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Aug 31, 2003 01:10 AM

bubble tea

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Are there any kosher places which serve bubble (boba) tea (preferably in New York)? Any places to get the kosher tapioca pearls? As I understand it, these are not the regular supermarket variety tapioca pearls, but bigger, darker, chewier they even need certification? I find the idea of bubble tea fascinating, and am dying to try it...if it can be made kosher...Thank you

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  1. Elana: The "Original Bubble Tea", was made in Hong Kong using "Large Pearl" or "Sago" Tapioca. There are some Brands with a Kosher marking, but i'm not positive if it's actually required, as tapioca may be a item that requires no authorization. The "Bubble Teas", served in restraunts often use dark colored or flavored tapioca pearls, that may not be approved, plus most flavorings and processing mixes are made by the suppliers. However i'm sure if you'll simply prepare the pearl tapioca following the recipe on the box, you'll easily be able to make your own teas. Most so called teas, use any regular tea base, slightly stronger then usual, then add syrups, fruits, milk, yougart or whatever refreshes [tea isn't required] into the mixture blend, then put in several tablesoons of the tapioca pearl, stir and enjoy thru a larger then reqular round straw. Irwin

    1. Tapioca "pearls" definitely require kosher certification because they usually contain gelatin which is made by soaking animal bones (just as with marshmallows). I know that there's a brand under the OU hashgacha that's sold at Garden of Eden but as far as finding the big fat gezuntah ones with supervion...I haven't seen 'em as yet.

      6 Replies
      1. re: amy t.

        Amy:The "Tapioca Pearls" that i'm talking about are the varieties of Tapioca that are naturally grown, and have no additives. the larger Tapioca are often called "Sago" or "Pearls". The Tapioca, that is sold pre-prepared and processed for Bubble Tea, does indeed often have flavorings, color and gelatin added into the Tapioca, which is why I recommended simply cooking your own "Tapioca Pearls", that are sold in Boxes without anything added. That was the way the original bubbles teas were processed in Asia, until it became so popular that it attracted manufacturers attention to produce more convienient way's to serve to the marketplace. I'm sure that eventually this product will aslo have a "Kosher Version" but until then if it is acceptable, why not prepare it the by original better tasting method. Irwin

        1. re: Irwin Koval

          I have also been trying to figure out how to make a kosher bubble drink. Does anyone know if all tapioca balls with the only ingredient being tapioca, are kosher? I bought some small balls at an asian store but there are no instructions. How does one go about making them into those big chewy balls?

            1. re: Manpa

              These guys claim their boba are kosher (KSA):


              You may want to call and confirm. It should just be 100% tapioca, which is, in itself, "kosher" but most people want confirmation that it was processed in a Kosher facility so the Kosher certification should confirm that.

              1. re: ferret

                Buddha Bodai on Mott St near the Bowery in Chinatown has bubble tea in warmer weather. My impression is that it hasn't been a big seller for them.

                Beyond the bubbles, there would be an issue with bubble tea that came from an unsupervised place like Ten Ren (also on Mott St). They use "fructose" imported from Taiwan (probably high fructose corn syrup) and natural fruit for the flavoring. Whether the fruit is simply frozen or cooked in a pot, I don't know. I assume that some flavors may be enhanced in ways that might make them in need of supervision. While you can get bobo at unsupervised places without milk, there is the issue of non-kosher milk being used, and rendering at least their equipment dairy.

                Corn syrup, by the way, is sold to consumers both with and without supervision. If it was non-problematic, then it wouldn't need supervision.

                1. re: Dovid

                  I'm not so sure that the presence of a hechsher means it NEEDS one; there are drain cleaners with the OU, but I'm fairly sure most rabbis would say you could use one without. (I'm being facetious, of course; I wouldn't trust a rabbi that said a drain cleaner DID need a hechsher.)