4 Common Boba Toppings for Drinks

By: Lauren Landry


Learn more about the four common types of boba toppings and find out the best products for your boba tea shop.

Close up image of Tea Zone Original Tapioca pearlsBlack boba is one of the most common types of boba used in many boba tea drinks.

Boba tea is a very versatile drink that comes in many, many flavors. They come in so many varieties that first-time customers may find the menu overwhelming. With these flavors come the different types of boba toppings as well, and there are four common types every boba tea business should know. These boba toppings can be used in a variety of drinks.


What is boba?

Before we discuss the types, let us define what boba really is. Generally, boba pearls are chewy balls made of tapioca starch or cassava starch, which is why they are sometimes referred to as tapioca pearls.

In Taiwan, boba pearls were originally used in shaved ice desserts with beans, chewy rice balls, and syrup. At the same time, milk tea is another popular drink served alongside these boba desserts. Someone decided to combine the two, creating the drink millions of people enjoy today, boba tea.

If you are starting a boba tea business and can’t decide on what types of boba to include in your boba supplies to-buy list, here’s a guide on the four most common boba toppings as well as our recommended products:

  • Black Boba
  • Clear Boba
  • Popping Boba
  • Mini Boba


#1 Black Boba

Black boba is the most popular boba used in drinks today. These dark pearls are tapioca starch balls mixed with brown sugar and/or caramel coloring to give them a dark color. The added flavor and coloring give the pearls a sweet flavor.

There are two types of black boba -- original and chewy. Original black boba pearls are soft on the outside and chewy on the inside. On the other hand, the chewy black boba pearls are chewy both inside and out. Chewy black boba is the best-selling variety.

Recommended black boba pearls -- Tea Zone Chewy Tapioca Boba. These tapioca pearls are sold in cases of six bags or individually in a six-pound bag and have a six-month shelf life. They are recommended for basically any type of boba beverage.


#2 Clear Boba

Clear boba is regular cassava starch without the caramel coloring or brown sugar. These pearls are mild in flavor, which is why they are best used in milk-based boba tea beverages. The clear boba absorbs the milk and flavor of the drink, infusing itself with the milky goodness. The fun thing about clear boba is that these pearls can be used to make boba drinks in many different colors.

Recommended clear pearls -- Tea Zone White Tapioca Boba. These white pearls are sold individually in six-pound bags or in cases of six bags and have a six-month shelf life. Clear boba pearls are recommended for milk-based drinks.


#3 Popping Boba

This boba variety is infused with fruit juice, so when you bite down on them, the juice pops inside your mouth, hence its name. Unlike the first two, popping boba is not made of tapioca and instead is made through a chemical and physical reaction of sodium alginate and calcium chloride or calcium lactate. These fruity juice balls are available in many different flavors, including pomegranate, orange, and mango.

Recommended popping boba  -- Tea Zone Rainbow Popping Pearls. Aside from Rainbow, Tea Zone has many other popping boba flavors, including chocolate, passionfruit, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, strawberry, peach, orange, yogurt, lemon, pomegranate, green apple, and rose. All these flavors are available in seven-pound containers. They are recommended for iced teas and smoothies.


#4 Mini Boba

Mini boba pearls, as the name suggests, are tiny tapioca pearls. They are about half the size of the regular ones or approximately 1/8" inches in diameter, so they cook rather faster. Just like black and white boba, mini boba pearls are chewy both on the inside and outside. Naturally, they are much easier to chew. 

Recommended mini boba  -- Tea Zone Tiny Tapioca Boba. These mini boba pearls are sold in cases of six bags or individually in a six-pound bag and have a six-month shelf life. They are recommended for any boba tea beverage and as froyo and ice cream toppers.




All of the Tea Zone products mentioned above are available at LollicupStore.com. 

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