The ever-loved tea-based drink called “boba tea” originated in small tea shops from Taiwan during the 1980s has made its way across the ocean to America, where it gained popularity rapidly. I mean, we've all been on at least one boba date, right?

But what exactly is boba?

The boba (aka the tiny, chewy black balls at the bottom of the drink) is made from tapioca, which is a gluten-free starch extracted from the root of a cassava plant. Boba is most often added to a drink, most commonly made from a tea base mixed with milk and flavoring. So basically, you get a snack and drink all in one. 

Photo By Kelly Logan

One of the best things about boba? You can add it to tons of different drinks outside of the typical milk tea. You can add it to smoothies, coffee, juice, matcha, and whatever your heart desires. Feeling adventurous? Try tea and juice flavors like taro or lychee that are native to Asian countries. It’s like a vacation for your tastebuds. 

What other boba options can I add to my tea?

Plus, boba tea goes beyond just the black tapioca pearls seen in most drinks. At many boba shops, you can most likely also order clear tapioca pearls, popping boba (little balls filled with fruit juice), and square-shaped grass jelly boba.  

Truly, the world is your oyster when it comes to mixing drink flavors and boba textures. A "bobarista" even shared their favorite combos with Spoon University. 

If you haven’t already tried boba, the closest places you can find boba drinks here in Gainesville is at Frosty Fox, Tyummi Boba Bar, Tea Moment, and more. You can also find boba in most Asian markets or make your own at home. Trader Joe's sells an at-home kit, Amazon shares a wide array of boba options, and Bobabam is a rising brand offering up delicious microwaveable boba packs. 

Check out these other related articles:

A Comprehensive Guide To Boba Tea Toppings

Boba Recommendations From A Former "Bobarista"