Bubble tea is a delicious, refreshing drink that can be enjoyed almost any time of year. But like most foods, drinks, and snacks, bubble tea can have its own nutritional quirks- including a surprisingly high-calorie content. So, how many calories are there in bubble tea, and what can you do to make it a healthier choice?
In this blog post, we’ll break down the tea calorie count for several different types of bubble tea and provide some tips for making healthier choices. Also, we will briefly touch on the health benefits of bubble tea so you can rest assured knowing that this tasty beverage can still be part of a well-rounded diet.
But first thing first – let’s take a look at how many calories are in bubble tea.
The ingredients used in bubble tea
Before we can answer the question “How many calories are in bubble tea?” we need to know what goes into making it. This is because the calorie content of bubble tea will vary depending on the ingredients used.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common ingredients in bubble tea:
When it comes to tea, two main types are used in bubble tea- black tea and green tea. Black tea is typically used more often because it has a stronger flavor. However, green tea is also popular because it’s associated with more health benefits. For black tea, we have many variations that are typically used, such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Darjeeling.
The calorie content of tea will depend on the type of tea used. Various green tea variations are normally used, such as matcha, Sencha, and Dragonwell. Tea doesn’t play an important role in counting the calories of bubble tea.
The calorie content of the tea base (black tea, green tea, etc.) is generally low, ranging from about 0 to 10 calories per cup, depending on the type and any additives.
Milk is one of the main ingredients in bubble tea that can contribute to the calorie content. Boba tea is typically made with either whole, condensed, or non-dairy alternatives like soy or almond milk. Unless you prefer fruit tea, milk is an essential ingredient in bubble tea that gives the drink its creamy texture. Another usually preferred alternative is sweetened condensed milk because it provides bubble tea a richer flavor.
Most bubble tea shops that sell boba use powdered milk because it’s a cheaper option. However, this kind of milk is typically high in calories and unhealthy trans fats. If asked, we recommend avoiding bubble tea made with powdered milk and using whole milk, condensed milk, or a non-dairy milk alternative instead.
Fruit tea is a variation of bubble tea that uses fruit juices or purees instead of milk. This bubble tea is typically lower in calories because no milk is involved.
If the bubble tea is made with milk or a milk substitute, the calorie count will increase. A typical serving of milk can add around 20 to 60 calories.
Bubble tea or boba without tapioca pearls is not a bubble tea at all. The most common toppings for bubble tea are tapioca pearls, grass jelly, pudding, aloe vera, and lychee jelly. Tapioca pearls are the most calorie-dense of these toppings. The chewy tapioca pearls are relatively calorie-dense due to their starchy nature. A standard serving of cooked tapioca pearls can have around 100 to 150 calories, depending on the portion size.
Grass jelly, pudding, and aloe vera are also very rich toppings that add a unique flavor and texture to bubble tea.
When it comes to tapioca pearls, they can be made from different materials, such as cassava flour, tapioca starch, or yam flour. Tapioca pearls are chewy and have a slightly sweet taste. They are usually black or white, but they can also be found in different colors like green, pink, and purple.
Syrups and sugar
Most bubble tea recipes call for some sweetener, whether sugar, honey, or syrup. Fruit teas are typically made with fruit juices or purees containing natural sugars. If you’re concerned about sugar intake, we recommend avoiding bubble tea recipes that call for syrups or artificial sweeteners. Ideally, you should limit the amount of sugar or honey you add to your bubble tea. A tablespoon of sugar has about 49 calories, and sweetened condensed milk is even more calorically dense.
One of the most popular syrups used in bubble tea is brown sugar syrup. This syrup is made by cooking brown sugar with water until it dissolves. Other popular syrups include honey syrup, simple syrup, and lavender syrup.
Pro tip: If you want to make a healthier version of bubble tea, we recommend using stevia or monk fruit as a natural sugar alternative.
Now, we’ll answer the question that you came here for how many calories are in bubble tea?
The amount of calories for a basic 16-ounce (473 ml) serving of bubble tea can range from around 200 to 400 calories or more, depending on how it’s prepared. Larger sizes and more complex versions with richer ingredients can have even higher calorie counts.
To give you a better idea, we’ve compiled a list of the calorie counts for some of the most popular bubble tea ingredients. Don’t worry; we’ve also included a few tips on how you can make your bubble tea healthier.
Calories in teas used in bubble tea
First of all, let’s take a look at the calorie content of different types of tea. We talked about this earlier, but the calorie content of tea will depend on the type of tea used.
The approximate caloric values for the tea used as a base in a 16-ounce (473 ml) serving of bubble tea:
- Black tea: 0-5 calories
- Green tea: 0-2 calories
- Jasmine tea: 0-2 calories
- Oolong tea: 0-2 calories
- Fruit tea: 0-5 calories (varies based on the fruit flavors)
- Herbal tea: 0-2 calories
- Dragonwell green tea: 8 calories
- Matcha green tea: 3 calories
- Sencha green tea: 5 calories
As you can see, the calorie content of tea varies depending on the type of tea. Doesn’t matter if you use tea bags or loose-leaf tea; the calorie content will be different. This is why it’s important to know which type of tea you use for your bubble tea.
Generally speaking, green tea and matcha green tea are the best options because they’re low in calories. Sencha green tea and Dragonwell green tea are good choices if you want a higher-calorie tea.
Calories in milk used for bubble tea
The next ingredient we’ll look at is milk. We usually think of milk as being pretty healthy, but that’s not always the case.
We are considering the size of 8 fluid ounces or 1 cup. This means that:
- 1 cup of whole milk has 90 calories
- 1 cup of 2% milk has 80 calories
- 1 cup of skim milk has 65 calories
- 1 cup of almond milk has 60 calories
- 1 cup of soy milk has 60 calories
- 1 cup of oat milk has 120 calories
So, as you can see, the calorie content of milk can vary depending on the type of milk used. Whole milk is the most calorie-dense, while skim and almond milk is on the lower end of the spectrum.
If you want to make a healthier version of bubble tea, we recommend using skim milk or almond milk. These options are lower in calories and will still give you a creamy texture. If you take boba from a bubble tea shop, they might have skim milk as an option. Make sure to ask before you order!
Sweeteners in bubble tea
Now that we’ve looked at the calorie content of tea and milk. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular sweeteners used in bubble tea. This part is a bit tricky because the calorie content of sweeteners can vary depending on how they’re used.
The size of 8 fluid ounces or 1 cup will be used for this section. This means that:
- 1 cup of regular boba tea syrup will contain 30 to 50 calories
- 1 cup of boba tea mixed with brown sugar syrup will contain 45 to 60 calories
- 1 cup of boba tea mixed with honey syrup will contain 30 to 40 calories
- 1 cup of boba tea mixed with simple syrup will contain 45 to 65 calories
- 1 cup of boba tea mixed with lavender syrup will contain 30 to 50 calories
Generally speaking, the calorie content of boba tea syrup isn’t as high as you might think. This is because most of the syrups used in bubble tea are diluted with water.
Based on all the information we’ve looked at, we can say that the average boba tea has around 150 to 190 calories which aren’t too bad. And, if you’re looking for a lower-calorie option, you can always choose to use stevia or monk fruit as a natural sweetener.
Calories in tapioca pearls
Source: Katie Rainbow from Unsplash
Last but not least, let’s look at tapioca pearls’ calorie content. Tapioca pearls are usually made from tapioca starch, water, and brown sugar.
The size of 8 fluid ounces or 1 cup will be used for this section. This means that:
1 cup of tapioca pearls will have around 120 to 160 calories
If you go to a boba tea shop, they might have tapioca pearls that are already cooked, and if they add the 1/4 size scoop, it will be about 80 calories. However, remember that some boba tea shops add more sugar or syrups, which can increase the calorie content. So, the least amount of calories you’ll find in tapioca pearls is around 80, and the most are around 160.
Average calorie content for boba tea
Now that we’ve looked at all the ingredients used in boba tea let’s sum it up!
Based on the information we’ve gathered, we can say that the average boba tea with all the fixings has around 350 to 400 calories. This number can be lower or higher depending on the type of milk used, the sweeteners added, and the size of the drink.
But the number can be even higher than 400 calories if you’re not careful. For example, some boba tea shops might use more than one scoop of tapioca pearls or add other ingredients like pudding or jelly. So, if you’re watching your calorie intake, it’s always best to ask about the ingredients used and the calorie content of the drink before you order.
Calories of different types of bubble tea
Taro milk tea
Taro is a root vegetable that is often used in sweet dishes. When combined with milk and tea, it creates a delicious and creamy beverage. Taro milk tea is the third-highest calorie drink on our list, with 600 to 620 calories. It’s a purple-colored drink that is made with taro powder, milk, and black tea.
Brown sugar milk tea
Brown sugar milk tea is a popular boba tea made with black tea, brown sugar syrup, and milk. It’s a sweet and rich drink that has around 480 to 650 calories.
Thai milk tea
Thai milk tea is a creamy and sweet beverage that is made with black tea, milk, and sugar. It’s a popular boba tea with around 600 to 640 calories. It’s made with condensed milk which makes it extra sweet and rich. Also, the most popular type of Thai milk tea is made with evaporated milk.
Source: Omni Photograph from Unsplash
Honeydew milk tea
Honeydew is a type of melon that has green flesh and white seeds. When it’s combined with milk and tea, it creates a refreshing and sweet beverage. Honeydew milk tea has around 600 to 610 calories.
Source: Lisanto from Unspalsh
Mango fruit tea
Mango fruit tea is a refreshing and sweet drink that is made with black tea, mango puree, and simple syrup. It’s one of the best variations of boba tea and has around 250 to 280 calories.
Lychee fruit tea
Again, lychee is a type of fruit with white flesh and black seeds. Who doesn’t love lychees? If you want to taste boba but not too sweet and too carried, lychee fruit tea is your go-to drink. Lychee fruit tea has around 200 to 210 calories.
There you have it! We answered your question about how many calories are there in bubble tea. To sum it up, the calorie content in boba tea can range from 200 to 650 calories. It all depends on the ingredients used and the size of the drink. If you’re watching your calorie intake, it’s best to ask about the ingredients used and the calorie content of the drink before you order. And remember, the more add-ins you have, the higher the calorie content will be. So, if you’re looking for a low-calorie boba tea, stick to the basics, like lychee fruit tea or mango fruit tea.