Are boba and bubble tea the same thing?

Most people use boba and bubble tea interchangeably, but is one the right way to refer to delicious fruit or milk tea with chewable pearls?

It all comes down to cultural differences and how specific you want to get with terminology. In the United States, “boba” is typically used on the West Coast while you might find the majority of your East Coast friends asking you to get “bubble tea” instead. 

Keep in mind that while all bubble tea is boba, not all boba is bubble tea. The tapioca pearls themselves are called “boba” and gave the drink one of its names. Contrary to popular belief, the word “bubble” in “bubble tea” does not refer to the boba. Instead, it originates from the bubbles formed after shaking the drink to mix it. 

If you want to switch up what you’re calling your favorite drink, here are a few more options: pearl milk tea, milk tea, tapioca tea, tapioca milk tea, and pearl tea. 

What do you say?