What is Popping Boba vs. Bubble Tea?

by Jadeeyah Abang

It isn’t uncommon for some people to be confused with popping boba and bubble tea since bubble tea is sometimes called boba tea. Besides, you may have seen others using the words "boba" and "bubble tea" interchangeably—which can make things a lot more confusing! 

Well, if you are just as confused as the others, here are the answers from the bubble tea experts of Bubblish in Zürich.

Are popping boba vs. bubble tea the same thing?

Nope! Popping boba and bubble tea are completely two different things. Bubble tea is the whole drink while popping bobas are just one of the ingredients.

Now that we cleared that up, here’s another common misconception: that popping bobas and just bobas are exactly the same. The thing is, all popping bobas are bobas, but not all bobas are popping bobas. 

Okay, then. But what are popping bobas?

Popping bobas —also called popping pearls—are a type of boba that is made quite differently. Traditional bobas are tapioca balls that look like gelatin pearls, though it is completely gelatin free. Popping bobas are almost the same, except they would burst with deliciously flavored juices when someone squeezes them or bites into them!


The popping science behind popping boba

You might be wondering how can popping pearls burst with juices while traditional tapioca pearls remain solid when bitten. Well, that's because, unlike tapioca pearls, popping bobas are made using what is called a spherification process, a popular food molecular technique!


The said process relies on the reaction of Seaweed extract (Sodium Alginate) with Calcium Chloride or more commonly known as Salt, a process which immediately creates a gel shell around the flavored juices making popping boba! You may want to remember this fun fact so you can impress some friends when you all go out to drink some bubble tea. 


Going loca about popping boba

Another thing you should know about these bursting bobas is how the world is going crazy about them - so crazy that people around the globe include them in smoothies, slushies, and even frozen yogurt! In fact, you can even find dessert recipes where popping pearls are paired with ice cream.


Also, bubble tea shops and boba stores have started making so many flavors of these popping pearls. Bubblish, for example, offers more than 10 popping boba flavors! This includes strawberry, passion fruit, mango, green apple, lychee, peach, blueberry, lemon, cherry, kiwi, and pomegranate (and there's probably more to come - look out in Q1 2023).


So, if you want to have a good time with your good friends while drinking some good boba tea, visit Bubblish in Zürich and taste our amazing popping boba flavors. Or, you can visit our online shop to get your bubble tea ingredients so you can create your very own and drink them in the comfort of your home. 


We also offer DIY kits that come with recipes on how to make some of our drinks so you don't have to worry about making boba tea on your own. If you want, you can even do it with your friends or family so you can enjoy the drink together afterwards.


Meanwhile, if you are still confused about popping boba and bubble tea, feel free to contact Bubblish!

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