I've Never Had a Bubble Tea

Educate me.

I've never had a bubble tea and I have absolutely no idea where to start.

Like what the hell are those things in them and are they something you eat? Are they tasty? Texture?

Also.. I mean.. start at the beginning.. is this a tea or a milkshake or what? How sweet are we talking here?

What should I order for my first one? Assume your goal is to make me a bubble tea convert, not do the old "3cm thick of Vegemite on toast" gag to Americans thing so they hate our country for all time.


  • +5

    save your money.

    • And… your calories.

  • +2

    I don’t have the milk variety, turns out like an iced tea with pearls, pearls is a must

    • What are the pearls? Can you suck then up the straw? Are they gluggy?

      • +2

        Tapioca balls. Yes with the straw. Soft outside and harder inside and a bit chewy.

  • +4

    I have only ever had 'Taro Milk Tea with Pearls' and I get it every time. Absolutely delicious and seems to be one of the most popular types.

    • How did you end up with that? I would never pick that unless someone gave me the inside tip.

      • My girlfriend at the time advised me it was a good one.

      • I had a colleague clue me onto it. I had to google what taro even was. But I have to agree, it's my go-to now when benchmarking a bubble tea joint.

    • +1

      How do I high-five you over the interweb?

      • High 5 recieved.

    • I've had taro milk tea from various shops and never liked it. I suggest OP go for the classic 'signature milk tea' flavour as a start.
      Do not go to Cha time - they taste incredibly bad.

  • My asian friends like it, but when I tried it, I found it to be absolutely revolting.

  • +3


    this is one of the best.

    Signature Brown Sugar Pearl Milk

    • As a very long time bubble tea, Only tried this around lockdown 3 or 4, or 12 (I forget these days what Fast and furious we up too) and can confirm this was the best I've ever had.

      • Looks yum but $40 (delivered) for 5 drinks?

        • dont diy. go to the store and buy a fresh one.
          which state are you located?

  • I've never had one either. Don't see the point in them when there are plenty of other beverages I like that I can just buy without waiting to have made up.

  • +3

    Start with Milk Tea with Pearls, and go from there.

  • +2

    Watch this 2min sketch from Ronnie Cheng's International Student comedy show. It summarises it quite well.


    • Lol. Thanks for sharing that.

  • +4

    Starting with the 'basics', there are two main types. Milk teas and fruit teas. The fruit flavour comes from syrups etc and Milk teas use syrups and/or powders (such as Taro Milk Tea). I think some places have fancier stuff from time to time with milk foam or shaved ice or other things.

    Most places should allow you to choose levels of ice and sugar. Some people prefer less ice to avoid having the flavour diluted. Some want more ice to make it as cold as possible (drinks that use powders for flavour often need hot water initally for things to mix well). Start with standard for both and go from there.

    Lots of toppings for you to choose from. Pearls (little chewy sweet balls - sorry for poor description) to jelly of various flavours. They add different textures to your drinks and make it more enjoyable depending on your thoughts on whether drinks should have chewy textures or not.

    I think for a safe starting point, go with a milk tea with pearls (or a brown sugar variant) as it's just a cold, sweet milk tea, or go with 'insert favourite fruit' tea with your choice of toppings.

  • This should have been titled: "AMA, I've never had a bubble tea"

    For the record I have NFI what a bubble tea is or why one would have it, or where one would get it, presumably why we have both not had one yet

    • +1

      It's a drink with tapioca balls in it.

      • Interesting, wonder the thought process of adding this to tea hehe. I'll give it a shot some time to see what it's about

    • +1

      It's a pleasure drink, tastes nice.
      in its most basic form, it's simply just tea with toppings in them such as Tapioca Pearls (balls).
      Can get them at dedicated bubble tea shops or any places making them.

      • Fair enough, they don't seem to have made it to regional vic yet then.

        When we can move again for leasure I'll see what it's about

  • I've never had a bubble tea

    Me either. Sloppy steaks maybe.

  • Amazing forum topic and that's coming from me

  • +1

    Just get a frozen coke with bursties from Hungry Jacks.

  • For bubble milk newbies, start with basic stuff like brown sugar milk tea + pearls or taro milk tea + pearls. Standard formula is milk + tea + sugar + texture. Move into the more exotic ones that add yogurt, fruit, mint, yakult, purple rice, tofu, cheese, sweet potato pearls later when you got the hang of the standard drinks.

  • -1

    You must have 6 packs belly

  • You will either love it or hate it. I fell into the love it camp and now have a bubble tea addiction. send halp

    Seriously tho, it's really just a sweet beverage. If you like sweet and/or milky drinks with an additional chewy bite then you might enjoy it.

    As many others have stated, start with the "basic"/"classic" bubble tea flavours like
    - Brown Sugar Fresh Milk with Pearls
    - Taro Milk Tea with Pearls
    - Regular Milk Tea with Pearls

  • Try it at home - just add half a cup of sugar to some water + milk

  • The tea itself is not hard to like. A safe bet and classic flavour is royal milk tea from Gong Cha (I usually opt for no ice and half sugar - it’s still plenty sweet).

    Some people find the pearls weird if they haven’t had them before. Just make sure to chew them properly - don’t just swallow!

  • Like what the hell are those things in them and are they something you eat? Are they tasty? Texture?

    These are Tapioca pearls, starch from the cassava root and are translucent. Texture when boiled with sugar is squishy and chewy.
    They are my fav and add texture to your drink. Otherr topings include different jellies like herbal, aloe, lychee etc, red bean, cream cheese foams etc etc.

    Also.. I mean.. start at the beginning.. is this a tea or a milkshake or what? How sweet are we talking here?

    Sweetness levels and ice levels can be adjusted when ordering. Usually 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% or 200%.

    They use tea, milk, syrup and a few other things then usually will shake to incorporate the mixture. They have HEAPS of variationsb

    What should I order for my first one? Assume your goal is to make me a bubble tea convert

    Best place to start is their original milk bubble tea with pearls. All Bubble Tea places have their signature milk tea but there are so many variations.

    Gongcha and Cha Time are the most accessible brands as they have a lot of branches. There ar too many to count so start with those two main ones to see if you like it first.

  • +4

    Only user Taro Mlik Tea can answer this with any authority

  • Costco has one and for $3 iit won't break the bank to try something for the first time.

  • They're nice but they're not something I would get often; depending on where you get them from, the prices can be absolutely absurd.

  • +1

    Give it a miss. Your colon will thank you
    A little read. https://www.thehealthy.com/food/bubble-tea-is-unhealthy/

  • +1

    Try the purple rice Yoghurt! Excellent

    • +1

      Yes found someone who typed this for me

      • Gotcha is better than Coco, sharetea is ok..

  • Do you like milk tea? If not then just go straight to fruity teas and pick your favourite fruit. Adjust the sugar for less if you don't like sweet things and the less ice the less diluted it will be.
    If you do like milk tea then get black sugar. Basically just a sweet milk tea. Taro is a purple root vegetable and I don't recommend it for newbies… The flavour will be pretty strange for your first go.
    The black stuff are little chewy sweet balls. If you prefer, get a jelly instead (coconut, lychee etc). A little more solid and neutral in flavour. The popping ones I find disgustingly sweet.

  • Great for travel bubbles.

  • I love it and usually stick to the basic signature milk tea with pearls. But I evaluated that i like the drink a lot more than the bubbles (which can be a hit or miss), so now I just use that $6.50 that I would spend on bubble tea and buy a packet of teh Tarik from the Asian shop, get 15 drinks instead of 1😂

    Bubbles don't keep well if you are a slow drinker. Husbands favourite is Taro milk tea with pudding, that's pretty good too

  • Overrated garbage drink with a lot of sugar.

  • Used to love the taro ones, but there is so much sugar in them that I can't consume even a little bit without feeling sick now.

    Try it, but get 1/2 or 1/4 sugar.

  • I find them ultra sweet, as for regular consumption watch this interesting trial https://youtu.be/xUXpOgSKTRY

  • I usually order a Pearl milk tea with less sugar (75%-80%) and no ice (sensitive teeth) which is probably the most basic drink available.

    Could stretch it to half sugar but I find that too bland since the appeal of the drink is still sweet/sugar.

    That's probably a good start to see if you like it or not, they make a good benchmark too as you can see which shop makes good tea.

    Then start exploring with flavours like mango, lychee, taro, chocolate, etc and if you are lactose intolerant, then the green tea or black tea. Change the toppings (pearls, mini pearls, popping pearls, 5 types of jelly) to your taste.

  • OK I'll play, Never Have I ever had a whole bottle of Absinthe….

  • The little things in it are tapioca balls, they're brown, chewy, gelatinous-like in texture, and are accompanied with sugar syrup. but you can have any toppings you want, depending on the store like jelly bits for example. Tapioca balls are just the most common and standard topping.

    There are many types of bubble tea, some are milk teas, others are fruit teas.
    You can usually choose how sweet you want it.

  • Pearls pearls pearls and more pearls 😷

  • It's like eati chunks of sweet snot

    Chewy tasty mucous

    But socially acceptable.

  • Bubble tea pizza.