Is Bubble/Boba tea high in sugar? Bubble tea. Or rather Boba tea (basically “bubble” and “boba” tea are exactly the same thing and the words are interchangeable). I mean you just can’t beat that delicious refreshing flavor of milk tea combined with the chewy satisfaction of boba balls. Once you have one you just know what all the fuss is all about, right? I know I did the first time I tried it. Now my regular order is Jasmine Tea with Almond Milk and Boba.
But exactly how much sugar is in Boba tea?
In this post, I will be letting you into the secrets of how to order a lower-sugar boba tea in a boba shop. I will also give you some tips on how to make a lower-sugar boba tea at home.
So, let’s dig in – is bubble/boba tea high in sugar?
Is Bubble/Boba tea high in sugar?
As a general rule bubble/boba tea can be high or low in sugar depending on how it is ordered. Ordering the smallest size, at 0% sugar, cold, and with no toppings can result in a low-sugar drink. Ordering a large boba at 120% sugar and with toppings can result in a very high-sugar drink.
How To Order Lower Sugar Boba/Bubble Tea Drinks in Boba Shops
Before I start giving you some tips on how to order a lower sugar boba/bubble tea in boba shops I first need to let you in on how the sugar level ordering system works in boba shops.
Sugar Levels at Boba Shops
Below is the sugar level ordering system that applies at many boba/bubble tea shops:
- 120% – Extra Sugar
- 100% – Regular Sugar
- 70% – Less Sugar
- 50% – Half Sugar
- 30% – Little Sugar
- 0% – Zero Sugar
100% sugar is basically the regular sugar content of a drink. If you do not specify the sugar content you want when ordering your drink, then it will almost always be made at 100% sugar levels.
Sugar Content of 0% Sugar Boba Drinks
Just because a boba drink is ordered 0% does not mean it will contain 0g of sugar. What it does mean is that your server has not added any sugar to your drink, but milk and other ingredients still contain sugar (milk for example is high in the naturally occurring sugar lactose).
For example, a large Mango Green tea ordered at Kung Fu Tea 0% still contains 23g of sugar!
Also, the sugar level you order your drink at just impacts the sugar added to the actual liquid tea part of your drink. It does not change the sugar content of any additional boba, milk cap, jelly, etc., that are added to your drink.
It is also worth bearing in mind that not all drinks can be ordered at 0%.
What are the Lowest Sugar Drinks at Kung Fu Tea?
I have actually already written a post on the 15 lowest sugar drinks at Kung Fu Tea & which you can read here – The 15 Lowest Sugar Drinks at Kung Fu Tea (0g-6g of Sugar). A number of these drinks are coffee drinks, but several of them are tea drinks too.
If you are interested the lowest sugar tea-based drinks at Kung Fu Tea are:
- Milk, Green, Oolong, Chai, Thai, Coconut & Coffee milk tea if all ordered the medium size, cold, and 0% sugar (2g-6g of sugar)
- Rosehip Lemonade ordered medium and 0% sugar (3g of sugar)
- Hot or Cold Black, Green, or Oolong tea – any size and 0% sugar (0g of sugar)
What About Add-Ins?
The above-listed sugar contents do not include any boba/bubbles added to your drink.
At Kung Fu Tea the lowest sugar bubbles are its Crystal Bubbles which add 8g of sugar to a medium drink. That’s not too bad!
The jelly in comparison can add as much as 38g of sugar to a large drink.
So, stick to boba over jelly (I mean that is why you are at a boba shop anyway). Also, just ask your boba server if they know what is the lowest sugar boba they offer.
Please also bear in mind that tea drinks ordered as above will not taste very sweet since no sugar is added. However, there will still be a tiny bit of sweetness from the milk powder and of course, the boba if you add it. If you really do like a touch more sweetness to your boba tea drink, then why not try ordering it at 30% sugar? This will just as a small amount of sugar to your tea drink to take the edge off the tea.
What Difference Does the Sugar Level Make?
Just to put in perspective the difference the way you order in a boba shop makes. A Large Grapefruit Green tea ordered at 120% and with strawberry jelly at Kung Fu Tea added contains 138g of sugar.
In comparison, a medium Thai milk tea ordered at 0% and with crystal boba added will only contain 12g of sugar. Now that is a big difference.
So do you see the importance of knowing how to order at a boba shop if you are watching your sugar intake? If you must have a bit of sugar in your tea, then a medium Thai milk tea ordered at 30% and with crystal boba will contain 24g of sugar.
How To Order the Lowest Sugar Boba
As you can see there are some general trends that emerge as to how to order the lowest-sugar boba tea drink:
- Order the smallest size.
- Order 0% sugar if an option. If not order 30% sugar.
- Order cold.
- Stick to milk teas or black/green/oolong teas.
- Do not add boba or toppings.
If you order using the above recommendations, then your drink will often only contain a few grams of naturally occurring sugar from the milk powder.
Okay, so I have let you in on some of the inside tips on how to limit the sugar content of a boba tea ordered at a boba shop, but how about if you prefer to make a boba tea drink at home?
How To Make A Low Sugar Boba Drink At Home
If you are making boba tea at home but want to limit your sugar intake I have a few tips for you.
Use Sugar-Free Milk
First, make sure to use sugar-free milk. I have written a whole post on the best sugar-free alternative milks here – Which Milk Has The Least Amount of Sugar and Which Alternative Milks Contain No Sugar (0g).
Remember dairy milk always contains naturally occurring sugar from the lactose. My personal recommendation is a sugar-free oat milk – so creamy and delicious but without any sugar. You can find one of my personal favorite sugar-free oat milk, Califia Zero Sugar Oat Milk on Amazon here.
Use Sugar-Free Boba
Plain tea is of course sugar-free naturally, but how about sugar-free boba to add to your sugar-free milk tea? Well, I have a couple of options for you. Both options involve buying dried boba pearls on Amazon and then soaking them yourself.
If your number one priority is zero sugar then your best option is these sugar-free tapioca balls, which just contain one ingredient – tapioca. How cool is that! There is still 5g of sugar per serving of these tapioca balls, but this is all naturally occurring from the tapioca.
You can find these 100% tapioca balls on Amazon here. Just to give you the heads up, these tapioca balls are different from the ones you get at boba shops.
Lower Sugar Boba Options
If a boba that is more reminiscent of the type, you get at boba shops is your priory over zero sugar then I recommend this boba on Amazon here. These boba balls do contain added sugar (3g per serving) but they do resemble more closely the boba you get in boba shops.
Use an Alternative Sweetener
If you then want to add some sweetness to your boba drink, you can use a sugar-free sweetener like Stevia or Monk Fruit. A liquid sweetener will of course mix into the milk tea more easily. You can also soak your boba in a mix made with sweetener.
There you have it – a zero or low-sugar boba milk tea made in the comfort of your own home!
Sugar In Boba/Bubble Tea F&Q
Does Bubble/Boba Tea Contain More Sugar Than Coke?
Boba/bubble tea can either contain more or less sugar than a can of Coke depending on how you order your drink. A can of Coke contains 39g of sugar (you can read more about it here – Which Colas Contain No Sugar – You Need To Try These). A medium Thai milk tea ordered at 0% and with crystal boba at Kung Fu Tea will only contain 12g of sugar – so a lot less sugar than a can of Coke. However, a large grapefruit green tea ordered at 120% and with strawberry jelly at Kung Fu Tea added contains 138g of sugar – which is much more sugar than in a can of Coke.
Does Boba Contain More Sugar Than Soda?
Boba can contain less or more sugar than soda – it completely depends on how boba tea is ordered.
You can read more about how the sugar levels of sodas compare next to each other here – Which Sodas Contain the Least Sugar?
Is 100% Sugar Normal for Bubble/Boba Tea?
100% sugar is the regular sugar level at bubble/boba tea shops. If you do not specify that you want extra sugar (120%) or less sugar (0%, 30%, 50%, or 70%) your boba/bubble drink will be made at 100% sugar.
Can I Ask for Less Sugar in Bubble Tea?
If you want less sugar in bubble tea order your tea at 70%. If you want half sugar in your boba tea order it at 50%. If you just want a little sugar in your boba tea order at 30% and if you want no sugar order at 0%.
What Percentage of Sugar Should I Get in Bubble/Boba Tea?
The amount of sugar you order your drink with at bubble/boba shops completely depends on your sweetness preference. If you like regular sugar order at 100%, if you like your drink extra sweet order at 120%, if you like your drink with no added sugar order at 0% and if you like it with some sugar order at 30% (little), 50% (half) or 70% (less) sugar.
How Much Sugar is in No Sugar Bubble Tea?
Unless you order a plain black, green, or oolong tea with no milk or boba then there will still be some sugar present. No sugar bubble tea. A bubble tea ordered at 0% will still usually contain some sugar from the milk powder and boba – it’s just that no sugar has been added to your drink.
How Much Sugar is in Popping Boba?
As a general rule, adding popping boba to a medium drink will tend to add around 8g-20g of sugar to the drink.
How Much Sugar is in Milk Tea?
The sugar content of a milk tea completely depends on how the milk tea is ordered. The smallest size of a milk tea ordered at 0g of sugar and with no toppings or boba can contain as little as a few grams of sugar from the naturally occurring sugar in the milk powder. In comparison, a large milk tea ordered with extra sugar (120%) and with boba and or other toppings can contain over 100g of sugar.
This means milk tea can be high or low in sugar depending on how it is ordered.
Is There Any Sugar in Bubble Tea?
There is sugar in bubble tea. Sugar is added to the tea drink itself – 100% sugar is the regular sugar content but you can request your drink with less or even 0% sugar. There is also sugar (usually naturally occurring) in the milk powder added to the drink as well as sugar in the bubbles/boba/ toppings added to the drink.
Is Bubble/Boba Tea High in Sugar? – The Final Bite
Is Bubble/Boba Tea high in sugar? What have we learned from the above? Well, when it comes to Boba tea your best strategy to reduce your sugar content is to order your tea with the lowest added sugar level and without any additional add-ins. You need to understand that most Boba drinks will not be completely sugar-free even if ordered without add-ins and at the lowest sugar levels. This is because of the naturally occurring sugars in the drinks from the milk used. I personally, love Boba drinks – but if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake then you need to understand that (unless you make it at home) by ordering one out you may not be able to get a completely sugar-free version.
Ingredients and/or manufacturing processes may change. Always double-check ingredient lists and nutritional information before purchasing any food items.
WANT TO FIND MORE LOW SUGAR OPTIONS?
Do you want to learn about some other low-sugar options at your favorite coffee chains, fast food, or restaurant joints, or just while you are shopping for groceries? If you do, then check out some of my other articles below: