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bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
bubble tea & espresso
we are here to serve you

Is Bubble Tea Gluten Free?

The answer is simply - yes, bubble tea can be gluten free in that you can order a gluten free option with specific toppings.

Gluten is an ingredient that appears in various foods such as bread, grains, and cereals to name a few. Traditionally, bubble tea is made from tea, milk (or creamer), tapioca pearls, and sweetener.

Traditional bubble tea has seen an increase in popularity in Western culture in recent years, but it was originally invented during the 1980s in Taiwan

A cup of  gluten free bubble tea.
Bubble tea can be gluten free, although there are considerations to bear in mind.

That said, it’s good to live on the side of caution by asking whether bubble tea is gluten free in the store. This comes down to three considerations:

  1. Milk, milk alternatives and other dairy products
  2. Tapioca pearls
  3. Syrups

1. Milk, Milk Alternatives & Other Dairy Products

While the majority of dairy products are naturally gluten-free, certain dairy products, flavoured milks, and milk alternatives can contain additives that contain gluten. 

Bearing this in mind, it’s important to double check what milk or creamer is being used in your bubble tea to ensure that you’re allowed to have it. 

It’s worth noting that you should avoid opting for some kind of milk substitutes. This is particularly true of oat milk, as only certain brands of oat milk are gluten free.

2. Tapioca Pearls

Another consideration you might be worried about as someone who is gluten intolerant is tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are the chewy balls found in bubble tea, which are made from tapioca starch that has been extracted from cassava root. 

As cassava root is a vegetable and is naturally free from gluten, those that have gluten allergies generally should be safe to consume tapioca pearls.

That said, as someone who is gluten intolerant, you still need to be wary of cross contamination. This comes down to the fact that cassava root is ground into a fine powder in factories. If the factory also handles grains or wheats, then this is when you could be at risk of cross contamination.

cup of gluten free bubble tea
Tapioca pearls are gluten free, but you still need to be wary of cross contamination when you follow a gluten free diet.

3. Syrups

Another consideration to bear in mind is syrups. A lot of bubble tea flavours are sweetened with flavoured syrups.

While these syrups can be delicious, processed syrups can contain ingredients such as barley, which unfortunately contains gluten. 

While some bubble tea shops use just a simple syrup of sugar and water to sweeten their bubble tea, this is something to be cautious about if you’re gluten intolerant.

someone making gluten free bubble tea
There are a few precautions you should take when ordering your bubble tea if you're gluten intolerant.

Precautions To Take When Ordering Bubble Tea When You’re Gluten Intolerant

If you follow a gluten free diet or suffer from coeliac disease, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy traditional bubble tea. That said, you should always:

1. Check The Menu & Ask If You’re Unsure

It’s a good idea to check the menu for gluten-free signs. Alternatively, be sure to ask the shop assistant before you order whether the bubble tea is gluten free or can be made gluten free.

Many people follow different diets, so it won’t come as a surprise to them that you’re asking whether the bubble tea is gluten free. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask! 

2. Avoid Oat Milk

Many bubble tea shops have a variety of milks and creamers to choose from. While you might be spoilt for choice, you should avoid certain milk alternatives such as oat milk.

If you’re used to drinking a certain oat milk at home and the bubble tea shop has it, then this might be an exception. 

However, generally speaking you should avoid it as the gluten present in it could make you very ill and it’s not worth the risk.

3. Do Your Research

If you’re not sure whether the bubble tea shop in question has drinks that are safe for you to drink, do your research beforehand.

Be sure to look up the shop in question ahead of time to avoid disappointment and check out their menu to see if they have gluten free options. 

By carrying out these precautions, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re safe to drink your bubble tea.

We are Bubblebase: Wales’ first Bubble Tea Bar. We believe in using the best quality of ingredients to consistently serve our customers with a delicious range of drinks that have not only been created with utmost care, but also with the sharpest appearance.

Order online with our exclusive Bubblebase app and earn 9 stamps free when you register! Or place your order through our delivery partners and get Bubblebase delivered right to your doorstep.

Find us on our social media pages or leave a review here.

Written by Jemima Thomas for Bubblebase.

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