When ordering, customers may be asked whether they want ‘pearls’ or ‘boba’ in their drinks, and both terms refer to the tapioca balls. The tapioca pearls require an hour for preparation, and they expand considerably when cooked. After they are cooked through but before they become too soft, the pearls are drained and poured into a sugar-water solution, and are ready for use.
Some cafes use a non-dairy milk substitute, instead of milk because many East Asians are lactose intolerant. This adds a distinct flavor and consistency to the drink.
As time has moved on new generations of bubble drinks have come into being, such as, the ‘Snow Bubble.’ This ‘Snow Bubble’ drink is a slushie-like drink where you choose one of many fruit flavors and it is mixed in with shaved ice to make a smooth refreshing drink, after that the boba balls can be added from their assorted types, black boba which are the original, colored, lychee bubbles, and rainbow boba; some of the many that are offered today.
One drawback to Snow Bubble Tea is that the coldness of the iced drink may cause the tapioca balls to harden, making them difficult to suck up through the large straws and less enjoyable to chew. To prevent this from happening, Snow Bubble tea must be consumed faster than regular pearl milk tea.