Bubble tea is the latest favorite in the top preferred list of beverages other than soft drinks, for most Asian-Americans. But the good news is that this novel introduction has even made its way through the stomachs and the hearts of a large number of non-Asians as well. That too in a rather short time span.
The only question bothering a majority of these consumers now is whether bubble tea is actually vegan? Does bubble tea have dairy? Well, with a large section of the world turning to veganism, it only makes sense to explore the reality of this favorite refreshing drink in detail like we explored soft drinks on are sodas vegan. So here goes.
Bubble Tea – Vegan or Not?
What is Bubble Tea – Popularly called Boba, bubble tea is a tasty and refreshing cool beverage that’s made from tea, milk and tapioca pearls – all added together in a single drink to create magic. And to enhance its taste, customers are given the choice to select their own mixture – whether they like green, black or red tea, cream or no cream (or milk), and any toppings of their choice.
Is Boba Tea Vegan?
Yes, Boba Tea is vegan as Boba is vegan and the boba tea is highly customizable, so, you can prepare it as you wish to make it. You can add any cruelty-free milk for preparing this popular tea.
Why is Boba So Popular?
If it sounds so simple and nearly similar to tea or iced tea, how come bubble tea has gained such popularity in such a short time? Did you know that this cold milk tea has been in the market since 1980s when it was first served to customers? However, it wasn’t until recently that it became a household name. What makes Boba different from other sodas or cool drinks at the café?
One thing that definitely stands out is the Boba itself – the sweet and chewy tapioca pearls. But yet another thing that differentiates this beverage from its competitors is that it can be tailor-made to an infinite extent. First, there are tens of flavors to choose from and then each single brand of bubble tea comes with a host of its own flavors exclusive to that specific brand.
Add all of them up and you get a large variety that is enough to be left spoiled for choice! Then each ingredient that goes into the drink is individually customisable. The tea used (as stated above), or the sweetener, the toppings or the tapioca sinkers – you can choose whatever you like, however you like it.
How is Boba Vegan?
True, the instant and immense success of bubble tea can be safely accredited to the use of Boba (unique pearl-like ingredient) in it which is sweet, chewy and sinks at the bottom of your cup. But most people (particularly vegans) are now growing apprehensive over the exact composition of Boba. How is it chewy and what lends Boba tea’s bubble-like texture? Most important, is it really vegan?
To start with, the skepticism emerges from the doubt that most vegans have doubts over ‘does Boba have gelatin’– an animal-derived product. The truth of the matter is that Boba is actually prepared from tapioca – a starch derived from the cassava root. This explains the name tapioca pearls given to Boba and hopefully puts the vegan argument to rest as well.
That said, it can’t be denied that the Boba drink is extremely customizable and customers as well as store-owners are free to insert their own creativity at making the drink “better to taste”. This is why it can be said that all bubble teas, especially the store-bought ones, may not be 100% vegan. This is because the tapioca may be safe to consume for vegans but a few stores may be using honey to sweeten their pearls. And honey which isn’t vegan.
Besides, a lot of people go for egg-made pudding as a favorite topping over bubble tea. Again, milk being a dairy product may also not go down well with most vegans. This in no way implies that you can’t enjoy vegan bubble tea at all. There are several milk substitutes – almond or soy milk, or no milk at all, and vegan toppings like lychee jelly or rainbow jelly.
So go ahead and enjoy your vegan bubble tea to your heart’s content by preparing it at home or by customizing it at the store.