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Is Boba Tea Vegan? Here’s What You Need to Know

The struggle is real! You want it, but is it vegan?

Food & Drink

The struggle is real! You want it, but is it vegan?

Whether you call it boba tea or bubble tea, the drink has gained popularity in recent years. The sweet, refreshing beverage, originating from Taiwan, features tapioca pearls or “boba” as a key ingredient. It’s cooling. It’s delicious. But is boba tea vegan? Here is what you need to know.

What Is Boba Tea?

Boba tea typically consists of a flavored tea base, milk (either dairy or non-dairy alternatives), sweeteners, and tapioca pearls. It is the tapioca pearls that raise concerns for vegans due to their origin and the ingredients used in their preparation.

Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca pearls, also called boba, are small, chewy spheres made from tapioca starch. Traditionally, tapioca pearls are cooked by boiling them in water until they become translucent and tender. Sounds good so far, right? Well, not quite.

While there can be variations in ingredients based on brands and recipes, tapioca pearls typically consist of tapioca starch, water, and a sweetener—sugar, brown sugar, and sometimes … here comes the part that makes them not vegan … honey. Some tapioca pearls also include additives like food coloring, preservatives, or flavorings.

Milk Options: Dairy vs. Non-Dairy

Additionally, traditional boba tea often contains dairy milk. But with the rise of plant-based eating, many bubble tea shops are beginning to understand the assignment and are offering a variety of plant-based milk options such as almond, soy, and coconut.

So, Is Boba Vegan?

In most cases, boba tea can indeed be vegan-friendly, as long as you ensure that the tapioca pearls are free from animal-derived additives and the milk used is plant-based. By reading ingredient labels, asking questions, and selecting non-dairy milk options, you can sip boba with confidence.

VegOut Team

VegOut Team

Our team works hard to bring you engaging content to support you on your plant-based journey. We cover the best vegan food and lifestyle products, news, events, and more.

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