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Your Guide to Bubble Tea Toppings


Bubble tea continues its meteoric rise in popularity, both here in Toronto and across the globe. It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is stabbing a broad straw into a sealed cup, eagerly and excitedly digging into a cup of boba.

We could bore you with figures like CAGR and global market value, but they don’t get to the heart of why bubble tea is so special. For that, you have to look at the drink itself.

Bubble tea is a symphony of flavours and textures, a highly customizable beverage that lets you put your individual spin on it. With hundreds of various combinations available, it can be tweaked and engineered to fit virtually every palate.

This article explores how you can achieve your personal best bubble tea. Below, find a brief guide to some popular and innovative toppings available on the Chatime Canada menu (Canada’s largest bubble tea franchise).

Classic “Boba” Pearls

When most people think of bubble tea, their minds conjure up a platonic ideal of chewy, spherical balls suspended in a rich cup of milk tea. These are the classic boba pearls, and you can find them in a few variations:

  • Tapioca pearls: This is the quintessential bubble tea topping – chewy, slippery spheres made from cassava root powder.
  • Brown Sugar Pearls: A slight but satisfying variation on tapioca bubbles, brown sugar pearls are finished with a caramelly helping of melted brown sugar for added oomph.
  • Crystal boba: Swapping agar for tapioca, crystal boba is slightly more supple and less chewy. It works wonders in a fruit tea, but some people also swear by it in their classic milk tea.
  • QQ jelly: This is a mix of tapioca and coconut jelly – a one-two punch that’s the best of both worlds.

If you aren’t sure where your allegiances lie, don’t worry – ask your bubble tea maker for a mix of the toppings above to try each one.


Moving on from the world of spheres, we have the wide world of jellies. You can pretty much jellify anything tasty and sweet, but here are the top contenders for the most popular jelly toppings in Canada:

  • Grass jelly: No, it’s not made with literal grass. This refreshing Chinese delicacy comprises a relative of the mint family.
  • Aloe Vera: The brightly flavoured, antioxidant-rich cactus isn’t just a salve for sunburns – in jelly form, it also makes one of the finest bubble tea toppings.
  • Coconut jelly: This one needs no explanation. It’s the smooth, slightly nutty profile of coconut whipped into a jelly. Try it with fruit tea or on top of a smoothie.
  • Passion fruit jelly: As mentioned, you can jellify almost anything tasty, fruit included. Try zippy passionfruit jelly with a classic iced tea for a perfect summertime cool-me-down.

Pudding and Cremas

Not feeling like the spring of a bubble tea pearl today? Want something a little more luxurious than a jelly? Add a little texture to your bubble tea with pudding or crema.

The former is a custardy confection reminiscent of egg tart filling, pairing perfectly with an Earl Grey milk tea or taro drink. The latter is a whipped foam with a hint of sea salt, the ideal accompaniment for an iced matcha drink or candied winter melon latte.

Customize your ultimate bubble tea drink with one – or a combination – of the toppings above.

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