Healthy Bubble Milk Tea Boba – yes it’s possible!

Hey guys!!

One of my most favorite YOLO drinks in the world is bubble milk tea. If you’re Asian or live in an area with a lot of Asian people, you’ve probably heard of bubble milk tea. It’s traditionally a Taiwanese dessert drink. With chewy tapioca pearls swimming in a blend of sweet milky goodness and an oversized straw to top of off – ah – it is incredibly addictive!!

bubble tea rainbow

 Unfortunately though, a drink like this has 400 calories and over 54g of sugar! About $4 a drink. This was definitely a case that I needed to investigate for Cheap Clean Eats. Heathy Bubble Milk Tea. Was it possible?

IMG_5551

 Turns out it was! Here’s what you’ll need to make a serving of Matcha Bubble Milk Tea (my favorite flavor) for 150 calories and it only costs $1.67! That’s 60% off the regular price at the boba store!

INGREDIENTS:

1 TBS of matcha powder (0 cals, 29 cents) – get it at Vitacost.com

1 cup of almond milk (40 cals, 72 cents)

1/2 cup ice cubes (0 cals, free)

10 drops of liquid stevia for sweetening (0 cals, 3 cents)

1/4 cup boba balls (110 cals, 60 cents) + 10 drops of stevia (0 cals, 3 cents)

TOTAL: $1.67 and 150 cals VERSUS $4.00 and 400 cals at the store!

All you need to do is blend the first 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Then for the perfect al dente boba balls, just boil for 3 min. Make sure the water  (about 1/2 cup) is sweetened with 10 drops of liquid stevia. Then drain the balls, add to a cup, then pour the milk tea on top!

BOBA TEA DISCUSSION:

It was absolutely delicious!!! You know what though? The reason why I have been delaying this video was because I literally have been FAILING at making the perfect tapioca pearl substitute. (I’ve been trying since like February!!) I tried rolling prunes into balls and boiling them. FAIL. I tried making coconut flour/tapioca flour balls. FAIL. I tried cutting up shirataki noodles into ball form. FAIL. Then I finally realized…okay…if I can at least cut down the sugar and the cals in the liquid part of the drink, I will be ok with the original tapioca balls. And that’s what I did here! Honestly, I can’t think of a way to replicate that chewy texture with any other ingredients! And that chewiness is something that MAKES BOBA, well BOBA!!

The boba balls are made from the starch of the cassava root and contain a lot of carbs. A serving, 1/4 cup has about 110-130 cals and 34g of carbs. Each ball has anywhere between 7-14 calories and a typical drink has 25-75 balls (depending on how generous your boba drink maker is :))

But you know what, once in a while – it is ok! (Like once a week.) But if you just like the milk tea or are training hard for an event, have the drink without the balls.

Now tell me guys, if there were a Boba Tea Shop in your city and they sold healthy boba for 60% off the regular price, would you go?

I WOULD!

And now we both can!!! You can go to your own boba tea shop at home, save money, and save your health!

I got the matcha powder at vitacost.com which was A LOT cheaper than at Whole Foods or specialty tea shops. It’s $7.19 for 25 servings. I’ve seen this sold for over $20. Ridic! As for the balls, these were a lot harder to find. I had to go out of the LA city area and into the suburbs to a 99 Ranch to get the balls. I went to like 5-6 different Korean and Japanese supermarkets in the city with no luck. I think you need to find one that is Chinese-run since this is a Taiwanese drink. The package of balls is anywhere between $1.99 to $2.99.

I spent some time on Amazon to look for alternative options for you since you may not live in an area with Asian supermarkets. I found a pack of these boba balls for $5.13 and free shipping.


boba balls

 

The ones in the video are white but boba balls come in a variety of colors! Pink, green, purple. Traditionally they are black like the ones above.

And while you’re at it, add some large boba straws too! You have to have big straws to suck up the balls or it doesn’t count. Don’t even think about using a spoon. These are $3.04 for 40.

boba straws 2

Or…if you wanna be clever…the next time you go to a boba tea shop and get a drink, grab an extra couple straws.

Well I hope you enjoyed my Healthy Boba Drink video!! I also have a question for you – can you answer this in the comments for me?

1. Do you prefer shorter music video style food videos for Cheap Clean Eats or the original talking ones? (Or some hybrid?)

2. Does it confuse you when I tell you how much the recipe costs per serving vs. how much it costs for all ingredients? How can I make it easier to understand?

I’ve seen a lot of complaints about how the recipes actually “aren’t cheap” because you need to, for example, buy a whole pack of whole wheat flour for $6.99 but can only use 1 cup of it to make muffins. Therefore, some people are saying that it’s cheaper to buy a muffin outside for $2. I didn’t think I’d need to say this but I’m gonna say it…you need to invest in ingredients to save $ in the long run!!! Of course I can’t buy 1 TBS of chia seed at the store for 8 cents, but I’m not going to tell you that this bowl of chia pudding will cost you $20 bucks just because I have leftover ingredients! That’s silly. I calculate the recipes by serving because you need to think like that. If all the ingredients in the chia seed pudding can make 20 servings, then it’s $1 a serving! You must buy in bulk to save $. Think Costco.

Ok that is it with my rant! I was getting a bit irked at all of the accusations of Cheap Clean Eats not being affordable because really, it is. In fact, any time you’re making your own food at home, I guarantee that it is cheaper (and sometimes healthier) than going to a restaurant.

Alrighty guys, hope you are having a FANTASTIC START to #Novemburn! Did you figure out what all of the moves were for the 100 Challenge today? Here were the moves in case you didn’t do it yet:

1. 100 jumping jacks

2. 100 sit ups (NOT CRUNCHES)

3. 100 squats (go all the way down and all the way up…these are NOT pulses)

4. 100 criss crosses (make sure to pronate your opposite shoulder to opposite knee)

5. 100 bridge pulses (to make it harder, add a barbell, books, or weights on your pelvic area. Cushion with towels and hold with your hands)

6. 100 chest press pulses (keep those elbows together and make sure you’re going from shoulder height to nose height will pulsing)

How long did this take you? Make sure you execute each move with precision.

Love you!

<3 Cassey

  • Jessica MacDonald

    I live in taiwan. you can choose not to have sugar…. also by us you can choose what type of milk to have and also what type of bubbles… they have strawberry or mango ones!!

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  • Danielle

    Thanks for all the detail, the insight was really appreciated!
    Can you make a healthy alternative recipe for the milk tea flavor (shaken over ice)? That rich, kind of sweet chocolatey flavor of the milk tea has me so addicted- its the only flavor I get and we go a good 4 times a week or so! (My boyfriend loves the blended taro flavor, but he could care less about a healthy alternative…)

  • Thanks for the healthy version of bubble tea. :)

  • Nadia

    I was able to find the tapioca bubble balls in the picture for only $3.99 at http://www.asiansupermarket365.com/Black-Bubble-Tea-Tapioca-Pearl-Boba-10-colorfu-p/pwbybw.htm for anyone who wants it cheap. The website ships pretty quickly

  • I just made this! Without the boba balls though, and its is really great! I actually prefer it over the ones from the shops :) Even my dad had to have a try!
    Thank you so much!!!!!

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  • suggestor

    You can try replacing the tapioca pearls with a kind of white pearl jelly that’s actually made from kanten but in ball form. It’s made from seaweed and has no calories. I found out about them when one of the bigger milk tea chains introduced them as a topping option. I was curious and searched up on them. They are chewy just like normal black pearls, just not that sticky.

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  • I love this post. Your videos and pictures are just amazing. I will 100% make this milk boba tea today and post the results on my bubble tea website :D

    I also have a website totally dedicated to bubble tea. If you love bubble tea or boba drinks then visit : http://bubbleteahub.com/ for tonnes of info and to enter competitions :)

  • Amy

    I made it and it was really good, healthy and delicious. Thanks Cassey~ <3

  • I Love Boba Drinks

    I use to live in an Area that i could easily go & buy a Boba tea , i tried quite i few flavors Which were really good (Of Course One was My favorite) I haven’t had a boba drink since i moved i Didn’t realize how easy it is to make at home, I’m very happy i came across your site i Like how you Explain How more convenient it is to make it yourself , which also saves Money :) This was the first i see from you But i Will Continue to See your Videos <3

  • Thank you for this great recipe & video. I was actually researching what was in those milk powders they use in bubble teas, when your link surfaced. This is so smart! This is sort of a Matcha Latte with bubbles, which is all around a much better option than what I was thinking initially. I guess we can limit the carbs / calories by keeping those yummy chewy bubbles down. And, thanks for the calorie counts. No matter how healthy something is we still need to be aware of how many calories we are taking in. As for the music, this worked fine for me.

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  • Claire

    Thanks so much! I just got addicted to TPumps and I was devastated when I realize how much sugar goes into boba! I even get it unsweetened. But now I can make healthy boba, thank goodness!

  • Tamara

    Oh my gosh this is the BEST bubble tea place in Vancouver (Any Vancouverite POPsters HAVE to try it out!). Although it’s delicious, you are right, it can be very sugary. Thank you Cassey for posting this! I’ll definitely try it out very soon :)

  • I think TvM easy slim tea is a better option as it does not have any side effect and you can loose weight upto 10KG within 2 months. I, myself have lost 7KG weight in just 40 days. You can checkout its ingredients or place order at http://tvmall.in/

  • Cammie

    Hey Cassey! Love your videos, you are such an inspiration! I just wanted to say that I read an article recently about stevia and the nasty effects in can have on your body, stunting development, etc. pretty gross stuff to say the least! When I discovered stevia first I loved it, but after about a week it started to have some adverse effects on me,dizziness, headaches and stomach pains! I stopped using it straight away and everything was fine again :-)

  • yaidanche

    Found this on a friend’s fb post. People who are saying that it’s not really cheapeats are too wrapped up in the upfront cost. Obviously if this is something you eat or drink all the time, it’s worth it to buy all the ingredients. But if you don’t consume it on the regular and the ingredients could go bad, then by all means go buy the finished product! I didn’t think making the tapioca was so simple! I prefer the small pearl tampioca (sai mai) to the large boba drinks.

  • When I saw this web site having amazing quality YouTube video clips, I decided to watch out these all video clips.

  • Em

    I’m in for the 12 week challenge!!! I love your blog!!! You inspire me to choose healthier lifestyle.

    Healthier Black Boba alternative: Cook large size white Tapioca Pearls or Sago in black tea (use another flavor to make colorful pearls). Check ingredient lists, should just be tapioca and water. Enjoy!

  • Alex

    This was awesome! I was a little skeptical at first just because I LOVE bubble tea, but I was completely satisfied. I cannot wait to try making different flavors and to try the nata de coco some people were talking about. I like this version because it was kind of like watching a movie, but a hybrid would be awesome too!

  • Sam

    Chia seeds are a great (and healthy) way to add texture to boba tea! Your calorie intake will be about the same though.

  • jay

    Whenever I try to boil the boba balls they just mush up immediately – what’s the trick?

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  • Dena

    Hey Cassey,
    I agree with you about the cheap clean eats. I don’t understand when people say they’re not cost effective just because you have leftover ingredients. I’ve literally never seen a recipe book or article in a magazine about eating cheaply that calculates total cost based on buying all the ingredients brand new. Like you say, you have to invest in the ingredients to eat healthy long term. I mean, I can understand how some people might not be able to buy more specialty ingredients that you don’t use all the time, but really almond flour and stuff like that can be used for tons of healthy stuff. And this way you have to use the ingredients rather than go out and buy prepackaged food.

    • jay

      i guess it depends on how much stuff is in your country tho, the bubble tea was the first one i’ve found that was actually cheap

  • Judy

    Cassey, I think the old version is better because u can explain more and talk about the recipe more…the new one feels like a preview and I really like seeing in ur awesome outfits and having mini dance parties along the way……..and umm is the 12week challenge jornal for sale or what? And how much does it cost?

  • Karol

    I am totally in!

  • Cindy

    I am in!

  • Katie

    I’m in! I’m in! I am ready for the challenge and start a whole new lifestyle!

  • heya Cassey! A have a perfect substitute for those tapioca pearls! Have you ever heard of nata de coco? It’s a clear, chewey dessert made from coconut water, it’s low-calorie (coz it’s mostly water) and high in fiber, plus it’s delicious too. I think you can find it in asian or filipino food stores. You should definitely give it a try. Cheers!

    • Nicole

      I was going to suggest this! Or even grass jelly. Ever since those articles came out about how boba could be made from plastic, I stopped ordering it and found these better alternatives

  • Chelsea

    I will defiantly be taking the challenge! This is exactly ehat ive been needing! Thank you Cassey :) You always know what yo do!

  • Hi Cassey! I think i liked the old version of cheap clean eats better, this one was more like a trailer.
    Hugs! <3

  • kayla cupit

    Hi Cassey!
    I really love ur Boba idea and how much effort you put into it for us.
    I am on day six of the begginers calendar and for the first time I can see a clear path
    To a healthier fitter more positive me. I was wondering how to do the chest pulses because I haven’t seen a video with the demonstration yet and I can’t find it. If you can send me a link to my email it would be much appreciated. I love your vids and personality cassey.. luvv kayla

  • On the “Cheap Clean Eats” front – I see both sides of the argument – (1) Yes, if you only want the apple muffins once, and wouldn’t use the ingredients for anything else you are cooking, it’s not cost effective. You are better off just buying a darn muffin or (2) You have to look at the BIG picture in cost savings when you are making things at home – the ingredients go to more than one batch or more than one recipe.

    So, Cassey, suggestion/thought on how to improve “Cheap Clean Eats” and solve some of this dilemma… what if you did a month-long (or more) series of “Cheap Clean Eats” that used some of the same BASE ingredients for multiple different recipes? That is how I try to shop – I buy in bulk and then plan a menu around the ingredients that I will have leftover from the last meal to make the next. That is how you truly save money eating healthy at home and also refrain from wasting ingredients. I would love to see a series of “Cheap Clean Eats” that worked off this principle!

    (PS, every complaint is a challenge to find a better way! It is a compliment to your skills and ability that your fan base comes to you with these challenges! Keep up the great work!)

  • Hil

    Thank you for this! This is one of my favorite drinks, had no idea how sugary it was before. Also I’m glad for the matcha powder link– it’s really expensive in the asian stores around here. Excited to try it :)

  • Aurelia

    i like the original video style more (because i love to listen to your voice!!!), but a hybrid one whould be great, too!!!
    i like the boba in the bubble tea but the “tea” itself is always too sweet for me!!!

    i never tried it, but i saw a boba recipe on tv last year, they use tabioca powder/ flour and mix it with orange juice. with a injection they put the organe-juice-tabioca-powder-mix in boiled water (so you get boba) and after a few minutes they were ready!!! (that´s molecular cooking)

  • Adriel

    Hey Cassey!

    I absolutely love your recipes and workout videos. I was
    excited about the tea because I LOVE it! There is only one
    Asian restaurant in the town I live in that serves this…it’s yummy!
    Anyway, I like your original videos better. Also, I am a personal
    trainer and would like to know about how to become a certified
    Pilates instructor? Where did you get your certification? Thank you
    so much and keep up the great work! God bless!

  • jolene

    Honestly Cassey, I too don’t understand why some people are saying that Cheap Clean Eats aren’t cheap. The ingredients can always be used for other stuff! not just for one recipe! but anyway, some answers to your questions:
    1. i like your original videos Cassey. especially those with the sound effects. your enthusiasm adds to it as well!
    2. I think it’ll be great to have both costs. That way, comparisons can be made.

  • Wei Chin

    Hey Cassey,
    You have no idea how I <3 your blog!!! Just wanted you to know, I understood why you had everything in single servings. XD I actually thought it was really cool that you actually calculated even though it's irrelevant for me (since I'm from a different country). But yeah… when you compare it to the market price products outside in your country, I understand the difference. =)

    Anyway, I do have to say I prefer the previous cheapcleaneats as it felt more personal (since I do your workout vids). LOL but I'm not against the change. =D

    Thanks for this recipe btw. LOL… cause I really really <3 Green TEA!