Although tea itself is healthy, providing antioxidants that may help lower your risk for heart disease and cancer, bubble tea isn't very nutritious. The "bubbles" in these teas consist of tapioca pearls, and the tea is often sweetened with sugar and sometimes sweetened condensed milk as well. These additional ingredients make it higher in calories and sugar and harder to fit into a healthy diet.
The typical bubble tea isn't healthy. The recipe varies, but may contain as much as 1/2 cup of cooked tapioca pearls, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 cup sweetened condensed milk per serving. This is far more than the American Heart Association's recommended limit of 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women or 9 teaspoons per men. Adding these ingredients to calorie-free tea adds 453 calories to your beverage.
A Healthier Version
Making this drink with the tapioca pearls along with just 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and a mix of low-fat milk and coconut milk instead of the sweetened condensed milk results in a slightly healthier tea drink with 150 calories per serving. Although still a bit high in sugar, with half of the recommended limit for added sugar for women, it is low enough in fat and calories to justify indulgence as an occasional treat.