Starbucks Boba Drink Guide (Starbucks boba drink testing + more information)

The boba drink has become an obsession for Americans, and Starbucks decided to give their customers what they desired. The Starbucks boba drink is a beverage you must try when they are officially launched.

The Starbucks boba drink is two coffee-based drinks made by adding pearls and looks similar to bubble tea made of tapioca pearls. The boba drink has become popular in the US, especially among Generation Z, millennials, and the Asian American communities. I first tasted boba tea in a newly opened bubble tea store which my supervisor liked to frequent whenever we went out for fieldwork. He invited me to have tea, and I liked it. Therefore, when Starbucks introduced its version of the boba drink, I could not resist trying it out. You may also want to try out the drink once it is launched and understand the fuss. In this post, you will learn what Starbucks boba drink is, the market, and the nutritional content.

What is a boba at Starbucks

A boba at Starbucks is an iced coffee-based drink made with pearls popping. The boba drink is slightly different from the ones that have been on sale in many of the newly opened bubble tea stores. The regular boba drinks were made with milk, tea, and tapioca balls. The difference is that Starbucks boba drinks are made of tea and coffee-based beverages instead of only tea-based ones.

What are the pearls popping in the boba drink?

The pearl popping is the ingredient that creates the boba drink. Without them, you have regular tea or coffee. But what is the pearl popping? The pearl popping is the one known as boba. The pearl popping is made from cassava. The cassavas mainly grow in South America and are transformed into starch balls that are simmered in honey or brown sugar syrup, making them sweet and brown in color.

It is believed that the boba originated from Taiwan, where it was initially paired with delectably chewy rice balls, beans, and syrup and was also used in shaved ice desserts. The use of boba was eventually adopted in milk tea forming the genesis of the delicious boba drink.

Will these coffee boba drinks be available at other Starbucks locations?

Starbucks boba drink testing

Yes, the drinks will be available at other Starbucks locations if the current reception is satisfactory. Starbucks is currently testing two boba drinks. During the test period, the drinks are only available in two locations which include the El Paseo Palm Desert, California, and in Bellevue, Washington. The testing will help the company understand the drink’s reception in the market. A high positive reception would allow the company to quicken the process of having the drink in other locations. However, a response that is not satisfactory would force the company to perform some further market tests as they review the customers’ feedback and probably make a few adjustments to the production. If the drinks are well received, Starbucks may decide to gradually avail the drinks in other locations or to avail them at once in other locations.

How big is the Starbucks boba drink market?

The initial indication is that the drinks are popular among generation Z, millennials, and the Asian American communities. The groups form a big chunk of the American population. According to market research by Future Market Insight, the bubble tea market was estimated at $ 2.3 billion in 2021. In ten years- that is, by 2031- the bubble tea market is projected to reach $ 5.5 billion. The market size will grow at a rate of 8.8% CAGR within the ten years.

The demand for healthier alternatives to carbonated drinks is one of the significant drivers of growth in the market. The Future Market Insight indicated that the forecasted growth is faster than the growth witnessed between 2016 to 2020 – an increase of 7.1% – because the boba tea is expected to be more available globally than it was in the past. Additionally, the popularity of the tea is expected to bring more prominent players who will avail and popularize the drink.

What is the target market for the Starbucks boba drink?

The target market for boba tea is the younger generation due to their availability for social media marketing used in the past to market such products. Starbucks has used TikTok and Instagram to reach new customers and popularize its drinks. The market is a significant consideration when introducing new beverages. The boba drink is easier to target young people, especially college and university students. The drink was first introduced to the American market by being sold to students assembled in various social places. The drink was served with affordable snacks and became popular among young college and university students. Therefore, Starbucks will likely target young people through social media and focus on college and university students who have already received the drink positively.

What is in the Starbucks boba drink

What is in the Starbucks boba drink

Starbucks boba drink is made using two drinks: an iced chai latte with coffee pearls, and the second is composed of pearl popping, black coffee, and a shot of espresso. To break it down, the boba drink made from an iced chai latte consists of black tea, milk, cardamom, vanilla, ginger juice, black pepper, honey, star anise, sugar, natural flavors, and cloves, cinnamon, ginger, honey, citric acid, and pearl popping.

What is the nutritional information of the Starbucks boba drink?

It is crucial to understand the nutritional content of boba since it is the new ingredient in some regular Starbucks drinks. Seventy-six grams of dry boba or pearl tapioca contains 272 calories. The high-calorie content is because boba is made from starch. Boba is also made of sugar which also contributes to calories.

The table below shows the nutritional information of boba

272 Calories in 76 grams or ½ cup
Fat 0g
Sodium 0.8g
Carbohydrates 67.5g
Fiber 0.7g
Sugars 2.5g
Proteins 0.1g

What are the ingredients of the Starbucks boba drink?

The Starbucks boba drinks are based on two Starbucks drinks: the Starbucks chai latte and ‘A Shot in the Dark.’ The two drinks have different ingredients, and thus the two will be listed independently.

The Starbucks chai latte-based boba ingredients

  • Pearl popping
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Sweetener
  • Chai tea concentrate (which is made of black tea, vanilla, ginger juice, honey, sugar, star anise, natural flavors, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and cardamom.)

The Starbucks in ‘A shot in the dark’ boba-based drink ingredients

  • Black coffee
  • Starbucks espresso
  • Sweetener
  • Pearl popping

The ingredients listed may change after the testing period. However, since pearl popping is the primary ingredient, they will be present in any drink customization.

Does the Starbucks boba drink have caffeine?

Yes, the Starbucks boba drink has caffeine because the boba-based beverages are made of coffee and tea, which have caffeine. For instance, the chai tea latte is made of chai syrup with 25mg of caffeine in every pump. A chai latte-based boba drink has about 95mg of caffeine for a Grande serving, and the other hand, the ‘A shot In the dark’ boba based drink is made from black coffee and espresso. The black coffee and the shot of espresso are rich in caffeine. For instance, one shot of Starbucks espresso has 75mg of caffeine, while a Grande serving of Starbucks black coffee has 330mg of caffeine. Therefore the ‘In the dark’ based boba drink has up to 350 mg of caffeine for a Grande serving. The caffeine in the latter drink is significantly high, considering the recommended daily limit is about 400mg.

What is the flavor profile of the Starbucks boba drink?

From my experience, I can describe the flavor as chewy and tapioca. Although the chai latte-based boba has several spices, the boba taste is the most prominent, and only with keen attention will you taste vanilla or cardamon in the drink. The chewy and tapioca flavor is unique and is why boba drink has such a beautiful flavor. The drink is sweet, with a slight salty feeling that is hardly noticeable. It has a refreshing smell of tea and a mix of spices.

Starbucks Boba drink testing

The Starbucks boba drink testing involves introducing the boba drinks in limited locations, informing the customers of the availability of the drinks, and collecting customer feedback about the drink. The aim is to understand detailed market dynamics and make changes if necessary.

When did Starbucks start testing out its boba drink?

Starbucks started to test its boba drink in December 2021. The tests came when boba tea became increasingly popular, and many boba tea stores were opening across the US. I suspect Starbucks wanted to take a chunk of the growing boba drinks market. At this time, various market research companies have also released promising data about the expected growth of the boba drink market in the US and the world. Therefore, Starbucks began testing their boba drinks when there was an optimistic projection of the demand for the drink.

How long will the Starbucks boba drink testing last?

Starbucks has not indicated how long the boba drinks will be tested. Starbucks takes different periods to test different products, some taking longer than others. The aim of testing is to receive customer feedback and understand areas that they may need to adjust. Therefore, the testing period will depend on how long it takes to collect enough feedback and how long the changes required may take to implement. Starbucks may make changes and decide to test the reception of the changed product. In such cases, the testing period may take longer. On the other side, the testing period is shorter when the products are readily accepted in the market and no changes are needed.

Where is Starbucks testing their boba-style drink?

Starbucks is testing its boba drinks at the El Paseo Palm Desert, California, and Bellevue, Washington. Starbucks customers close to the two locations have the privilege of tasting the drinks before everyone else and helping the company make necessary changes to the drink. If traveling to the two locations, you can test the drinks, provide feedback and share the experience with other customers.

Final thoughts

It is exciting to learn of the introduction of the delicious drinks. Testing the boba drinks at Starbucks is a great relief for those who want the drink and wish they would get the Starbuck quality. The introduction of the boba drink indicates Starbucks’s dedication to bringing its customers delicious beverages from other cultures. Although many may have taken the boba tea from different stores, many are waiting to experience the Starbucks boba drinks. checking the available customers’ feedback from social media can also provide you with enough information on what to expect once the boba beverages are launched

FAQ Section

Does Starbucks Have Boba Tea?

No, Starbucks does not currently have boba tea. However, there is hope that the current boba drink tests at Starbucks will be positive, and the drink will soon be introduced in all Starbucks locations. If you are near the El Paseo Palm Desert, California, or in Bellevue, Washington, you can have the barista add boba to your tea.

How much does Starbucks boba cost?

The ice chai tea latte-based boba drink costs $5.45, and the ‘A shot in the Dark’ boba-based glass costs $5.25. the prices may, however, change when the drinks are introduced to all Starbucks locations.

Is Starbucks boba a secret menu item?

The Starbucks boba is not in the secret menu item because it is still in the testing phase. Once the drinks are approved, they will be on the Starbucks menu. However, customers will likely have their customization of the drinks, creating several boba drinks on the secret menu.