Mililani - Waipio - Melemanu, Hawaii
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Mililani, HI 96789
(808) 200-1036

What’s the Story Behind Boba? February 21, 2019

Mililani - Waipio - Melemanu, Ewa
What’s the Story Behind Boba?, Ewa, Hawaii

No longer just a food trend, boba teas have become widely available. What sets them apart from other beverages are the bobbing black balls at the bottom called boba. When tossed into teas, smoothies, and iced coffee, these chewy pearls add a delightful texture. Here’s a brief history of how boba came to be as popular as it is today.

How Boba Became Famous

boba teasBoba is primarily made of tapioca starch and mixed with brown sugar, water, potassium sorbate, and guar gum to produce its characteristic dark color and chewiness. It’s believed that boba originated in Taiwan at Hanlin Teahouse, where it was first made in white back in 1986. Because it looked like pearls, its drink earned the name “pearl tea.” Afterward, Hanlin switched to black tapioca balls with brown sugar mixed in.

The name “bubble tea” derived from the bubbles that form in the drink when it’s shaken. However, “boba” is a Taiwanese slang word used to describe the tapioca balls.

Boba teas first became famous in East and Southeast Asia in the 1990s, then spread to North America in predominantly Asian neighborhoods. Thanks to the growing popularity of boba teas, numerous tea shops and cafes now offer the drink.  

What’s It Used For?

Boba doesn’t have much of a taste; instead, it soaks up the flavor of the beverage. Aside from milk teas and fruit-flavored drinks, you can add boba to coffee, slushies, or smoothies. Nowadays, a variety called popping boba is also available—it contains fruit juices, such as mango, strawberry, and lychee, that burst in the mouth.


For the yummiest boba teas on Oahu, drop by Blue Bubble Creamery in Mililani, HI. From bubble teas and smoothies to milkshakes and rolled ice cream, everything on the menu, including the boba, is made from the freshest ingredients. Call (808) 200-1036 today or check out their website for the sweetest deals.

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