How Long Does Boba Tea Last?

How Long Will Bubble Tea Last?
How long bubble tea lasts

So how long does boba tea last after it is made or bought from a boba shop? You may want to know this because you are thinking about premaking bubble tea to save time from having to make it in a time crunch. Some people just want to know because the boba shop might be located miles away from where they live to ensure that it won’t go bad before it is consumed.

Here we will break down all of the components of the bubble tea to see how long each one will last so you can take the proper course of action to make sure you have good bubble tea.

The reason for breaking it down into pieces is because, certain parts of the boba tea will last longer than others. Knowing this for example, can give you the choice to do what I have seen other customers do with similar problems dealing with others foods: Store other components separately, and add them later to keep the consumable consumable.

How Long Do Tapioca Pearls Last?

This one we will go over first, because the tapioca pearls are the main ingredient of concern that goes bad the fastest. I like to see and treat the boba in the bubble tea as a delicacy. It is the main thing in the drink that tends to make it or break it.So how long do they last? 

Considering that the tapioca pearls are cooked correctly and don’t come out bad when done, properly cooked tapioca pearls that are made for boba tea can last up to 4 hours when they are soaked in a sugar mixture. 

After this they will begin to harden from the inside out.

If uncooked tapioca is stored in an airtight container, they can last up to 9 months to a year. However, storing uncooked boba in the refrigerator will ruin them.

The general rule for cooking tapioca pearls is to cook what you need and don’t make more than what you need. This is very important if you are working in a boba shop. If the customer gets bad pearls that have been sitting too long after they are cooked, they will want a refund or more cooked, which requires cooking a fresh batch (which takes time).

The easy way to fix this is by overlapping the first batch with another fresh batch before the other batch goes bad, instead of trying to find a way to “revive” what has already been cooked. Once 3 to 4 hours have passed, throw out the old batch and go with a new one.

Even if the tapioca pearls are left sitting in a sugar mixture after they are cooked, they will still only last for 3 to 4 hours. Keeping the boba a little warm can extend them to this amount of time, but do not cook them again.

This leads to the next question: “Can I store cooked boba in the fridge to save it for later?”

No. Do not even bother with trying this method if you are concerned about quality. Even if they are stored and taken out in less than 36 hours, they will be hard in the middle (or crumbly) and soft on the outside at best. 

They can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, but the texture will suffer.

Microwaving them will not solve the problem. It is a temporary fix that lasts up until it is placed into the cold drink. It will begin to show the same symptoms of a hard crumbly middle with a soft outside, and will make the taste different in a disgusting bad way.

It is almost always a bad idea to re-cook boba.

If for some reason you just have to freeze them because you cooked too much at home, they can be stored in the freezer for up to 5 to 6 weeks, but they have to be vacuum sealed. To re-cook them, boil them again for around 5 minutes. They will have to be rinsed and placed into a sugar mixture afterwards.

This is a good idea if you want cooked boba packaged separately from your drink when ordering a drink, to preserve them for a later time.

How Long Does The Tea Last?

Loose tea leaves in general can last up to a year before they are steeped. After this, they go stale and begin to lose their flavor. Most of the time it is ok to still use and consume them as long as other additives that may spoil in the tea haven’t been added (like oils for example).

After they are steeped, they can last around 8 hours at room temperature. After this it can spoil depending on the tea type, and bacteria can accelerate. Refrigerated tea can last 2 to 5 days.

Black tea leaves are known to last the longest out of any tea type, and can even maintain flavor for years.

How Long Does Milk Last? 

The milk in bubble tea can last up to 2 hours at room temperature and shouldn’t be left out longer than that. Milk that has been refrigerated can last up to a week. Hot milk can last no more than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90 degrees.

If your bubble tea doesn’t have milk, then of course you wouldn’t have to worry about this, but if it does, then it is worth noting as this will also effect the life of the tea when it is mixed with it.

Non dairy creamer powder for bubble tea can last a year and a half to 2 years if kept in an airtight container. However, creamers in bubble tea can last 1 to 2 weeks refrigerated, and at room temperature it varies on the creamer.

It is milk based, so be aware.

How Long Do Popping Pearls Last?

If you have popping pearls aka bursting boba instead, they can last 9 months to a year before opening, and up to 4 months after opening when refrigerated.

Freezing them can make them last longer, but can destroy the texture, making them ‘deflate’ and shrivel up.

A List Of How Long Each Bubble Tea Type Will Last

In conclusion based on the information given, we are able to give a maximum time that we can expect each bubble tea type would last and maintain its good qualities after it is made:

Note: If a boba shop makes it, then you would still have to count the time when everything was first made, not when you purchase and receive the product. 

A fix for this would be purchasing your own tapioca pearls and making them, putting your own creamer or milk into the bubble tea, or asking the boba shop to cook/make a fresh batch of whatever you want in your boba tea (note that this can take a long time, especially the boba).

  • Milk Tea – If it is a milk tea consisting of nothing more than milk, tea, and tapioca pearls, then it will last up to 2 hours because of the milk despite the tapioca pearls lasting up to 4 hours after they were made.
  • Bubble Tea – If it is a bubble tea without milk and includes only the tea and the tapioca pearls, then it can last up to 4 hours after the tapioca pearls were made.
  • Bubble Tea Smoothie – If it has milk it can last up to 2 hours, but can become watery and melt very fast after it is made depending on the temperature. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, and frozen for 3 months without the pearls.
  • Bubble Tea Milkshake – Because of the milk it will last up to 2 hours, but will lose its quality much faster because of the ice.

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