Given how popular milk tea is in Berkeley, I get a lot of confused looks after I tell people that I don't drink boba. I can understand why, since it’s almost as common to see a student walk into lecture with a Sharetea drink as it is to see one with a Peet’s coffee. So many people drink boba that it's almost safe to assume that everyone is fan, but that is not the case. Though I may be in the minority on this one, there are serious reasons why you should rethink your next boba outing.

1. The costs add up real fast

Holly Park

Even without toppings, a regular boba drink can range anywhere from $3 to $5. If you buy a drink twice a week, the costs could rack up to almost $200 per semester! Imagine if there were a section labeled “Boba funds” on your estimated cost of attendance. For more frequent boba consumers, the costs could look closer to how much you drop on textbooks. Imagine all the cash you could save if you didn't drink boba—or as much boba.

2. Just because it has tea, doesn't mean it's healthy

Holly Park

In fact, the nutritional value of milk tea borders on the level of a Starbucks Frappuccino. According to the ReThink Your Asian Drink campaign, a regular boba drink typically has 300 calories and 19 grams of sugar, and the more complicated drinks can have upwards of 500 to 600 calories and nearly 50 grams of sugar. At that point, that order of milk tea becomes equivalent to a meal. Biggest reason why I don't drink boba? I'd rather eat my calories, not drink them.

3. There are better and healthier alternatives

coffee, matcha, green tea, tea
Holly Park

I say stick with the “tea” part. Just by itself, green tea is pretty powerful. It offers a boost to your immune system and even has the caffeine you need to stay mentally alert in class. If that’s not your cup of tea, choose another kind! There are so many different types of teas that offer unique health benefits. Buy them in bulk and you will have a long-lasting supply to keep you from going out for boba.

You can also try making your own milk tea at home with store-bought tapioca balls. That way, you control what goes into your drink while also making a more cost-effective choice. 

Holly Park

If that’s too much effort, consider drinks that are lower in sugar, or finding shops that don’t use artificially-flavored syrups. Given the vast number of options on the menu and the numerous shops that surround the Berkeley campus, you're bound to find another drink that will satisfy your sweet tooth and be a little more friendly to your waistline.

#SpoonTip: Ask workers for less sugar or syrup in your drinks!

Holly Park

If you only like your order just as it is, I respect that. But, even limiting your drinks a little bit can go a long way. Maybe consider using that cash towards a new restaurant you've been meaning to try, or splurging a little more on your groceries.

Change is hard, but I guarantee that these alternatives will lead to a healthier lifestyle and won’t make it as scary to check the status of your bank account. Even if you can't resonate with the reasons for why I don't drink boba, at least I won't sound 100% crazy the next time I decline a boba-run invite.