Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a delicacy that began in Taiwan. The drink takes green tea and combines it with tapioca pearls to provide a “chewy” consistency. Calories will vary based on the recipe.
In 1983, Taiwan entrepreneur Liu Han-Chieh brought tapioca pearls to his country. Han-Chieh added the pearls to flavored tea to create the “bubble” effect. Pearls sit on the top and the bottom of the drink and move into the mouth through a thick straw.
Calories vary by ingredients. There are two primary boba beverages, one made with plain tea and another made with milk. A 16-ounce boba green tea has approximately 231 calories, according to LIVESTRONG's food database MyPlate. This may vary depending on the recipe and if there are significant additives other than the tea and the tapioca pearls.
Sugar and Fat
The most notable ingredient in boba tea is sugar. According to MyPlate, without milk there are 54 grams of carbohydrates, 100 percent of which are sugar. With milk the sugar content rises. While there are zero grams of fat in a 16-ounce boba green tea, that sugar will turn into fat without exercise and the expelling of that energy.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume 25 grams of sugar or less a day, and men consume 38 grams of sugar or less a day, so one 16-ounce serving of this beverage far exceeds both recommendations.
Boba green tea does not contain any protein without the addition of milk. While not every food or beverage you consume must contain protein, it's important to keep note that, according to Healthline.com, the average man should consume 56 grams of protein a day, while the average women should consume 46 grams of protein a day for optimal health. Adding empty calories to your diet in the form of a beverage like boba green tea can add up without providing any nutritional gain.
More About MyPlate
The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way — by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.