Boba - an explanation, or the beginning of one at least. - FS Drinks

Boba - an explanation, or the beginning of one at least.

Is bubble tea the same as boba tea?

Is one name more correct than the other?


Well, yes, and no, and not really.

Boba, the word, isn't even in the dictionary, or rather, on And bubble never stood for the little round balls at the bottom of your drink; it referenced the little bubbles that formed at the top after you shook it.

And I hate to break your brain further, but most of the teas you drink aren't even tea, but we'll save that discussion for another time; we're here to talk bobaBoba has evolved over the years; it doesn't just stand for tapioca balls anymore.

Tapioca pearls

It doesn't even just mean teas with toppings (a flawed description to begin with, considering they're bottom-ings more often than not, but that doesn't have the same ring to it).

One thing I can tell you about boba is that it brings cultures together.

Yeah, I heard it; I know how it sounds, but let's not forget how vital ping pong became in world politics under specific circumstances or that America has some pretty strong feelings surrounding tea brewed into our history.  

Taiwan street vendors at night

The genius that created boba is debated, but we have a nation to credit it to, Taiwan. Tea itself has a rich history stemming from China, and while we hate to admit it (we're suspicious that they stole this, too), credit for adding milk and sugar to tea is attributed to England.

So when we say boba is a cultural bridge, we mean it because down to its very nature, that is exactly what it is. Boba doesn't mean a singular thing because it means so many things to so many people.

You can say boba in reference to tapioca pearls, or you can say it as a one-word question to reconnect with a friend.

Whether your roots are cassava or all-American short-wheat, you can appreciate that the name boba stuck because boba is a slang word for boobs. And because that's humorous to us, and well, most of the world, that's the name we're sticking with. When we say boba, we reference nothing more specific than a delicious drink.

If you're still confused about the definition of boba, that's fair because I haven't really defined anything. This is not because I'm hiding my wealth of wisdom in chewable drinks; it's because boba is not, and will never be one thing.

With the endless ability to modify the drink, be it by milk choice, topping, bottom-ing, tea or another beverage type, temperature, and container, boba can be precisely what the drinker needs it to be.

 Photo by Annabella Lau.

And while we don't have a boba sommelier to tell you our boba is the best, only because that's not a real profession (yet), we can promise you boba is more than a drink to us, and we're going to make sure it's more than a drink to you. 

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