What is Boba?
By: LollicupStore Staff

You see them at the bottom of your drink—round and chewy with a similar consistency to gummy candy. But what is boba and why have they been growing in popularity recently? Let's take a look at the origin of these sweet gummy balls that have social media a buzz.

What Is Boba?

boba milk tea

Boba, also known as tapioca pearls, is made from tapioca flour/starch which is derived from the cassava root. The flour is rolled into balls and boiled until it has a chewy consistency. Afterward, they are most popularly added to milk tea but it tastes great in green tea, black tea, Thai tea, or any of your favorite teas! You may have heard the drink referred to as bubble tea, named after the bubbles that form at the top after it is shaken, making the drink frothy.


Where Did Boba Come From?
The drink began in a teahouse called Chun Shui Tang in Taichung, Taiwan in the early 1980s. Liu Han Chie came up with the idea after he visited Japan and saw ice coffee being served. It soon became very popular. It wasn’t until 1988 that his product development manager Ms. Lin Hsiu Hui dropped some tapioca balls into her Assam iced tea just for fun.

“Everyone at the meeting loved the drink and it quickly outsold all of our other iced teas within a couple of months—even after 20 years on the menu, bubble tea makes up 80-90% of our sales and Taiwanese are proud of this home-grown drink,” told Lin to CNN.

Then in 2000 Alan Yu teamed up with high school friend Marvin Cheng and they brought this phenomenon to the U.S.


“I started serving boba from my garage until we opened our first boba shop in 2000 in San Gabriel California.”


– CEO and Founder of Lollicup®, USA Inc.   Alan Yu


“I started serving boba from my garage until we opened our first boba shop in 2000 in San Gabriel California,” said CEO and Founder of Lollicup®, USA Inc. Alan Yu.

The idea spread like fire and people were flocking to his boba shop. It didn’t take long for one shop to become multiple shops and for him to eventually lead his company into the wholesale business becoming a premier paper/plastic disposable distributor and manufacturer. What started out as an idea and serving boba pearls from his garage, has now turned into a $275 million dollar revenue enterprise.



How to Make Boba

This boba recipe makes basic delicious brown sugar boba using any of these boba pearls found on LollicupStore.com.


Total Time
Prep Time
Cook Time
40 Mins
10 Mins
30 Min


· Original Tapioca Pearls/Boba  OR
· Chewy Tapioca Pearls/Boba  OR
· White Tapioca Pearls/Boba




  1. In a large saucepot, add 5 qt. of water and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  2. Place Tea Zone Original Tapioca Pearls (Boba) into the boiling water and stir to keep them separated and from clumping. 
  3. Cook on a rolling boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Then turn off the heat and let it sit for an additional 15 minutes while covered.
  5. Meanwhile, mix Dark Brown Sugar with 3 cups hot water and Tea Zone Logan Honey to create the sugar mixture.
  6. Carefully strain and rinse the boba in a large colander to remove excess starch before soaking in a sugar mixture.
  7. Let the boba soak for 10 minutes prior to serving, and stir the cooked boba every hour.
  8. Best used within 6 hours of preparing.

Best used within 6 hours of preparing.


Did you try the recipe? Share your creation with us on Instagram and use #lollicuprecipe !


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