Starbucks has become part of the routine of millions of Americans each morning.
Waking up and heading to the local Starbucks to get your day started is a very common occurrence.
However, not all Starbucks fans are coffee drinkers.
In fact, many of the people who head into Starbucks each morning are looking for tea or even just milk-based drinks.
One drink that is becoming increasingly popular in America is Boba or Bubble Tea.
If you have not tried this drink, you may look to pick one up one of these mornings on your way to work.
Here is everything you need to know about Starbucks and Boba.
Does Starbucks Have Boba?
Starbucks does not have Boba.
Although they may add it to the menu at some point, at the current time, you are not going to find this option at your local store.
However, some people have found ways to order drinks that taste very similar to Boba tea or Bubble tea.
If you have found that Boba is a preferred drink of yours and would like to find something similar, you can follow these tips for getting a replacement at your local Starbucks.
Let’s take a brief look into what Boba tea is and how you can get your hands on some locally.
What Is Boba?
Boba is a milk tea drink that can also be called Bubble Tea.
The other names that you can sometimes find for Boba include pearl milk tea or tapioca milk tea.
Boba tea originated in Taiwan close to 40 years ago.
It is typically a milk tea drink, yet it has tapioca balls, sometimes referred to as pearls, that are in the tea.
Sometimes a Boba can be made with other toppings as part of the tea drink as well.
However, these tapioca pearls are the most common way that Boba is presented.
Although you can get Boba in various choices, there are two that stand out as the most popular.
The two are the black pearl milk tea and the green pearl milk tea.
As you can probably already imagine, basic types of teas are available at Starbucks, but this is without a doubt a specialty item.
The type of milk that you use in Boba can vary, but the original versions were made with condensed milk.
When the tea first came out, it was a combination of Taiwanese black tea, tapioca pearls, condensed milk, and it was topped off with syrup to add sweetness.
Through the years, the recipe has changed slightly to help make it a more appealing sale for tea drinkers who are looking for something that is a bit different.
Most of the time, Boba is served cold, and honey is used to replace the syrup.
The tapioca pearls are still a part of this drink, but it can be hard to find a true Boba with the tapioca.
The proper way to serve a Boba is with a very thick straw.
The straw allows the toppings that have settled on the bottom of the cup to pass through and get to the tea drinker.
It is best to have your Boba in a cup with a lid so that it can be shaken and mixed and then consumed through the straw.
Overall, all different types of Bubble Tea drinks are becoming more and more popular.
If Starbucks wants a piece of the billion-dollar bubble tea market, they will have to get involved and start selling this product as soon as possible.
Why Does Starbucks Not Sell Boba Tea?
Now that you are more familiar with what Boba tea is and how it has become so popular, you may wonder why it is not sold at Starbucks locations.
The answer comes down to cost vs. profit.
The cost to roll out a Boba tea in all of the Starbucks stores would be pretty large.
This is not just because of the pricing of the ingredients of the tea, but also because of the process of making the tea.
The process of making Boba and serving it to customers as quickly as is expected at a Starbucks location can be quite difficult.
The tea happens to take some time to make, and those who don’t know how to make a proper Boba will need to be trained.
Starbucks has to be very careful about how it expands its menu and consider whether or not they are making a good financial decision.
As you can imagine, the chain is located all over the world, and they try to keep things rather consistent from one location to another.
If Boba tea starts out in a few locations, it will have to make it to all of them, and this is going to get quite costly.
Is There An Alternative To Boba Tea At Starbucks?
Since we know that Starbucks is not going to sell Boba tea, there may be some alternatives that this company will offer instead.
Many people will get the bulk of their morning drink from Starbucks and then doctor it up a bit themselves to get the perfect taste.
This is an option that you can try if you want to make your own Boba tea at home.
Here are the steps you can take to use Starbucks and its ingredients to put together a perfect at-home Boba tea.
1. Order A Tea From Starbucks As The Base
The first part of this process is to get an iced black tea from the Starbucks menu.
This is a standard option on the Starbucks menu, and you won’t have a hard time finding a location that has this product available.
The size of the tea that you purchase can be customized to how much you feel like drinking or paying for your drink.
2. Customize The Drink
If you are ordering using the app, you can put these instructions in the app.
If not, you will have to talk to the barista when you place your order.
Some are going to be less than thrilled with your attempts to create your own tea.
This is why people often try this process on the app rather than at the store.
The message gets communicated more clearly, and the finished product ends up being a much better match to what you are looking for.
When you are customizing, you will want to say that you do not want any water used in the beverage.
Most of the time, when making a Boba, you will also want to use half and half.
The half milk and half cream product tends to have that creamy texture that you need to get the Boba to be more authentic.
In addition, you will want to change the liquid cane sugar to a Toffee Nut Syrup.
This is just a different way to add flavor to the drink, but you will find that it gives you more of a Boba taste than the liquid cane sugar.
As you can probably imagine, these directions could get a bit lost when you are dealing with a busy Starbucks full of morning people.
To avoid this, simply use the app and put in your request.
3. Tapioca Pearl Additions
As we have mentioned, you will not be able to get tapioca pearls at Starbucks.
This is not an ingredient they carry, and there are no indications that they will be carrying it anytime soon.
Therefore, you will have to order in tapioca pearls or look for them in your local grocery store.
Surprisingly many local stores do have tapioca pearls in stock, but as you are probably well aware, there are lots of online resources to get these as well.
Once you have your tea drink from Starbucks all ready as the base, you now need to prepare the tapioca pearls to be used in the tea.
Each brand of tapioca pearls is going to have different instructions to follow.
Make sure that you carefully read and understand what you are looking for when making the pearls.
Most of the time, you are going to have to boil them for just a few minutes.
Once you have the tapioca pearls boiled, they are ready to put right into your drink.
4. Mix And Serve
Once you have your Tapioca pearls ready to go, you can start adding them to the tea that you purchased from Starbucks.
This is when you will have officially made your Boba tea.
We highly recommend placing a large straw in your Boba.
This is going to help you get the toppings to come through as well as the tea drink.
Of course, you can work on brewing your own tea at home and skipping the Starbucks line and cost, but what we have described above is the faster way to get this done.
You will find that the more you can get used to the mixing and the flavors of Boba tea, the easier it can be to recreate the drink.
Does Dunkin Donuts Sell Boba?
Dunkin Donuts does not sell Boba currently, yet they seem to be more aware of the desire and popularity of this product than the Starbucks brand.
Although you can’t simply order a Boba from Dunkin, you can add strawberry flavor bubbles to their teas to make a fake Boba-type tea.
This is a new release in 2021, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Of course, the flavor bubbles are not actual tapioca pearls, yet they are going to help produce similar flavors and textures for people who are interested.
Boba is not an easy product to make, and that is why you will notice most of the larger chains are not going to carry it.
However, if you are lucky enough to have a small coffee and tea shop in your town, they may very well carry Boba tea.
Expect to pay a slightly higher price because the addition of those tapioca pearls does make this a more premium choice from any menu.
However, if you have yet to try a Boba, it does make sense to order one at some point and see if it is a flavor that you enjoy.
Overall, Dunkin Donuts does allow you to get a similar experience with the Bubble tea, but it’s not quite the same.
Hopefully, you now see that Starbucks does not sell Boba, and they have a good reason for it.
With the complicated nature of making this tea, the pricing and infrastructure to put this into place would be a bit too difficult.
Therefore, enjoy your Boba tea offerings from local shops and learn to make some on your own.
As with most drinks from Starbucks, you can make some great at-home versions if you take the time to learn how it is done.