Crystal Boba

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. A commission may be earned for us by clicking some links and buying some products.

This article will cover what crystal boba is, how it is different from other boba types, what it is made of, and how to make your own crystal boba (how it is made) at home or in a boba shop with instructions.

It can be a little confusing because of its name and appearance, when it comes to differentiating certain bobas from crystal boba, but it will be easy after reading this.

What is Crystal Boba?

Crystal boba is one of the boba types, besides tapioca pearls, popping pearls, and boba jellies. They can be placed in bubble tea drinks, but are primarily used in fruit teas, just like the popping pearls.

It is very similar in texture to boba jellies, but it’s shape is spherical like the tapioca pearls. They appear white or translucent in color before or after they are cooked. The crystal boba looks like a cross between tapioca pearls and popping pearls, but neither of them have the same texture as crystal boba.

The crystal boba is also called “agar boba”. It is not the same thing as white tapioca that appears white in color, yet has to be cooked before they can be served.

Crystal boba is also called agar boba because it looks and feels gelatinous, but it does not contain seaweed extract as real agar would. This means that crystal boba doesn’t contain gelatin or animal parts. They are vegan-friendly, as long as they do not have syrups or honey mixed in them from animals.

The name “agar” or “agar-agar” originates from Malaysia, and is known as “Kanten” in Japanese.

What is crystal boba made of?

Crystal boba is made from a root vegetable that is popular in the Asian regions, known as the konjac plant. The konjac plant looks like a normal growing plant on its surface, but the root of the plant is where the crystal boba that is made, comes from.

It’s root is pulled up to reveal a brown matured brown bulb that houses the konjac meat used to make crystal boba. The meat of the konjac root, after it is cooked, is translucent, meaning that light passes through the substance, but objects are not visibly clear when looking through it.

The meat of the konjac plant is used to create a substitute for real gelatin; to create jelly products, and noodles. It is also used as a thickener for foods and drinks, and in this case, for creating crystal boba. It is used in a lot of Asian foods.

However, the crystal boba is made easier by first turning the agar into agar powder first, to begin making the crystal boba. The agar and agar powder is found and sold predominantly in Asian grocery stores.

How Crystal Boba Is Different From Other Bobas

Crystal boba has a lot of differences when compared to other types of boba, like tapioca pearls, popping pearls, and jelly boba. Let’s look at each type of boba up against crystal boba.


The appearance of crystal boba is usually translucent and grey or white in color after it is cooked. Tapioca pearls are usually black in color after they are cooked. Popping boba is translucent too, but usually can be found in multiple colors, unlike crystal boba. Jelly boba is also translucent, but just like popping pearls, it usually has many different colors depending on the flavor.

To change the color of crystal boba, food coloring, or other flavor with color in them are added for aesthetics.


Crystal boba takes on a sphere-like shape just like tapioca pearls do, but not as perfect as popping pearls. They differ in shape from the boba jellies that are made as small rectangles.


Crystal boba is usually made small enough (around 8mm to 9mm), and can fit into a boba straw, just like popping pearls, and tapioca pearls can.


The flavor of crystal boba is based off of the agar, which is usually bland. Tapioca pearls are also bland too without sugars. Popping pearls are usually fruity, just like boba jellies.

The crystal boba can be made flavorful, just like tapioca pearls and other boba types, but it takes more effort than it would to flavor tapioca pearls. The agar doesn’t absorb sweetners as well as tapioca pearls would. Even when flavors are added directly into the crystal boba when making them, they still can be lacking in flavor.


The texture of crystal boba is the same as it is for jelly boba, since they both are made from the same plant. It is a gelatinous crunchy texture. This texture differs from tapioca pearls, which have a soft and slightly chewy texture which feels bouncy after they are cooked. The crystal boba is much firmer than tapioca pearls.


The cooking for crystal boba happens before the boba pearls are made. This means that they do not require cooking after they are made.

They come bought from shops in packages just like they are, sweetened and ready to be placed into bubble tea drinks. They differ from white tapioca and regular tapioca pearls, which require cooking before they can be served; and soaking in sugars before they are sweet.


The origin of crystal boba derives from the konjac plant, just like the boba jellies. They differ from tapioca pearls that derive from the cassava plant’s roots. They also differ from popping pearls, which are made from seaweed extract, fruit juice, and calcium through a process called spherification.

The only thing that crystal boba has in common with other bobas in origin (except boba jellies), is that it isn’t made of gelatin; so it is also vegan.

How Crystal Boba Is Made

This is how crystal boba is made. It isn’t too hard. The only challenging part is learning to drip the crystal boba mixture correctly into the iced water to form the crystal boba.

Equipment needed for making crystal boba:

Ingredients for making crystal boba:

Phase 1

  • 4 cups of coconut water or regular water.
  • 10 grams of jelly powder.
  • 12 grams of agar agar powder.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar.
    • With this much sugar, the crystal boba will taste as good as the boba shop’s.

Phase 2

  • 2 cups of water.
  • 4 cups of ice.
  • 1/3 cup of cooking oil.
    • This can be vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil for example. It just needs to be cooking oil.

  1. Put 4 cups of water into a pot.
  2. Put 10 grams of jelly powder, and 12 grams of agar powder into the pot.
  3. Mix it together well and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat it on the stove at a low heat while stirring.
    • The heat should be low (around 3 or 4), but high enough for the mixture to simmer.
  5. Stir the mixture constantly for 5 minutes after it starts to heat up.
  6. Turn off the heat and keep stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add 3 cups of ice to the large mixing bowl.
  8. Place an empty medium sized mixing bowl into the large mixing bowl in the ice.
    • This will keep the contents inside the medium mixing bowl cold.
  9. Put 2 cups of water, 1 cup of ice, and 1/3 cup of cooking oil into the medium sized mixing bowl.
  10. Stir the cooking oil water gently.
  11. Take the large syringe and fill it with the crystal boba mixture (the agar powder/jelly powder mixture).
  12. Remove the ice from the medium sized bowl in the large mixing bowl with a mesh strainer.
    • The ice floating in the water and oil can be removed. It will stay cold because of the ice in the larger mixing bowl that the medium sized bowl is sitting in.
    • Removing the ice will make it easier for the crystal boba mixture drops to be seen. It will help to improve any further drops into the water to perfect making the crystal boba.
  13. Begin dropping the crystal boba mixture into the medium sized mixing bowl that has the water and the cooking oil in it.
    • Make drops into the mixing bowl to form the crystal boba in the water. It takes practice, but the drops need to be like drops from a leaking sink when they fall into the water.
    • With some practice, it will form good crystal boba.
  14. The crystal boba will form in the water over time from the drops.
    • Depending on how well the drops from the syringe is, the crystal boba will form in the cold water and make crystal boba.
  15. When finished, use the mesh strainer to grab the crystal boba and rinse them in the sink with cold water.

Here is a video to help with the dropping process:

Making crystal boba.

One thought on “Crystal Boba

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: