These are the best and most popular toppings for bubble tea, ranked from first to last.
1. Tapioca Pearls
Tapioca pearls are the number one best and most popular topping for bubble tea drinks. Of these, there are the black tapioca pearls, the white tapioca pearls, and various sub flavors, like taro tapioca pearls, matcha, mango, strawberry, and other forms of healthy tapioca pearls made from herbs and spices.
Golden boba are another popular form of tapioca pearls that are made from white tapioca pearls. They are golden and translucent in their appearance. Tapioca pearls are the most used topping in bubble tea in almost every form of bubble tea. They were also the original boba pearls for bubble tea when it was first created.
2. Popping Pearls
Popping pearls are the second best topping for bubble tea. They do not need to be cooked, they are convenient, and they come in a variety of flavors. Popping pearls versus the tapioca pearls have the same shape that tapioca pearls have, but they have a completely different texture and flavor.
They are a game changer for bubble tea fruit drinks, as they come in a large variety of fruit flavors. They work great in plain tea, fruit tea, juice, sodas, and any other plain drinks.
They are easier to deal with than tapioca pearls, and since they don’t require cooking, they aren’t vulnerable to texture changes as much as tapioca pearls are.
However, since some individuals that love tapioca pearls don’t like popping pearls, because they are used to the soft and chewy texture of tapioca pearls, popping pearls come in second as the best topping to have for bubble tea. If individuals don’t like tapioca pearls, they usually use popping pearls as a substitute for a topping for bubble tea drinks.
3. Instant Boba
Instant boba is very popular, and used as a substitute for the traditional tapioca pearls; because they cook a lot faster. Many individuals have trouble with cooking regular boba, and a few don’t want to cook them; so they find that instant boba may be there solution.
Some instant boba takes as little as 1 minute in the microwave, while other types take around 10 minutes total from start to finish when cooking in a pot. However, one key difference in instant boba is that they are commonly said to have a texture less desirable when compared to regular tapioca pearls.
The soft and chewy texture is what most people are after in tapioca pearls, and these fall short sometimes. Many individuals still like these types, but only use them for specific desserts and drinks.
4. Cheese Foam
Bubble tea cheese foam is the third most popular topping to have for boba tea drinks. This topping takes a little preparation to make, but also requires no cooking. It is used to make some very basic, but high quality in appearance bubble tea drinks.
It is what makes tea macchiato what it is, and it is used to top off bubble tea drinks very frequently in boba shops that have it. For some regions, topping off boba drinks with bubble tea cheese foam is everyday life.
The cheese foam looks like thickened smooth whipped cream on top of the boba drink, and cocoa powder is sometimes sprinkled on the top of it after it is applied. It makes bubble tea drinks look very professional, more flavorful, and it is very popular.
The fact that it can go on bubble tea, classic milk tea drinks, and regular tea flavors, makes it the fourth best topping to have for bubble tea. It’s generic flavor can go with almost any other flavor.
5. Grass Jelly
Grass jelly is one of the jelly boba types that are a great topping to place into many bubble tea drinks. Grass jelly in itself is a popular dessert that is enjoyed by Asians primarily as a delicious dessert. It comes from a plant called mesona, which has a lot of health benefits.
It has a subtle mint taste, and it is often made with sugar to sweeten it. It is used not only in bubble tea, but in coconut and soy milk drinks too. The grass jelly is just simply placed in milk and enjoyed as a boba drink. Grass jelly does have to be cooked, but it isn’t difficult to make, or easy to mess up.
6. Lychee Boba
This is a boba jelly type that is made with the flavor of the lychee fruit. It is very commonly used in bubble tea drinks when a boba jelly is selected for a topping. It is also available in the form of popping pearls, which are also very popular. However, most consume it in the form of boba jelly.
7. Crystal Boba
Crystal boba is the crunchy version of the tapioca pearls. They offer a firmer texture than tapioca pearls, and they are desired for making many different colors of translucent boba to beautify their bubble tea drinks with. They aren’t as popular as boba jellies, popping pearls, and tapioca pearls, but they do get some attention none the less.
They do not need to be cooked, and are almost ready to go straight out of the package. The only preparation needed before placing them into a bubble tea drink is soaking them in a sweetener to sweeten them up a bit.
8. Small Tapioca Pearls
Small tapioca pearls come in the form of tapioca and sago. They are extremely popular for healthy dessert salads. These are also used to make another boba topping called tapioca pudding.
Even though these are not commonly used in bubble tea, they still are/can be used in the drink. The benefit to using small tapioca pearls over the regular sized ones, is the easier time they will have of not getting sucked in the boba straw when drinking boba. They can be chewed a lot easier than the regular tapioca pearls.
Small tapioca pearls can come in many types, but there a two main types: white and black.