Bubble Tea: How Healthy is the TikTok Trend?

Bubble tea is currently making a comeback. The colorful drink is particularly popular on TikTok. But what is actually in bubble tea, how healthy is it and how do you make it yourself?

Was ist Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea consists of a basic drink, which can consist of tea, but also juice,  coffeemilk  or yoghurt. Syrup gives it its variegated colour. The highlight of bubble tea, however, are tapioca pearls (bubbles), which are previously placed in syrup and colored with food coloring. The tapioca pearls are the size of a hazelnut and have a consistency similar to chewy candy.

The bubble tea is drunk through a thick straw, some bubbles burst when you bite on them and release a sweet core. The trend originally comes from Taiwan. But what is actually in the bubble tea? Is it safe for everyone’s health? How can I make it myself at home? We answer these and other questions about the trend drink here.

Diverse flavors

There is a wide range of choices in bubble tea shops. Green or black tea can be used as a base, but often also juice, coffee, milk or  yoghurt . The extreme sweetness is created by fruit syrup, which can be added in a wide variety of flavors. There are also tapioca pearls, alternatively there are also fruit pearls on offer. Ice is sometimes added as an extra ingredient.

How Many Calories Does Bubble Tea Have?

Bubble tea is an extremely high-calorie drink with a lot of sugar. A medium-sized bubble tea of ​​around 300 milliliters has around 300 to 700 calories, depending on the ingredients. So it contains the equivalent of up to 16 sugar cubes. A single bubble tea can thus replace an entire meal. The tea should therefore not be an integral part of the diet, but should be enjoyed in exceptional cases.

The calories in bubble tea can be reduced a bit by ordering it with half the syrup and bubbles and choosing green or black  tea as the base drink  . In order to protect the environment and save plastic waste, it is advisable to bring your own cup from home to the shop. Extra thick straws are also available in a reusable version.

What are tapioca pearls made of?

Tapioca pearls are made from the starch of the cassava root. Also known as yuca and very common in Central and South America, cassava is a starchy root that is often processed into flour. The roots are 15 to 100 centimeters long and can weigh up to 15 kilograms.

There are also bubbles in bubble tea made from alginate. These then usually contain a liquid filling made of syrup. Alginate is the  salt  of brown algae and is mostly used as a thickening agent.

Who is bubble tea not suitable for?

Due to the many colors and additives, allergy sufferers should avoid bubble tea or make it themselves so that they know what is in it.

Children in particular can easily choke on the bubbles, which poses a risk of suffocation. Therefore, the drink is absolutely unsuitable for children – even if the colorful drinks are tempting.

From a nutritional point of view, however, everyone should be advised not to consume bubble tea simply because of the high sugar content.

Make your own bubble tea at home

Since tapioca pearls are no longer only available in Asian shops, but also in well-stocked supermarkets, a slightly healthier bubble tea can be easily made at home.

For this, chill 200 milliliters of green or black tea. Put about two to four tablespoons of tapioca pearls in a large glass and pour in the cold tea. Add   about 100 milliliters  of juice , for example mango juice, to taste and round off with 100 milliliters of sweetened condensed milk. Add a few ice cubes and enjoy!


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