What are the balls in bubble tea made of?

The balls in bubble tea, commonly known as "boba" or tapioca pearls, are made primarily from tapioca starch, which is derived from the cassava root. The process of making tapioca pearls involves several steps:

  1. Preparing the Tapioca Starch: Tapioca starch is mixed with water to form a dough-like consistency.

  2. Shaping the Pearls: The dough is rolled into small balls or pearls, typically ranging in size from 5 to 10 millimeters in diameter.

  3. Cooking: The tapioca pearls are boiled or simmered until they become translucent and chewy. This process usually takes about 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. Sweetening: After cooking, the tapioca pearls are often soaked in a sugar syrup to add sweetness and flavor.

Once prepared, the tapioca pearls are added to the bottom of a cup along with the other ingredients of bubble tea, such as tea, milk, fruit flavors, and ice. When drinking bubble tea, the tapioca pearls are consumed along with the beverage through a wide straw, adding texture and a unique chewy consistency to the drink.