14 Popular Boba Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

If there were a drink of the moment, what would it be right now? Well, if you live in certain parts of the country, you know that bubble tea, also known as boba, has reached whole new heights on the popularity scale. It's tea, yes, but it's also kind of a dessert. And whether you prefer your tea with tapioca pearls, grass jelly, or any of the other amazing toppings you can choose from, you know this drink is a hit.

But here's the thing: Too many of us have a standard boba order we always get when we're at a tea shop, and we totally forget about the other options. While it's not a bad thing to have a favorite, it doesn't hurt to mix things up every once in a while.

If you do want to order something different but don't know what to get, have no fear. Here at Mashed, we've decided to take a look at some of the most popular boba flavors — and then rank them. We're going to start with the worst flavors, the ones we try to avoid when we get bubble tea. But we'll slowly make our way to the best bobas of the bunch. Are you ready to find a new boba flavor for your next order? Let's take a closer look!

14. Strawberry Milk Tea

If you love all things fruity, then you may think that strawberry milk tea is the way to go. However, we certainly don't think it's the best option for you out there, especially if you actually want to enjoy your drink and not just take a picture of it. Strawberry milk tea looks great in photos with its light baby pink color, but when you finally take a sip, you'll realize it was a huge mistake to order it.

That's because strawberry milk tea does have a distinctly fruity taste to it. If you get it with full sugar, it's going to be way too sweet. But if you order it with less sugar, there's a good chance that you won't taste much of anything at all. And since it's a milk tea, it's not even that refreshing. Basically, you're getting all of the calories of dessert without even getting to enjoy it. And that's the last thing you want, right?

While kids might enjoy strawberry milk tea because of its look, most adults are going to want to pass on this option and find something else entirely.

13. Red Bean Milk Tea

If you've spent much time eating at Asian restaurants, then you've probably had your fair share of red bean paste before. It's often found in desserts and pastries, and it has a soft, subtle flavor that's a nice alternative to the ultra-sweetened, chocolaty desserts you find in the West. But have you ever heard of red bean paste in milk tea? Well, some boba places do it, and we have to admit: We're not big fans.

One foodie reviewer who tried red bean milk tea described the experience this way: "[S]omething about actual beans coming up your straw is just sad ... in a drink, it's a very weird consistency at the bottom."

But it's not just the texture of the red bean paste that ends up being strange and kind of undesirable. After all, texture is something you might be able to overlook. It also comes down to the flavor. Since red bean paste isn't super flavorful, it really gets lost in the milk tea. You'll be able to taste a hint of it, but that's probably about it. And when you order boba, you want a drink that's actually flavorful, right? That's why we're just not huge fans of red bean milk tea.

12. Honeydew Tea

Now, this is one that you may not see a lot, but it's definitely gaining in popularity. But is it actually good? It really depends on who you ask. Honeydew tea is distinctive in the fact that the flavor is super light and refreshing. It's not going to weigh you down like a traditional milk tea might, and it may seem like a better choice during the summer months since it's not as heavy as some of the other options out there. We love that about it, but when it comes to flavor, we're just not big fans.

Like the strawberry milk tea, you're not actually going to be getting too much flavor in honeydew tea. Since honeydew is light enough as it is, when you mix it with milk and tapioca balls, you can imagine how easy it is to lose that flavor in the mix. Sweetener helps, of course, but if you don't like your bubble tea sweet, then you may miss out on the best part of opting for this flavor.

If you want something that's incredibly light and easy to drink, then honeydew tea might be the ideal drink for you. However, if you want to enjoy boba you can actually taste, then you may want to move on to one of the other options on this list.

11. Brown Sugar Tea

There's one type of boba that has been gaining in popularity recently, and that's brown sugar tea. This stuff looks like your average black milk tea but with a twist: There's a syrup-y addition of brown sugar that adds a little interest to the look of this drink. Take one glance at it, and you'll immediately notice that it looks pretty appetizing, especially if you're the kind of person who really likes sweets. For our tastes, though, this one ends up being way too saccharine, which is why it doesn't come in near the top of our list.

A reviewer who tried different brown sugar teas described one of them like this: "It's really, really sweet — as though there was additional sugar syrup added on top of caramelised brown sugar syrup, though the brown sugar doesn't taste quite fragrant enough, and the milk not all that creamy."

While the creaminess of the milk probably depends on where you're getting your boba from, if you don't want a drink that's overwhelmingly sweet, we think you should choose something else.

10. Coffee Tea

When you first see coffee boba on a menu, it may seem like the best thing ever. After all, it gives you a chance to combine two of your favorite drinks: bubble tea and coffee. What could go wrong? But as much as we like the idea of this combo, in reality, it just doesn't come together for us. When you order bubble tea, you probably want something that tastes at least somewhat refreshing. But when you add coffee into the mix, that can't really happen.

The result is a drink that tastes heavier than you really want it to be. It's more indulgent than a latte, and that can leave you feeling less than amazing. That's especially true if you enjoy this drink early in the morning. Though we love the extra boost of caffeine from the coffee, this drink is pretty over the top, and it's definitely not something we could drink on a regular basis — or enjoy more than a few sips of.

9. Pineapple Tea

If you're on the lookout for a fruitier variety of boba, you've found it in pineapple tea. As you can imagine, this one tastes strongly of tropical fruit, and it's very sweet with a slight tartness to it. At a lot of bubble tea shops, you can find this flavor in either a milk variety or as a fruitier tea. Regardless of which one you order (we prefer the fruitier version), you're going to be whacked in the face by a strong pineapple flavor.

For those who absolutely love pineapple, then this is a dream come true. However, for those of us who aren't as fanatical about pineapple, this flavor is just too much. The tropical sweetness of it can be almost sickly. Of course, this is less of a problem if you ask for less sugar, but the pineapple scent is still going to be there regardless.

Therefore, whether you enjoy this drink is really going to come down to how you feel about pineapple as a whole. Give it a try if you think it sounds appealing. If you're like us, though, and could take or leave the pineapple flavoring, then you may want to look for something else.

8. Mango Milk Tea

If you're interested in a fruitier tea but don't want to try something as sweet as pineapple tea, then you may be interested in mango milk tea. According to Simple Loose Leaf, this stuff isn't even really made with tea — just with fruit puree. Therefore, if you're not much of a tea person but still want to try some boba, this may just be your best option.

Despite being dairy-based, mango milk tea is actually a really refreshing flavor. This may just be the only milk tea we would want to take to a beach with us during the summertime. It can be on the sweeter side, though, so if that's not what you're into, you may not want to order this drink.

Overall, we think mango milk tea is pretty standard. Yes, it does taste good, but it doesn't really give us the boba tea experience we're looking for.

7. Matcha Milk Tea

Calling all matcha lovers! There's a drink out there just waiting for you, and you're not going to want to miss out on it. That's because it combines two of your favorite beverages into one delicious, easy-to-drink concoction that will likely have you going back for more. It's matcha milk tea, and it's no wonder why this one is such a hit. These days, people absolutely love matcha, and boba is all the rage too. It just makes sense that they would come together in one drink.

The matcha pairs very well with the milk, since it's a combo you find in many matcha drinks regardless. Our only complaint here is that matcha isn't a very strong flavor. You can add flavor to your drink by asking for more sugar, but all that gives you is a touch of sweetness — not much else. If you're looking for an intensely flavored drink, this one is not for you. On the other hand, if you want a drink that's pretty light with just a touch of matcha green tea flavoring, then you should give it a try the next time you're ordering boba.

6. Rose Tea

Looking for something that's out of the ordinary but still packs plenty of flavor? Then you're going to want to try rose tea the next time you decide to get boba. Rose tea may not be one of the most common flavors, but it's getting more and more popular. You can get this variety of boba in either a milk tea or as a fruitier option. We like the milk tea here, as it adds a bit of richness you wouldn't otherwise get.

Honest Food Talks provided an excellent description of what this drink tastes like: "​​Rose milk tea is a creamy, fragrant yet refreshing drink. The combination of rose and milk gives this drink a subtle floral taste and a smooth, rich feel in the mouth."

Depending on where you get your boba from, you may be met with a slightly floral taste or one that's on the stronger side. While not everyone likes floral flavors, this one really is quite lovely. And if you've ever tried a Turkish delight and enjoyed it, then this tea is going to be perfect for you.

5. Taro Milk Tea

What is taro, you ask? It's a root vegetable that has a potato-like texture to it. It's thick and creamy, and it's a bit less starchy than your average potato. It might seem strange to add this food to a drink, but we can guarantee you that it's actually really tasty. Taro isn't very strongly flavored. Rather, it has a light, nutty taste to it that's enhanced by the milk in the classic boba drink. It's subtle, yes, but it's still got enough flavor that we'd keep going back for more.

The thing we love about this flavor is the fact that you don't have to add in a bunch of sweetener for it to taste good. Though taro might be subtle, it provides a surprising amount of flavor even when you decide to leave the sugar out. Therefore, if you're the kind of person who doesn't want to add a ton of sugar to their boba, then taro milk tea may just be what you're looking for at your local bubble tea joint.

4. Thai Milk Tea

If you've had Thai tea before, you know how good it is. The original is served without boba, and you can probably find it at your local Thai restaurant. But if you love boba just as much as you love Thai tea, then you should definitely try the drink that combines them both: Thai milk tea. This drink is immediately recognizable by its orange color. Luckily, it tastes just as good as it looks. A warning: Thai milk tea is exceedingly sweet, so you might want to ask the staff if they can cut back on the sugar in your drink if you don't have a really active sweet tooth.

Despite this intense sweetness, though, this is one of our favorite boba drinks. The Thai tea and milk go so well together, and it's a stronger flavor than many of the others on this list. Since Thai tea has so many different spices in it, it's one of the most flavorful options on any boba tea spot's menu. What's not to love about that?

3. Lychee Tea

For those of you who are constantly on the lookout for a delicious, fruity tea, you can't go wrong with lychee boba. Seriously, this stuff is delicious, and it's our absolute favorite drink to have on a hot day. While this drink is fruity, we don't think the flavor is as intense as what you would get if you were to order a pineapple or mango boba. Instead, the lychee is nice and light, which makes this drink taste less sweet and more refreshing.

One boba enthusiast wrote about why they loved lychee boba so much: "Lychee bubble tea is fragrant, sweet, and smooth ... Tea flavor gives the depth, lychee gives the sweet fragrant taste, milk imparts smoothness, boba balls give a texture, and the bubbles give ... a unique [mouthfeel] to this drink."

We couldn't agree more. The taste of lychee is absolutely lovely — think of it like a grape, but somehow lighter. So, what are you waiting for? You should be on your way to your local bubble tea shop by now.

2. Wintermelon Tea

No, we didn't misspell "watermelon." While a watermelon tea would probably be pretty tasty, that's not what this is. Rather, it's wintermelon, which is actually a Chinese gourd that doesn't really taste anything like watermelon at all. When it's fresh, it has a light and almost grassy flavor. However, when it caramelizes, it provides of a rich, sweet taste, which is exactly what you're going to get when you order wintermleon boba. If you haven't tried it before, it may seem a little strange, but take one sip and you're going to understand why this drink got the number two spot on the list. It's nice and light while still imparting a distinctly rich and sweet taste on your drink.

However, this is the kind of drink that you really have to try for yourself, as it's difficult to describe the flavor. One Reddit user said, "​​I'm a boba shop worker and we get lots of customers asking what does wintermelon taste like. We have wintermelon tea and wintermelon milk tea, but it is a very difficult flavor to describe. I have heard others compare it to vanilla, hazelnut, cucumber, etc., but I'm not sure if there's a better word."

So, there you have it. Looks like you're just going to have to try some wintermelon tea and decide for yourself.

1. Black Milk Tea

Finally, we're at the end of the list, and we've saved the best for last. Black milk tea is probably the most well-known boba flavor. If you've had boba before, there's a good chance that this was the first kind you tried. It's widely available at bubble tea shops around the world, and it has an instant appeal to it. Plus, once you take a sip, you'll realize it's got a flavor that just about everyone will love, regardless of whether or not they drink tea on a regular basis.

Eater described it this way: "[I]n its most basic form, the drink consists of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls, all shaken together like a martini and served with that famously fat straw to accommodate the marbles of tapioca that cluster at the bottom of the cup." We think that sums it up nicely. It's classic, it's essential, and it's the kind of treat that doesn't get old. And if you've yet to try boba, this is a fantastic place to start.