Taste The Earth Blog

What Is Bubble Tea? Can You Put It In A Travel Mug?

by Mark Morphew on Jun 10, 2022

What Is Bubble Tea? Can You Put It In A Travel Mug?

Bubble tea, boba, pearl milk tea, a strange cold beverage with balls in it? Whatever you call the stuff, there's no denying its popularity.

Walk into any trendy new-age coffee shop, and you're sure to spot a bearded tattooed barista hastily preparing a sweet, creamy, chewy refreshment with jet-black balls floating in the bottom. That, my friend, is bubble tea.

As strange as it looks, this beverage isn't anything new, and it's been steadily gaining traction in the western part of the world over the past few decades.

Originating in Asia, this elixir is an everyday staple, and it's not uncommon to see people doing a "boba" run rather than a coffee run for their midday break - oh, and shoulder-slung boba cup holders are all the rage; apparently. Who knew!

Today there are thousands of places in Asia and around the world that serve a wide range of different bubble teas. If you want to know a little more about this unique beverage, stick around.

In this blog post, I have answered many of the common questions surrounding this addictive chewy drink. Shall we dive in?

What Is Bubble Tea Like?

Like nothing else, seriously, I can't compare it to anything. So what is bubble tea?

Contrary to what you may think, there are no "bubbles" in bubble tea. And in some cases, you'll be hard stumped to find any actual tea in bubble tea.

Bubble tea can be traced back to Taiwan sometime in the 80s. The recipe consists of blended tea with milk, fruit, and various fruit juices.

It is then finished with tapioca pearls and shaken vigorously. The pearls float to the top and slowly sink to the bottom.

What Is Bubble Tea Made From?

Today you can find many variations on the classic bubble tea recipe sold at popular outlets, but almost all will start with a real tea as the foundation; if not, walk away.

Typically flavors and sweeteners are added, and if it's a milky recipe, a cream component is also thrown into the mix, such as milk, almond milk, or even non-dairy creamers. Last, a handful of pearls are added.

Once all of the ingredients are in the cup, it's sealed and given a real good shake!

More On The Pearls (aka Boba)

The "bubble" part of the tea, aka the "boba," is made from the cassava root, and they actually contain a good amount of vitamin C and calcium.

When you're sipping on a cup of bubble tea, a regular straw just won't cut it.

You need a fat straw, and you also need to muster the suction power of a Dyson Cyclone to yank those oversized tapioca balls from the bottom of your cup.

But all that effort is worth it. Once those balls land in your mouth, they can be chewed and enjoyed as you swallow down the delicious tea.

Types Of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea, with its many alterations, can be served in almost any flavor imaginable, and it's not uncommon for vendors to have dozens of different versions of the drink on their menus.

Some popular recipes include:

  • Milk Tea: A rejuvenating mix of black tea, milk, and tapioca pearls.
  • Thai Tea: A potent black tea combined with sweetened condensed milk and tapioca pearls.
  • Taro Bubble Tea: Includes puréed taro, which is a purple colored root similar to sweet potato.
  • Fruit Tea: A fresh fruit-based tea with your pick of different flavored tapioca pearls.

Different Tea In Bubble Tea

As I've mentioned, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different bubble tea variations, each with varying types of tea.

Let's take a closer look at your options.

  • Black Tea: This is the most popular bubble tea option.
  • Oolong Tea: Oolong tea is also a popular option in bubble tea recipes.
  • Green Tea: Primarily jasmine green tea and powdered matcha are popular.
  • White Tea: A favorite choice in Western countries, but white tea is seldom used for bubble tea in Asia.

Aside from tea, milk plays a significant role in almost all bubble tea recipes.

Types Of Milk Added To Bubble Tea

Milk and milk substitutes are generally added to bubble tea to give the drink a creamy texture and rich flavor. These are some kinds of milk you'll likely come across on your bubble tea journey.

  • Sweetened condensed milk.
  • Non-dairy creamer (the most popular used).
  • Fresh milk.
  • Coconut milk.
  • Lactose-free milk.
  • Soy milk.
  • Calpis and equivalent yogurt-like drinks.

Can You Bubble Tea In A Travel Mug?

Where I go, my insulated travel mug goes. And I always empty my coffee or smoothie into my cup. Sometimes I even ask the guys behind the counter to serve the drink in my cup, which sometimes earns me a strange look.

But the way I see it, I'm saving them a disposable cup and doing my bit toward sustainability. Plus, I get all the benefits and additional insulation my cup provides.

However, I hit a roadblock when I tried to put bubble tea in my insulated travel mug.

There is no problem adding it. Getting it out is a challenge.

Most travel mugs and cups come with a lid with a small mouthpiece, usually this is perfect, but when faced with tapioca pearl, well, thou shall not pass.

But all is not lost. There is a solution.

Stainless steel reusable straws, and yes, if you shop around, you can find the fat 0.5" size.

Just slip off the lid from your insulated tumbler and slide in your reusable metal straw. If you're a bubble tea fan, this insulated travel mug and reusable metal straw combination is a must-have!

📌 If you're on the hunt for a good, durable, insulated travel mug, we've got you covered. You can browse our popular range here (also, all our travel mugs are bubble tea friendly).

Unlike other travel mugs, our exclusive range is coated in a ceramic layer that keeps metallic and plastic tastes from ever coming into contact with your drink. Simply put, you won't have any unwanted tastes spoiling your bubble tea.


Mark MorphewMark Morphew is a freelance writer specializing in digital marketing and the hospitality sector. He helps coffee, catering, and food tech businesses create better content that drives more traffic and increases customer engagement.