Ultimate Guide to Popping Boba

Every so often, the food world blesses us with a creation that’s a burst of joy in every bite, and popping boba is just that! These tiny, tantalizing spheres are more than just a treat; they’re a playful food tech wonder. Each pearl bursts with flavor, adding an unexpected and delightful twist to any drink or dessert. It’s a fusion of fun, taste, and innovation, proving that sometimes the best things in food are those that pop in your mouth and surprise your senses!

Popping Boba

What is popping boba? If you have ever wondered what popping bobas (or sometimes called bursting bobas) are, read on!

They are a unique type of boba pearls that pop in your mouth. Hence, they are also called “popping pearls.” Real fruit juice fills the inside of these pearls, making them delicious.

Popping boba has a thin gel-like exterior that easily pops. Bubble tea and yogurts, ice creams, and other juices increasingly use these tiny drops of heaven.

Common flavors of popping bobas include mango, strawberry, green tea, honey melon, pomegranate, and orange.

For all you Boba tea lovers, also check out How To Make Boba At Home.

What is popping boba made of?

Popping boba, a whimsical addition to the world of bubble tea, is much more than just a tasty treat. Here’s a breakdown of what goes into these little spheres of joy:

  • Core Ingredients: The base of popping boba includes sugar, water, and fruit juice. This combination is what primarily gives the boba their sweet and fruity taste.
  • Texture and Structure: Calcium lactate and seaweed extract are added to the mix. These ingredients are crucial in forming the boba’s unique gel-like outer shell.
  • Flavor Enhancers: To add a bit of tartness, malic acid is used, while potassium sorbate helps preserve the freshness. Together, these ingredients ensure that each boba is both delicious and long-lasting.
  • Color and Flavor: Various colorings and fruit flavorings are incorporated to make each boba visually appealing and packed with flavor, minus the tapioca found in traditional boba.
  • Spherification Process:
    • The magic starts with mixing fruit juice and sodium alginate, a natural substance from seaweed.
    • This mixture is then carefully dropped into a cold solution of calcium lactate.
    • Like water forming droplets in oil, these drops turn into small spheres in the solution.
    • A reaction occurs, creating a thin, gel-like coating around each sphere, solidifying their shape.
  • Finishing Touches: The formed boba spheres are then removed from the solution and rinsed with distilled water, ready to be enjoyed in a variety of drinks and desserts.

This process, a delightful blend of science and culinary art, results in the popping boba we all love – a burst of flavor in every tiny, glistening sphere.

Art of Tea Organics

How to make Popping Boba?

Popping boba balls are made using a process called spherification. While making popping bobas may sound complicated, it is actually quite simple and requires just a few ingredients!

However, there is some trial and error involved with the process, so you may have to try these DIY popping bobas a few times before you can call yourself an expert.

Popping Boba Recipe


  • water
  • juice
  • sodium alginate
  • calcium lactate

To make popping boba balls using our recipe, simply follow these steps:

  1. Take two cups of water (tap water works fine!) and add in 2 teaspoons of calcium lactate.
  2. Mix it until the powder all dissolves to form a colorless solution.
  3. Next, take your fruit juice and add it to the blender. Add in the sodium alginate. The sodium alginate is supposed to be a 1% solution, so if you use 100ml of juice, that will lead you to use 1g of sodium alginate. Don’t worry though, a little bit extra won’t hurt you much!
  4. Blend the mixture until it is nice and combined
  5. Let the mixture sit for a few hours to let all the air bubbles in the mix disappear.
  6. Put the mixture in a dropper and slowly drip droplets of this into the calcium lactate solution that we made before.
  7. Keep making as many popping bobas as you like and once you are done, strain them out of the calcium lactate solution.
  8. Rinse your popping pearls with water to get rid of the calcium lactate residues.

Additional Tips:

These tips will make the popping boba recipe work perfectly for you.

  • Use fruit juice that does not contain calcium as calcium is what causes the spherification process. You do not want that when you mix fruit juice with sodium alginate.
  • Do not miss the blender step, as this ensures that the sodium alginate is spread evenly
  • Use cold juice for better results
  • Use juice with a pH that is greater than 3.6.
  • Store the boba in the same fluid that you used for its ingredients. This is because it is thin and absorbent and will lose flavor in other liquids

Popping Boba Kit

Popping boba kit
Popping boba kit

Ready to make your own popping boba? This popping boba kit is perfect for crafty individuals and families who enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. It offers a fun and educational experience, blending the art of cooking with the excitement of a science experiment. Ideal for a hands-on weekend project or a playful introduction to food science for kids, this kit makes the process of creating your own popping boba both simple and enjoyable.

Where to buy popping boba

We understand that you may not have the time to make popping boba at home. You may wonder where to buy popping boba. Therefore, we have listed the best popping boba varieties to buy on Amazon, Etsy and more!

Bubble Blends Fruity Pearls Popping Boba

We love these popping boba teas for their variety of flavors. They have lychee, mango, peach, passion fruit, strawberry, and pomegranate. They offer a pack of three in which you can either get only a single flavor or all three different flavors. This ensures that you can stick to your favorite taste or keep it spiced up with variety.

The boba pearls are made of real fruit juice with no artificial coloring. Doesn’t that sound great for your health? Moreover, not only are they fat and gluten-free but also vegan! You can pop them in your drink without having to worry about anything else. The bobas are relatively small themselves and will easily pass through a wide diameter straw. All the more convenient!

Popping Boba Strawberry (and more) by Mayde

This delicious, juice-bursting boba pearls pack consists of three mouth-watering flavors: Strawberry, Blueberry, and Pomegranate. All of these are my personal favorites! You get one tub of each flavor in this pack which is excellent for those who get tired of the same old flavors.

Not only are the flavors delicious, but also utterly healthy as they are made with real fruit juice with no artificial flavorings. What adds to their health benefits is that they are entirely fat-free! They have about 26 calories per 30g serving which isn’t much in our opinion.

Read: Brands That Make Sugar Free Juice for Diabetics

Bursting Popping Boba Balls Single Pack

This company offers many flavors for you to enjoy, including Blueberry, Kiwi, Mango, Passion Fruit Pomegranate, and Strawberry. Let us tell you that all tastes have their own merits and are amazing! However, each flavor costs differently than the other.

The flavors are flavorful, and the bobas pop so quickly in the mouth. Moreover, delivery is reasonably quick, with the product usually carrying an expiration date of many months away. Again, these are made using real fruit juice, so you do not have to worry about unhealthy artificial substances creeping into your body. Some people do complain that the shipping left some of their bobas popped. However, we did not share the same experience.

Tapioca Boba VS. Popping Boba

Well, you may be familiar with the traditional Tapioca Bobas. They are chewy solids that are artificially sweetened using sugar and honey. This is because they naturally have little to no flavor. Hence, the taste is largely dependent on the production process of these chewy little balls.

Boba is infamous for being added to Milk Tea, Smoothies, and Frozen Drinks. Despite its aesthetic, many may not like tapioca boba simply because of the lack of flavor or the taste of too many artificial flavors.

Which one is better?

Even though it still largely depends on personal preference, popping bobas have been gaining more popularity. This may be simply because of the wide variety of flavors available. They also have fewer artificial flavorings and hence may taste better. Some people also do not like the chewy texture of tapioca pearls.

Storage and Production

If we look at storage and production, popping bobas still wins. You have to make tapioca pearls keenly, or they won’t turn out how you want them. On the other hand, popping bobas involve you and a dropper, just dropping away! Although, you do have to be careful with the sizing of these. You have to make Tapioca pearls right before serving, or else they get hard. However, if appropriately refrigerated, popping pearls can last you for up to a year!


The texture of these two varieties is perhaps what sets them apart the most. Tapioca pearls are chewy and soft, while popping bobas just pop in your mouth and are gone. It greatly depends on which texture you want to go for. If you like smooth, chewy treats that may leave you with a delicious honey aftertaste, then the tapioca boba variety will satisfy you.

On the other hand, if you love the thrill of the bobas popping in your mouth adding to your beverage’s flavor, then popping pearls are the way to go! Children usually also prefer the excitement that comes along with popping boba pearls. However, it just comes down to personal preference.

Temperature of Usage

Both Tapioca and popping boba pearls act differently under varying temperatures. Let us first look into tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are best for hot drinks. They presume a soft and pleasantly chewy nature in hot beverages. Even when added to cold drinks, they are still soft. However, if they are popped into iced teas, frozen yogurt, or smoothies, they may become cold and hard to chew with time. Therefore, they may not be an excellent fit for the cold.

Popping boba pearls, on the other hand, are pretty adaptable to temperature. They do really well in hot beverages and do not pop on their own. However, their texture may become somewhat liquid as time runs on. When served in iced drinks or frozen yogurt, they have no issue. They do not become hard to pop at all, so you have nothing to worry about!


Tapioca boba has a delightful taste when sweetened with honey or sugar. It will just add a little more something to your drinks. There is no risk of any flavors crashing or overpowering when it comes to these neutral little balls. You can add them to anything you can think of! For most people who like a single flavor but still enjoy the texture of bobas, this is the choice!

Popping Bobas come in a wide variety of flavors. Some will pair well with some drinks while others will not. There are so many options to choose from, which may be exciting. However, this is a difficult choice to make, especially when you haven’t tried out many different flavor combinations in your life. It will take some hit and trial to find the combos you find pleasing. When you do, it will be 100% worth it![/su_note]


So here’s all you need to know about popping bobas, how to make them and where to buy them. We hope you find your perfect fit, whether it is whipping up your popping bobas or getting them online. Let us know in the comments which one you prefer!


Calories and sugars in boba milk tea

Bubble Tea Toppings

Skip to content