeze Bottle

Step One: Heat The Coconut Water

Pour the coconut water into a pot on low heat.

Step Two: Prepare The Powdered Ingredients

Mix the agar and jelly powder in a bowl. Dissolve the powder mix in the water and let it sit for ten minutes.

Adding powdered gelatin to water
Adding powder mix

Turn on the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Turn off and continue to stir for five more minutes.

Step Three: Combine The Remaining Ingredients

Combine the water, ice, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Transfer the cooked mixture to a squeeze bottle and squeeze it into the bowl, drop by drop.

Wait for the pearls to set when they sink.

Step Four: Wash The Boba 

Strain and wash the crystal boba, then make your bubble tea and enjoy.

How To Make Tapioca Boba At Home

 Worker preparing tapioca pearl balls
Cooking tapioca pearls

The cooking time for tapioca is 30 minutes. However, you can purchase ready-made tapioca pearls.


  • Tapioca Starch
  • Brown Sugar
  • Water

Method 1: Tapioca Dough 

Step 1: Boil The Sugar

Put the brown sugar and water in a pot, then boil. Turn the heat off once it starts bubbling, and add half a cup of tapioca starch. Mix well.

Step 2: Add The Remaining Ingredients 

Add the remaining starch to the mixture while it’s hot and mix well. Let it sit for a few minutes. 

Step 3: Prepare The Dough

On a clean flat surface, start kneading the dough. Sprinkle some flour if needed. Use a knife and cut the dough equally into 1.5cm squares.

Using your hands, roll the squares into small balls. Sprinkle some more tapioca starch to prevent the pearls from sticking to each other.

Method 2: Boba Pearl

Step 1: Cook The Tapioca Pearls

Boil the tapioca pearls in water for six to eight minutes on medium heat. Continue to cook the tapioca for another five to ten minutes on low heat until they float to the surface.

Step 2: Prepare The Other Ingredients

Get another pot and boil water and brown sugar for five minutes until it becomes syrup. 

Give the regular boba an ice bath for one minute. Add the boba into the syrup on low heat for six to eight minutes or until the syrup thickens.

Step 3: Serve 

Stir and immediately add to your hot drink. Let it rest for another ten to 15 minutes if it’s added to cold beverages.

Are you unfamiliar with bubble tea and don’t know what flavor to choose? Look into What Is The Best Bubble Tea Flavor? How Do I Choose? 

FAQS About Crystal Boba & Regular Boba

What Is The Difference Between Boba And Crystal Boba?

Regular boba and crystal boba are different in texture, taste, nutrition, and cooking methods. One of the unique qualities of crystal boba is that you can change its color.

What Is The Healthiest Type Of Boba?

There is no healthy boba pearl. But matcha boba tea is the healthiest boba because it has zero calories.

What Is Crystal Bubble In Boba?

You can make crystal boba from agar powder and the Konjac plant. Usually, it’s white but becomes translucent when cooked. It has a slightly sweet, citrus flavor.


  • Maria Caballero

    Writer and coffee lover, Maria Caballero, is fond of visiting new cafes and trying current trends involving caffeine. She shares amusing experiences to fellow coffee enthusiasts who wants to explore the world of coffee.