How Bubble Tea Pearls Are Made

Bubble tea, a popular beverage originating from Taiwan, has gained immense popularity worldwide for its unique combination of tea, milk, and chewy tapioca pearls. These tiny, flavorful bubbles bring an extra dimension to the drink, delighting taste buds with each sip. Have you ever wondered how these delectable pearls are made? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the fascinating process of crafting bubble tea pearls, uncovering the secrets behind their creation.

The Basics of Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca pearls, also known as boba, are the main ingredient responsible for the distinctive texture of bubble tea. Made from cassava root, a starchy tuber native to South America, tapioca pearls undergo a series of steps to transform into the chewy delights we know and love.

The process begins with harvesting and washing the cassava roots. Once cleaned, the roots are crushed to extract the starch, which is then processed into a fine powder. This starch is mixed with water and kneaded until it forms a dough-like consistency.

Shaping the Pearls

To create the iconic round shape of tapioca pearls, the dough is passed through a machine known as an extruder. The extruder uses pressure and heat to push the dough through small holes, forming thin tubes. These tubes are then cut into small pieces, creating individual tapioca pearls.

To prevent the pearls from sticking together, they are typically dusted with a starch coating. This coating helps maintain their shape and ensures they don’t clump during cooking.

Cooking the Pearls

Once the pearls are shaped, they undergo the cooking process, which gives them their signature chewy texture. The pearls are boiled in a large pot of water until they become soft and translucent. The cooking time can vary depending on the size and desired consistency of the pearls.

After boiling, the pearls are rinsed with cold water to remove excess starch and stop the cooking process. They are then soaked in a sweet syrup or sugar solution to infuse them with flavor and add a hint of sweetness.

Storage and Serving 

To maintain their freshness, cooked tapioca pearls are typically stored in a sweet syrup or sugar solution. This helps preserve their texture and prevents them from drying out or becoming hard. It is essential to store them properly to ensure they remain soft and chewy.

When serving bubble tea, a scoop of pearls is added to the cup along with the desired tea base, milk, and other flavorings. The pearls sink to the bottom, creating a delightful surprise for the drinker as they use a wide straw to enjoy both the tea and the pearls simultaneously.

Variations and Innovations

While classic tapioca pearls are most commonly used in bubble tea, there have been numerous variations and innovations over time. Today, you can find bubble tea pearls in a wide range of flavors, colors, and sizes. Some popular alternatives include fruit-flavored pearls, such as mango or strawberry, or even pearls infused with coffee or matcha flavors.

Additionally, creative minds have developed new types of pearls, including popping boba, which burst with fruity flavors when bitten, or jelly-like pearls made from ingredients like konjac or agar-agar.


Bubble tea pearls, those delightful chewy bubbles that add a unique touch to the popular beverage, undergo a meticulous process from cassava root to finished product. From shaping and cooking to storing and serving, each step contributes to the distinct texture and flavor of tapioca pearls

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