One of Mochidoki’s core values is “Respect the Flavors.” In this series, we’ll explore the many ingredients and flavors featured in our mochi lineup, giving them the time, attention and respect they deserve.
What is boba?
Boba refers to the chewy spheres found packed into the bottom of sweetened bubble tea. Made from tapioca or cassava starch, these pearls are known for their bouncy, chewy texture and are flavorless until cooked in sugar, taking on a sweet taste and dark color.
(Image courtesy of The Spruce Eats)
Where does boba come from?
While cassava starch comes from the South American root vegetable, the drink we now know and love originated in Taiwanese tea shops.
Boba tea's story began in Taiwan in the late 1980’s, where brewed, sweetened and shaken green or black tea was popular. Deemed “bubble tea” for the froth that formed after the drink is vigorously shaken, this style of tea was an instant hit.
The origin of adding tapioca pearls to bubble tea is hotly disputed. One tea house claims its owner had the idea while pursuing a local market, while another says its 20-year-old employee added the pearls to the tea they sold on a whim during her shift. Both were unsuccessful in trademarking their product and soon, boba tea was featured on menus across Taiwan.
What does boba taste like?
Tapioca balls are essentially flavorless when left raw. After being boiled and flavored with everything from brown sugar to honey, they take on a lightly sweet flavor. Chewy and gummy in texture, boba is the perfect addition to an otherwise frothy and smooth drink.
How is boba used?
Before the invention of Boba tea, these texturally unique pearls were added to asian desserts, where gelatinous sweets are favored. Now, tapioca pearls are mostly used in bubble tea shops across the world, where they’re put in everything from traditional teas to slushies and milk drinks.
(Image courtesy of Reader’s Digest)
We kept boba’s history and flavor profile in mind when creating our seasonal Jasmine Boba mochi ice cream, altering our mochi recipe to emulate the taste and texture of chewy tapioca pearls. This rich mochi, enhanced with a hint of sugar and molasses, surrounds a light and floral jasmine ice cream. Each bite of the mochi perfectly emulates the classic taste of your favorite bubble tea ... only inside out, with the boba surrounding the tea, rather than floating inside it.