A taro tea boba from The Sweet Spot Chinatown Las Vegas on May 28, 2022. (Mikayla Whitmore for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Massive Amount Of Bubble Tea Combinations Available
Bubble tea, which originated in Taiwan, has exploded into a craze in the U.S. This drink consists of a base (which may involve tea or an alternative like fruit), milk (which can be fresh, powdered, or a milk alternative), flavorings, and finally, a topping of boba, or pleasantly chewy tapioca balls that can be sucked up through a wide straw.
Bubble tea is written in Chinese as 珍珠奶茶 (zhēnzhū nǎichá), or pearl milk tea. Locals in Taiwan often customize their bubble teas with endless tweaks and combinations available, and when Taiwan Data Stories undertook a study on a mere five boba stores, they found that these stores' menu options alone can result in 157 unique drinks.
New toppings and flavors, custom ice and sugar levels, and other customization options are also ever-growing factors to contend with. When Taiwanese Data Studies added 3 additional toppings, 7 temperature labels, and 5 sweetness levels to their calculations, they found that over 12 million unique bubble tea drinks could be made from these components — now that's a lot of boba.