Find out if boba and bubble tea are safe for a gluten-free diet, plus how this ingredient and drink fits into a dairy-free diet.
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Do you love hitting up your favorite bubble tea shop for a delicious milky boba drink every once in a while?
If so, you may have wondered if the boba inside your bubble tea contains gluten and if it’s safe for you to enjoy if you’ve recently decided to cut gluten from your diet.
Though boba and bubble tea are sometimes synonymous, we’re going to talk about both as separate foods in this post. We’re going to discuss what each of these are and how they fit into a gluten-free diet.
We’ll also talk about if boba and bubble tea are good options for you if you’re also avoiding dairy and are on a dairy-free diet.
Next time you’re at the mall and pass the bubble tea shop, you can know for certain if you should stop and know what your choices are after you read through this post.
Let’s talk boba!
What is boba?
Boba, while the naming can differ based on who you ask, are the tapioca pearls that are often added to a popular tea and milk drink called bubble tea.
Boba is generally referred to as the dark tapioca pearls in the drink, but many people also call the drink itself boba. It can be a little confusing.
In the case of this post, we’re going to talk about boba and bubble tea (or boba tea) and two distinct things. Boba being the little pearls in the drink, and bubble tea being the drink that boba is added to.
What is bubble tea?
Bubble tea, or boba tea, is a milk and tea drink that has tapioca pearls in it. Though the drinks can vary in types of tapioca, tea, and sweetness, the idea is relatively the same across all variations. Tea, milk, and a chewy tapioca pearl (boba) mixed together into a delicious drink.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. If you purchase wheat bread, there will be gluten in it, because wheat by nature has gluten.
Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form of gluten or wheat derivatives. These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
Is tapioca gluten-free?
Tapioca is made by grinding a cassava root, then squeezing the liquid out of it. The remaining starch is then dried out and a tapioca powder is all that is left.
Since tapioca comes from the cassava root and not from wheat or other gluten-containing grains, it is considered gluten-free and safe for a gluten-free diet.
Read on: Is tapioca gluten-free?
Is boba gluten-free?
Boba is made from tapioca pearls, which are naturally gluten-free. The boba pearls themselves are gluten-free and safe for a gluten-free diet.
Is boba dairy-free?
Boba, the tapioca pearls, are not made with any dairy ingredients and are considered to be a dairy-free food.
Is bubble tea gluten-free?
Bubble tea is generally considered safe for a gluten-free diet, assuming no other ingredients that contain gluten are added to the drink. Milk, tea, boba, and simple syrup are all gluten-free naturally, so this drink should be safe for folks who are following a gluten-free diet.
Is bubble tea dairy-free?
Bubble tea almost always contains dairy if you’re buying it from a shop. Most places use whole milk to make their bubble tea creamy. That said, some places offer dairy-free milks in their bubble tea, so if you’re a big bubble tea fan, look for a place that has these options if you’re avoiding dairy in your diet.
If you love boba and bubble tea, I hope this post helped you make a decision about whether or not this is a good choice for you to include in your diet. Boba is naturally gluten-free, and most bubble tea is considered safe for a gluten-free diet. Enjoy this drink if you’re gluten-free, but do some research for a dairy-free bubble tea shop if you also avoid dairy.