Floating Boba Fixes

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Here we will cover what to do to fix any floating boba issues that happen when cooking boba. It is important to note that not every boba is the same. Depending on the properties of the boba for each boba type, there may be different results. Instant boba is not the same as the original pearls for example.

Why isnt my boba floating?

The main reason why the boba isn’t floating in the water for most people, is because they didn’t wait for the water to start boiling first, before the boba was placed into the water to cook. This step is crucial, as it will fix many issues with boba texture, bad boba cooking results, and boba not floating in the water.

When cooking boba, the temperature of the water needs to be high, and the water needs time to reach a rolling boil.

A rolling boil is basically the point where all the water is in motion while it is boiling. There will be streams of bubbles coming up from the water from bottom of the pot, not just a few. The surface of the water will have a lot of motion and activity.

This is when the dry boba pearls should be inserted into the water to begin cooking. There should be plenty of water in the pot, and the boba shouldn’t be cramped. There should be plenty of space for all of the boba to freely move and cook. Don’t have too much boba in the pot.

Here, you can see the tapioca pearls sink straight to the bottom of the cold water. Even the smaller pieces that are breaking off of some of the pearls are not floating:

Boba not floating
Tapioca pearls sinking straight to the bottom.

This is what happens when the boba is not placed in water that is hot enough. It will begin to sink to the bottom, dissolve, and fall apart. Even after some time of being in the cold water, the boba still will not float. The boba already has some air in it, but it doesn’t cause the boba to rise. The air escapes from the boba, ensuring that it will never float like this.

Why is my boba floating?

When boba is placed into water that is hot (boiling water), some or all of the boba will begin to float. This happens for many types of boba, and it could be a sure sign of good results in the end when the boba has finished cooking. If the water isn’t hot enough, then the boba will not float.

Some tutorials and recipes say that after the boba has been inserted into the water, over time the boba pearls will start floating. This isn’t how boba should be cooked. If the water is in a rolling boil before the boba is placed in the water to cook, then it should almost immediately begin to float in the water.

For every batch of boba that I cooked that came out with a good bouncy chewy texture, this was the case. When the water was scolding hot, but not hot enough, and the boba was placed in the hit water anyway, it took time before the boba began to float. The boba I made like this usually came out ok or good, but not perfect. In one case, the boba actually was still hard in the middle from doing this.

Floating boba pearls
Floating Boba

In the image here, you can see that all of the boba pearls are floating on the surface of the water when the water is hot enough, and it is at a rolling boil. None of the boba is resting at the bottom of the pot.

Is it normal for boba to float?

Yes, it is normal for boba to float in the water. This will happen naturally if the boba is being cooked properly. It is not normal for regular tapioca pearls to not float in the water when it is cooking. The floating boba is a sign of good chewy boba if it is allowed to finish cooking all the way through.

If all the boba is resting at the bottom of the pot (not floating), then this could mean that the boba will come out bad after it is finished cooking. It could lose its shape, dissolve, or retain its shape and be hard in the middle.

The boba being hard in the middle while retaining its shape is from hot water that hasn’t fully reached a boil. It can still come out near perfect, but the boba will have to cook a little longer. This is avoided by waiting for the water to fully boil first, before inserting the pearls into the water.

Should my boba float in water?

Not all of the boba has to float to the the surface of the water for the boba to come out right after it is cooked. However, there should be some motion going on in the pot while they are cooking. All of the boba should not be resting at the bottom of the pot.

If it is, and the boba continues to come out bad after it is cooking, try using a different brand of boba. The correct boba pearls have to be used and cooked at the correct times for the best results. Some boba will not come out right, simply because it isn’t the right type for making boba for drinks and desserts. Boba like this will give mediocre results no matter how well they are cooked.

Some boba types take longer to cook, so it is very important that they float in the water almost immediately when being placed in the water.

Should my boba float in my drinks?

Most boba types, including popping pearls and jellies, will sink to the bottom of the cup if they are placed in the drink. Sometimes, popping boba will actually float in the drink instead of sinking in the cup, so it is possible for boba to float in a drink. It depends on what was used to make the popping boba (the density of the boba).

Also, if the density of the fluids is greater than the boba, then the boba will float in the liquid.

The drinks that are seen in pictures online that appear to be floating in the cup, are actually drinks that have been filled purposely with boba from the bottom to the top of the cup, with liquids poured in afterwards.

This is done for aesthetics mostly, instead of consumption. The cup is filled completely to prevent the boba from falling to the bottom, since it is actually sitting on top of more boba. The boba appears to be floating on the top, which makes a better photo than if it is hiding at the bottom inside murky fluids.

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