What Is Crystal Boba? A Guide to the Chewy Tapioca Pearls in Bubble Tea [FAQs]

Have you ever heard of crystal boba? If you’re a fan of bubble tea, you may have come across this unique topping.

Crystal boba is a type of boba pearl that’s characterized by its transparent appearance. Unlike traditional tapioca pearls, crystal boba is made from white agar powder, which is a gelling agent.

Due to its distinct texture and appearance, crystal boba has become a popular alternative to tapioca pearls in bubble tea drinks.

Crystal boba is a great option for those who want to try something new in their bubble tea. With its chewy and sweet texture, it’s a perfect addition to any drink. Plus, it’s ready to serve and doesn’t require any cooking, making it a convenient option for bubble tea shops and home enthusiasts alike. But what exactly is agar powder, and how is it used to make crystal boba?

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the world of crystal boba, exploring its origins, taste, and texture. We’ll also take a closer look at how it’s made and how it compares to traditional tapioca pearls. Whether you’re a bubble tea lover or simply curious about this popular drink trend, read on to learn more about crystal boba.

What is Crystal Boba?


Crystal boba is made from white agar powder, which is a gelling agent derived from red algae.

The pearls are small, translucent, and have a jelly-like texture that bursts in your mouth when you bite into them.


Crystal boba originated in Taiwan, where bubble tea was first invented. It was created as a healthier and more natural alternative to traditional tapioca pearls, which are often made with artificial ingredients. The use of agar powder in crystal boba also makes it suitable for those with dietary restrictions, such as vegans and vegetarians.


Crystal boba is characterized by its transparent appearance and softer texture compared to traditional tapioca pearls. It comes in a variety of sizes and flavors, including fruit flavors like mango and strawberry.

How is Crystal Boba Made?


They include:

  • Konjac powder
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Agar powder or gelatin


The process of making crystal boba involves boiling the ingredients together, then cooling and shaping the mixture into small, translucent balls. Here are the basic steps for making crystal boba:

  1. Mix konjac powder and water in a bowl, stirring until the powder is dissolved.
  2. Heat the mixture in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Add sugar to the mixture, stirring until it is completely dissolved.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  6. Add agar powder or gelatin to the mixture and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  7. Pour the mixture into a mold or shape it into small balls by hand.
  8. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until it is firm and translucent.
  9. Remove the boba from the mold or shape it into small balls by hand.
  10. Rinse the boba under cold water to remove any excess starch or sugar.
  11. Store the boba in a container with water until ready to use.

Crystal boba can be used in a variety of drinks and desserts, including bubble tea, shaved ice, and fruit cups.

How is Crystal Boba Used?

In Drinks

Crystal boba is used as a popular topping in bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink that has gained popularity worldwide. It is often added to milk tea or fruit tea to give the drink a unique texture and flavor.

Crystal boba is also a great addition to smoothies, adding a fun and chewy texture to the drink.

In Desserts

It is commonly added to shaved ice or ice cream, providing a chewy texture that pairs well with the cold and creamy dessert.

Crystal boba can also be used in other types of desserts, such as puddings or cakes. One popular dessert that uses crystal boba is the Bubble Waffle Sundae.

Variations of Crystal Boba


Some popular flavors include:

  • Classic milk tea
  • Taro milk tea
  • Matcha milk tea
  • Fruity variations such as strawberry, mango, and passionfruit

These flavors can be combined with other ingredients such as fruit, milk, and syrups to create a unique and delicious bubble tea experience.


Some common shapes include:

RoundThe most common shape, these boba pearls are small and spherical.
Heart-shapedThese boba pearls are shaped like hearts and are a popular choice for Valentine’s Day or romantic occasions.
Star-shapedThese boba pearls are shaped like stars and add a fun and festive touch to bubble tea.

Other shapes such as flower-shaped, animal-shaped, and even alphabet-shaped boba pearls can also be found in some bubble tea shops.