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.
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.
Enter the 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: A Brief History
- Crystal Boba Vs. Regular Boba
- How To Make Homemade Crystal Boba
- How To Make Tapioca Boba At Home
- FAQS About Crystal Boba & Regular Boba
Bubble Tea: A Brief History
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 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.
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.
Any type of boba is unhealthy, especially the 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
- Vegetable Oil
- 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.
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
The cooking time for tapioca is 30 minutes. However, you can purchase ready-made tapioca pearls.
- Tapioca Starch
- Brown Sugar
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 in 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.