Does Bubble Tea Contain Dairy?






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Bubble tea, also known as boba tea or pearl milk tea, has become increasingly popular in recent years. This Taiwanese drink typically consists of tea, milk, and chewy tapioca pearls that sit at the bottom of the cup. However, with the rise of lactose intolerant individuals and those with milk allergies, questions have been raised about whether or not bubble tea contains dairy. After all, milk is a common ingredient in many variations of the drink. In this article, we will explore the various components of bubble tea and determine whether or not it contains dairy. We will also look at alternative ingredients for those who are dairy-free but still want to enjoy this tasty beverage.


Bubble tea is a famous Taiwanese drink that has gained popularity worldwide due to its unique taste and texture. It is a sweet and refreshing beverage that consists of tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls. However, many people are not sure whether bubble tea contains dairy or not. In this article, we will explore the ingredients of bubble tea to determine if it contains any dairy products.

What is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and has since become a popular drink all over the world. Also known as boba or pearl milk tea, bubble tea consists of brewed black or green tea mixed with fruit flavors or syrups. The drink gets its name from the bubbles that form when the ingredients are shaken together.

Ingredients in Bubble Tea

The traditional recipe for bubble tea includes black or green tea mixed with milk, sugar syrup, and chewy tapioca pearls. However, there are numerous variations of this recipe available today that use different types of teas and flavorings.

The most common types of milk used in bubble teas are cow’s milk or non-dairy creamers made from soybeans or coconut oil. While some recipes call for condensed milk to be added to make it creamier.

Is There Dairy in Bubble Tea?

Whether there is dairy in a particular cup of bubble depends on how it was prepared by the barista making your beverage at your local shop –– so ask them!

If using cow’s milk instead of non-dairy creamers such as soybean creamer while preparing Bubble Tea then Yes! It Contains Dairy Products; otherwise No! it does not contain any dairy products.

It is important to note here that some people may experience an allergic reaction if they consume even small amounts of lactose-containing foods like cow’s milk.

When ordering at your local shop whether you can’t have any lactose tell them beforehand as they may offer non-dairy milk options like soy, coconut, almond or oat milk.

What is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is a unique drink with a sweet taste and chewy texture that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. It has since become popular worldwide, especially among young people. In this section, we will explore the history and evolution of bubble tea.

Bubble tea can contain dairy products like cow’s milk, but it ultimately depends on the recipe used by the barista making the drink. Those with lactose intolerance or on a vegan diet can still enjoy bubble tea as many shops offer non-dairy options like soy or almond milk. However, it’s important to consume bubble tea in moderation as it can be high in calories and sugar.

The Origins of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea was first created by a Taiwanese teahouse owner named Liu Han-Chieh in the 1980s. He had the idea to add fruit flavors to traditional milk teas, which became an instant hit among his customers.

One day, Han-Chieh added tapioca balls (also known as boba) to his drink as a playful experiment. This addition transformed his beverage into something new and exciting that quickly became popular throughout Taiwan.

Evolution of Bubble Tea

After its initial success in Taiwan, bubble tea began to spread globally with variations on the recipe based on local preferences. For example:

  • In Japan: Matcha green tea was used instead of black or green teas.
  • In Thailand: Fresh fruits or fruit syrups were added for more natural flavors.
  • In America: Newer versions included non-dairy creamers for lactose intolerant individuals.

Nowadays, there are many different types of bubble teas available worldwide with various flavors and ingredients that cater to everyone’s tastes and dietary requirements.

How is it Made?

Bubble tea is typically made by combining brewed black or green tea with milk or non-dairy creamer along with sugar syrup for sweetness — although there are some variations where sugar syrup isn’t used at all!

The mixture is then shaken together until it forms bubbles giving it its name “bubble”! A scoopful of chewy tapioca pearls can be added at this point along with other toppings like grass jelly cubes, lychee jelly pieces or fruit bits depending on customer preference!

Some shops may offer fresh alternatives such as fresh fruit juice, fresh fruits or vegetable juice and even tea infusions with sparkling water instead of milk.

Health Benefits of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea contains antioxidants from the tea leaves used in its preparation, which have been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved heart health and reduced risk of cancer.

Tapioca pearls are made from cassava root starch, a gluten-free alternative for those sensitive to gluten. They do contain carbohydrates so it’s best to enjoy bubble tea in moderation if you’re watching your sugar intake!

Non-dairy milk options like soy or almond milk offer a lactose-free option for individuals with lactose intolerance.

Ingredients of Bubble Tea

Bubble tea is a unique beverage that consists of several ingredients that give it its sweet taste and chewy texture. In this section, we will take a closer look at the different components of bubble tea.

Bubble tea may or may not contain dairy, depending on the type of milk or creamer used in its preparation. Traditional recipes often include cow’s milk, but non-dairy options such as soy milk, almond milk, and coconut creamer are now widely available to cater to the dietary needs of lactose intolerant individuals or those who follow a vegan diet. It is important to ask the barista about the ingredients and to consume bubble tea in moderation, especially if sweetened.


The base ingredient in bubble tea is brewed black or green tea. The type of tea used can vary depending on the recipe and flavor preferences.

Black teas are known for their robust flavor and are typically used in classic bubble teas. Green teas, on the other hand, have a milder taste and are often paired with fruity flavors to balance out their natural bitterness.

Some shops may use freshly brewed loose-leaf teas instead of pre-made tea powders for added quality.

Milk or Non-Dairy Creamers

Milk or non-dairy creamers are added to give bubble tea its creamy texture. While traditional recipes use cow’s milk, there are now many non-dairy options available such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut creamer among others allowing for an inclusive option catering to those who cannot tolerate lactose or other dairy ingredients.


Sugar syrup is often added to bubble teas for sweetness which enhances its overall flavour profile although some shops may offer unsweetened alternatives like using honey instead while others don’t offer any sweeteners altogether!

Some shops may also offer customisable sugar levels so you can control how much sugar goes into your drink which is especially useful if you’re watching your sugar intake!

Tapioca Pearls (Boba)

Tapioca pearls (boba) provide the chewy texture that sets apart Bubble Tea from regular iced drinks! These tiny balls made from tapioca starch come in various sizes ranging from small to large depending on personal preference!

The pearls themselves do not contain any dairy products but be aware when ordering as some shops add condensed milk into them making them not vegan-friendly!

An important note here would be to chew them properly to avoid choking as they can be quite sticky.

Flavors and Toppings

Bubble tea flavors range from classic milk teas like taro, matcha, jasmine, and honeydew to fruity options like mango, strawberry and passion fruit.

Toppings options include:

  • Jelly cubes: made from agar or grass jelly cubes which are a sweet treat on their own.
  • Puddings: Depending on the toppings offered by the shop you can get dessert-like pudding in chocolate or caramel flavours.
  • Fruit bits: Fresh fruits like kiwi, lychee or strawberries may be used as toppings adding freshness and natural sugars.

Bubble tea is a popular drink that has taken the world by storm due to its unique taste and texture. Many people are curious about whether bubble tea contains dairy or not, especially those who have lactose intolerance or are vegan. In this section, we will explore the question of whether bubble tea contains dairy.

Cow’s Milk in Bubble Tea

Traditional recipes for bubble tea call for cow’s milk to be added to give it a creamy texture and enhance its flavor profile. However, some shops may use non-dairy creamers such as soybean creamer which don’t contain any milk products so if you’re worried about dairy then make sure to ask your local shop what ingredients they use!

If cow’s milk is used in the preparation of your beverage then yes! It Contains Dairy Products.

Non-Dairy Options

Thankfully, many shops now offer non-dairy options like soy milk, almond milk or coconut creamer which can replace cow’s milk in bubble teas making them vegan-friendly and lactose-free catering to individuals with dietary restrictions.

It is important when shopping for these alternatives that you check if they contain added sugars as most plant-based milks found commercially have added sugars making them quite sweet compared to unsweetened alternatives.

Some shops may even let you choose between different types of non-dairy milks so make sure to ask your local shop beforehand!

Health Considerations

Bubble tea, especially the ones that contain dairy products like cow’s milk, can be high in calories and sugar making them not so good for your health if consumed frequently.

It is recommended to consume bubble tea in moderation and opt for unsweetened alternatives or customise your drink with less sugar if you’re watching your sugar intake.

Non-dairy options are also available which may be a better alternative for individuals with lactose intolerance or a vegan diet.## FAQs

Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, is a popular Taiwanese drink that has gained popularity around the world. It is a tea-based drink that can be served hot or cold and is often flavored with a variety of fruit or milk-based ingredients. Traditionally, the drink features chewy tapioca pearls, which is where the name ‘bubble tea’ comes from, but now, there are many different types of ‘bubbles’ used including fruit jelly, boba, and popping boba.

Does bubble tea have dairy in it?

Not all types of bubble tea contain milk or dairy products. The base of bubble tea can be made from ingredients like black tea, green tea, or oolong tea. If you order a plain tea-based bubble tea, you most likely won’t find any dairy in it. However, some bubble tea recipes add milk to make the drink creamier and smooth. Popular milk types used include almond or coconut milk.

What is non-dairy milk used in bubble tea?

Non-dairy milk such as almond milk, soy milk and oat milk is a popular alternative to the traditional dairy milk added to bubble tea. Its addition to bubble tea usually gives a nutty, smooth, and creamy texture. Its plant-based origin makes it a great option for those with a lactose intolerance or anyone looking for vegan bubble tea.

Can I make my own dairy-free bubble tea at home?

Yes, it is possible and quite easy to make dairy-free bubble tea at home. All you need is the base tea, a sweetener of your choice, and your preferred non-dairy milk. You can also add fruit, jelly, or boba to make your own personalized and unique bubble tea recipe. You can choose the right non-dairy milk to suit your taste preference or dietary needs. Just a quick search on YouTube or Google, and you will find endless dairy-free bubble tea recipes to follow.

Jessica Hartley

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