Bubble tea is on a roll in the U.S. In the not-too-distant past, you could only find boba tea shops in major cities. Today, bubble tea shops are a common sight in airports, suburban malls, and college campuses.
If you own a bubble tea shop – or want to open one – you may be able to capitalize on this trend. By stocking the most popular flavors of boba tea, you can make sure that you have something for everyone. You can then differentiate your shop with different flavors and toppings.
Budget Branders works with independently owned bubble tea shops, coffee shops, bars and restaurants to provide them with the highest quality printed disposable products. Our cups, bowls, bags, and coffee sleeves can help you promote your brand for pennies on the dollar. Read on to learn more about the best bubble tea flavors – and reach out to us if you’d like a quote on boba tea cups for your business.
Why Does It Matter Which Boba Tea Flavors Are the Most Popular?
If you are opening up a bubble tea shop (or already own one), then you probably spend a lot of time thinking about your menu, including ingredients and supplies. After all, to be profitable, you will need to make sure that you have good tea, tapioca pearls with a nice chewy texture, and some fun extras.
One of the defining features of the bubble tea trend is creativity. Boba tea shops have brought some truly inventive foods to the U.S., like cheese foam, butterfly pea, and handmade boba. Recently, “tiger tea” – a type of brown sugar bubble tea – became an incredibly popular option.
With so many innovations in the boba tea world, you may be wondering why you should care what the most popular bubble tea flavors are. The reason why is relatively straightforward: you will appeal to more people when you have a menu that features the most loved boba tea flavors. You can still get creative – and may attract new patrons by doing so – but by keeping classic flavors, you can have the broadest possible customer base.
Below, we have compiled a list of the 18 most popular boba tea flavors (including drinks that don’t actually contain tea!). If you own a bubble tea shop, it may be a good idea to make sure that you feature these drinks.
The Top 18 Bubble Tea Flavors
Taro is a root vegetable that is native to Southeast Asia. Although taro is a root vegetable like a potato, it has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor with subtle hints of vanilla. That makes it a popular addition to sweet treats like bubble tea.
Taro bubble tea is made from a combination of taro root, jasmine tea, and tapioca pearls (boba). This combo produces a beautiful purple color that looks particularly striking with dark-colored boba. It’s no wonder that with great flavor and stunning color, taro bubble tea is incredibly popular around the world.
Strawberry boba tea is exactly what it sounds like: a bubble tea drink that tastes like strawberries! It can be made in many different ways, but often features strawberry boba balls – filled with flavorful strawberry juice that “pop” in your mouth. It may also be made with standard tapioca pearl boba.
Many bubble tea shops make their strawberry boba by creating a strawberry syrup from fresh strawberries, or using a pre-made strawberry syrup. This syrup is mixed into milk, which is then added to a cup of black or green tea. The final step is the boba of your choice – classic or popping strawberry boba!
Classic Milk Tea
Milk tea consists of tea, milk, and a sweetener. Hong Kong-style milk tea, for example, consists of black tea sweetened with evaporated or condensed milk. Milk tea is very popular throughout the world, and is called by different names in various countries.
Boba tea originated by combining tapioca pearls with milk tea. It is little wonder, then, that this flavor remains a classic. While it might be the most basic type of bubble tea, it is undeniably delicious!
If you have ever had Thai iced tea, then you can probably guess what goes into Thai bubble tea. Thai tea consists of strongly brewed black tea, spices like star anise, crushed tamarind and cardamom, and sweetened condensed milk. To make Thai boba tea, you simply add tapioca pearls to Thai iced tea. You’ll get the distinct orange color with swirls of white from the sweetened condensed milk – plus chewy dark-colored boba!
Matcha Milk Tea
Matcha is a finely ground powder made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves. The tea plants are grown in the shade, and the stems and veins are removed during processing. Because these plants are shade-grown, they produce more theanine and caffeine. The resulting powder is whisked into hot water instead of steeped like a traditional tea.
Matcha has a bright, vegetal taste, with a hint of sweetness and umami. To make matcha bubble tea, the matcha powder is swirled into hot water, then milk, a sweetener and boba are added. The bright green color of the matcha – which is typically layered on top of the sweetened milk – shows up beautifully in branded boba tea cups.
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
Also known as mudflip or tiger milk tea, brown sugar milk tea is one of the hottest bubble tea trends. It has a sweet caramel taste from the brown sugar, and looks gorgeous with “stripes” of brown and white.
The drink gets its distinctive look from a caramelized brown sugar syrup that is drizzled on the inside of the glass. Tapioca pearls are then added, with milk on top to finish the drink. For the mudflip version, the syrup and tapioca pearls are poured into the bottom of the cup, followed by a layer of milk. When a customer flips the drink over and back again, it creates a cool effect as the tapioca pearls drag the syrup through the milk to the bottom.
Vietnamese coffee is a traditional drink that uses a coarsely ground medium to dark roast coffee bean grown in Vietnam. The grounds are placed into a small metal filter, and hot water is poured over top. Once brewed, the coffee is poured over a glass of ice cubes and sweetened condensed milk is added.
Vietnamese coffee bubble tea is made by taking a cup of Vietnamese coffee and adding boba. These tapioca pearls are often simmered in a brown sugar syrup to complement the flavor of the coffee.
Jasmine Green Milk Tea
Jasmine tea comes from the flower of the jasmine plant, with green tea leaves, lychee, and citrus flavors added. It has a pleasant floral aroma and a sweet taste. To make jasmine green milk tea, you simply brew jasmine green tea, sweeten it with milk, and add boba pearls.
Bubble tea isn’t always a tea-based drink. A key example: the ever-popular mango smoothie boba.
This drink is made by blending frozen mango chunks, water, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. It is then poured into a glass that has boba pearls and brown sugar syrup on the bottom. Delicious!
An Oreo boba is more like a milkshake than a bubble tea – so it isn’t surprising that it’s a favorite! The drink is made by blending vanilla ice cream with milk and crushed Oreo cookies. The milkshake is then poured onto the tapioca pearls, and topped with whipped cream.
Honeydew Milk Tea
Honeydew bubble tea is a great choice if you prefer a lightly sweetened drink. It is made with either honeydew powder or fresh honeydew chunks, creamer or milk, a sweetener, and black tapioca pearls. The end result is a refreshing drink with a pale green color that highlights the dark boba!
Even if you’re a fan of bubble tea, you might prefer the taste of coffee – which is where coffee boba comes into play. This drink typically doesn’t contain any tea. Instead, it’s similar to an iced coffee, with the addition of a sweetener, dairy or dairy alternative, and boba. While it isn’t as visually stunning as taro milk tea or a Thai boba, it is absolutely delicious.
Black Sesame Bubble Tea
This drink looks like a cookies and cream milkshake, but instead of a super sweet chocolate drink, you’ll get a subtle nutty, toasty flavor. It is made from black sesame paste and brown sugar, which are mixed in hot water. It is then added to a cup with tapioca pearls, and topped with milk and whole black sesame seeds. If you’re into a more savory bubble tea, this drink is an excellent choice.
Pineapple Bubble Tea
If you’re a fan of flavors that are simultaneously sweet and tart, then pineapple bubble tea is a perfect option. This pale yellow drink is made with either fresh fruit or pineapple powder. It may be mixed with a flavored tea, or blended as a smoothie. No matter how it is made, the dark tapioca pearls really stand out – making for a visually stunning drink.
Horchata Milk Tea
This milk tea is a Latin-Asian fusion that is one of the most refreshing bubble teas available. Horchata is a drink that was created in Latin America, typically made from rice milk, cinnamon, and sugar. To make horchata milk tea, you simply add sweetened boba to the drink. Delicious!
Avocado Milk Tea
Avocado is one of the most popular fruits out there, and for good reason: it’s a nutritional powerhouse that also happens to taste great. To make avocado bubble tea, a ripe avocado is blended with ice, sweetened condensed milk, and a splash of regular milk. It is then poured into a cup that has tapioca pearls. This drink is smoothie-like, full of healthy fats and fiber, and not overly sweet.
Red Bean Bubble Tea
While it may not be a familiar flavor to many Americans, red beans are commonly used in desserts across Asia. The flavor of red beans is earthy, but it also has a natural sweetness. When blended, it has a smooth texture. It almost tastes like a mild dark chocolate.
Red bean milk tea is made with black tea, sweetened red bean paste, milk or cream, and sugar syrup to taste. It is then poured over the tapioca pearls. While the color isn’t as vibrant as some other bobas, it is a great alternative if you want a less sweet drink.
Lychee Bubble Tea
Lychee is a small, round fruit native to China. It has a mildly sweet flavor with a hint of tart citrus. Lychee bubble tea is a refreshing choice, particularly on a hot day.
The milk tea is made with either fresh lychee, a lychee powder, or a lychee syrup. Black tea or green tea are commonly used for this drink, together with a sugar syrup to sweeten, a dairy such as milk or cream, and boba.
How Budget Branders Can Help
Bubble tea has become so popular for two reasons: it tastes great and it looks cool. Boba tea might actually be the perfect drink for social media, as the tapioca pearls look great next to the vivid colors of the drink. If your patrons love to take pictures of your bubble tea creations, having your name and logo on the bubble tea cups is one of the easiest ways to get free advertising.
Budget Branders works with small to medium sized food service businesses, including bubble tea shops, to help them increase their marketing reach. We offer a range of products that can be customized to support your branding. All of our products are offered at prices – and in quantities – that work for independently owned and operated companies.
To learn more or request a quote, reach out today by filling out our online contact form or hitting the live chat button on the bottom right of your screen.