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Does Bubble Tea Have Caffeine? Boba & Caffeine

Updated: September 22, 2023
Written by: Pzaz Team

Bubble tea can be a great drink on hot summer days, but how much caffeine is in this popular beverage? If you love boba but want to know whether or not it contains caffeine, we've got you covered! In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about bubble tea’s nutritional info. Grab yourself a cup of your favorite tapioca pearl drink and read on to find out more!

What is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea, also known as “boba tea,” is a sweet drink that was originally invented in Taiwan during the 1980s. Though the bubbly beverage originally hails from Asia, it has since become extremely popular worldwide, especially in the United States. 


Boba is brewed with ice, tea, milk, and tapioca pearls: small, chewy balls that are usually sucked up through a large straw while drinking the tea. Often, bubble tea will be sweetened with syrup or honey, and can be served with a variety of flavors like mango, coconut, or strawberry. 

Ingredients in Bubble Tea

Bubble tea typically consists of the following ingredients:

  1. Tea
  2. Milk or non-dairy milk alternatives
  3. Sweetener
  4. Ice
  5. Tapioca pearls (small, chewy “bubbles” made from the cassava root)

Does Boba Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes, boba tea usually contains caffeine because of the tea it is brewed with. However, boba’s caffeine content will vary depending on the type and amount of tea used. For example, boba brewed with black tea will have more caffeine than boba made with green tea. Some teas, like herbal or fruit tea, are naturally caffeine-free!

Which Types of Boba Tea Have the Most Caffeine? 

Which teas used in boba have the most caffeine? Let’s take a look at four high-caffeine tea options, two decaffeinated options, and even a coffee that you can use to make your boba.

Black Tea

Black tea contains around 47 mg of caffeine per cup (8 fl. oz). Harvested tea leaves from the plant Camellia sinensis are wilted, rolled, and fully oxidized, giving the leaves their distinctive dark color. Black tea is also used for brands like Earl Grey tea. Most boba shops tend to use Black tea to create their milk tea. 

Jasmine Tea

Jasmine tea is made by scenting traditional tea leaves with jasmine flower blossoms. Because of this, caffeine content varies depending on the tea blend, ranging from 15-60 mg of caffeine per cup. However, “pure jasmine tea” is naturally caffeine-free, because jasmine flower blossoms contain no caffeine at all!

Green Tea

Green tea is a popular tea for many big-name drink brands such as Arizona Iced Green tea. Similarly, green tea is used in boba and contains around 25 mg of caffeine per cup. Just like black tea, green tea is made from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. But unlike their counterpart, green tea leaves are immediately heated after wilting to prevent excess oxidation. This allows them to keep their fresh flavor and color. 

Herbal Tea

Technically speaking, herbal tea isn’t even a tea! Unlike true teas made from Camellia sinensis, this concoction is created by soaking a blend of different herbs, spices, and plants in hot water instead. Most herbal teas don’t contain any caffeine. 

Fruit Tea

Just like herbal tea, fruit tea is caffeine-free and brewed in a similar process. Nevertheless, it’s still a great option if you’re not looking for an energy boost. A mixture of fruit, spices, and herbs is steeped in hot water and then served with the rest of the ingredients used in boba. 

Coffee Boba

Coffee boba is exactly what it sounds like. The drink involves all the regular ingredients, except coffee is used instead of tea. The coffee is mixed with milk, ice, tapioca pearls, and other add-ons. The average cup of coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine, so if you’re looking for something stronger, try using this as your base!

Boba Tea

Oolong Tea 

Oolong tea contains around 37 mg of caffeine per cup. However, this number can vary depending on how the leaves are prepared. Camellia sinensis tea leaves are plucked, wilted, bruised, and semi-oxidized before being dried. Since the time spent oxidizing the leaves can differ from process to process, oolong teas are often very diverse!

Average Boba Tea Caffeine Content


Caffeine Content

Caffeine Strength

Calories

50 mg

Low

544 (152 g)


What Affects Caffeine Content in Boba Tea?

Boba tea’s caffeine content can be influenced by a wide variety of factors. Generally, it greatly depends on the type and amount of tea used, the length of their steep time, and the temperature of the water used during the steeping process. 

Tea Type

Some types of tea naturally contain higher levels of caffeine than others. For example, black tea and oolong tea have more caffeine than green tea, while herbal and fruit teas contain no caffeine at all. 

Amount of Tea

The amount of tea leaves used when making boba tea can affect the levels of caffeine in the bubbly beverage. A standard bubble tea size is about 500ml, or 16 oz. 

Length of Steep Time

Tea leaves are infused into hot water in a process known as “steeping.” The longer you soak the tea leaves, the more caffeine will be extracted into the water. 

Water Temperature During The Steeping Process

Caffeine is more soluble in hot water than in cold water. As such, the higher the temperature during the steeping process, the quicker caffeine will diffuse into the water. 

So, How Much Caffeine Should You Expect? 

While caffeine content in boba tea varies depending on how you make it, bubble tea in general contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee or tea. With an average of 50 mg of caffeine per cup, milk tea will give you a quick energy boost but the caffeine won’t affect you as much as you expect. 

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