Boba or bubble tea is the new favorite beverage among tea lovers. The cold milk tea made with chewy tapioca balls or boba makes it quite different from your usual iced tea.
While others don’t have to think twice before sipping on this cold beverage, it’s not the same for celiacs or gluten-sensitive people. They often wonder what the gluten status of boba is or if boba is gluten free or not.
Boba is naturally gluten free. Boba pearls are made from the starch of cassava root, which does not contain any gluten. But boba tea may have other ingredients which may add gluten to it.
It’ll be great to know if boba tea is safe for gluten sensitivities or not so that celiacs can get better clarity. I’ll talk more in detail about boba and its gluten status here in this article. Therefore, continue reading till you find the answers.
Table of Contents
Is Boba Gluten Free?
Yes, boba is gluten free. Boba or tapioca pearls are made from the extracts of cassava root, which does not contain gluten. When we hear the word starch, the next thing that immediately strikes our mind is gluten. But that’s not the case here.
The cassava plant isn’t a part of the gluten family. Plus, gluten is found in grains like wheat, barley, or rye, and cassava isn’t a grain. Cassava starch is made by grinding the root into a fine powder without adding any other ingredients.
But the thing of concern here is that boba tea includes quite a few ingredients apart from tapioca pearls. There might be chances that the other ingredients used in boba tea may contain gluten. Therefore, whenever you order boba at any food joint, make sure to ask what ingredients they are using.
Most boba teas come with add-ons. While most of these are fruit based, there are options to add bran based additives that may have gluten. Hence, you have to be extremely mindful of what additives you are getting in your boba tea.
Twisted Tea is another popular iced tea beverage. There is a lot of confusion about the gluten status of Twisted Tea as well. I have a detailed guide on Twist Tea as well if you want you can check it out here.
Also Read:- Are Slim Jims Gluten Free?
What Is Boba And How Is It Made?
Boba or tapioca pearls are tiny chewy balls made by kneading cassava roots. At first, the cassava root is dried and ground to a fine powder. Then the tapioca flour is mixed with boiling water and kneaded into a fine dough.
Small portions of the dough are then cut and rolled into spherical pieces. The final step is to make tiny chewy dark pearls from it. That’s it. It’s plain and simple without adding any other ingredient.
Is Boba Healthy?
Boba does not have a lot of health benefits, to be frank. Boba balls contain a very high amount of carbohydrates, and it’s very high in calories as well. For example, one cup of tapioca flour contains 550 calories and 135 grams of carbs.
Also, we don’t eat the boba balls alone. Boba tea, which includes tapioca balls, is very high in sugar, and long-term consumption of it may lead to diabetes.
Tapioca flour does contain some amount of dietary fiber, iron, and manganese, but the high calorie and carbs do not make it a good option for regular consumption.
Is Boba Dairy Free and Vegan?
Boba or tapioca balls are dairy-free and vegan. Since these balls are made only from cassava starch, there are no dairy or animal derivatives in the boba. But boba tea may not be dairy-free and vegan.
Is Bubble Tea Gluten Free?
Bubble tea may not be gluten free. Apart from tapioca pearls, bubble tea has fruit, fruit juices, milk, and other ingredients as well. Sometimes bubble teas use brand additives that are not gluten free.
If you are on a gluten free diet or can’t tolerate gluten, don’t forget to ask the makers about the ingredients. But only the absence of gluten ingredients does not make boba tea safe for celiacs.
If the tea is made in shared utensils, the risk of cross-contamination increases, making it again unsafe for gluten allergic people.
Is There Dairy In Bubble Tea?
Most boba teas are made with dairy milk which is why they are not dairy-free or vegan friendly. But nowadays, many makers provide non-dairy boba tea as well, which is made using almond milk or soy milk.
Check Out This Delicious Gluten Free Boba Tea Recipe
The boba tea you get outside has the risk of cross-contamination and also you don’t always get gluten free boba tea. So why not make your own gluten free boba tea at the safe premises of your home kitchen.
Here is the recipe I follow, and trust me, it tastes fantastic. It’s not only gluten free but also dairy-free and vegan. Let’s check out the ingredients and cooking method-
1. Gluten Free Boba Tea
- ¾ cup boba tapioca pearls
- 1 cup organic rolled oats
- 6 tea bags
- 10 cups water
- 2 tbsp agave nectar or any sweetener you prefer
First, you have to make the oat milk. Soak oats for ten minutes, and then add them to a blender with four cups of water. Blend at high speed for one minute and drain the milk through a nut milk bag. Don’t squeeze out the oat milk as it can make it slimy.
Boil the rest of the six cups of water and steep in the tea bags. Let the tea brew for 5 to 10 minutes, and then let it cool. Add the sweetener as well.
Take another pot and boil water. Add the tapioca balls and boil them on low heat for about five minutes. When the pearls get dark in color, you can turn off the flame. Rinse them with cold water to not make them very gooey.
Take a glass, add the tapioca pearls at the bottom, then add tea and pour milk on top. You can add ice cubes if you like it more chilled. Your gluten free and vegan bubble tea is ready.
Tapioca or boba balls are gluten free, but boba tea or bubble tea may not be gluten free. But you can make gluten free boba tea at your home. Check out the delicious gluten free boba tea recipes I shared, and let me know how it turned out.
Do Tapioca Pearls Have Gluten?
No, tapioca pearls don’t have gluten. These are made only from cassava starch which is not a gluten plant.
Is Taro Boba Gluten Free?
Yes, taro boba is gluten free. Taro roots are also not a part of the gluten grain family; hence taro boba is free from gluten as well.
Is Brown Sugar Boba Gluten Free?
Yes, brown sugar boba is gluten free. Brown sugar does not contain gluten, so the boba pearls made out of it are gluten free too.
Is Crystal Boba Gluten Free?
Yes, crystal boba is again gluten free. Crystal boba is made from the Konjac plant, and it does not belong to the gluten family.