Bubble pearls are sometimes known as “Tapioca Balls” or “boba”. These small bubbles or pearls, are typically made from starch or alginate and dispersed in the liquid. They are prevailing chewy titbits in bubble teas.
The Ingredients of Tapioca Pearls
The main ingredients of tapioca pearls consist of Tapioca Starch, Water, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Flavour, Solidifier (Calcium Lactate, Calcium lactate Gluconate, Calcium Chloride), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate/ Sodium Citrate) and Thickener (Xanthan Gum) (Vita Fruit Enterprise, n.d.).
Commercial tapioca pearls contain approximately 60% gelatinized starch. Tapioca starch is renowned for its bland flavour and clear thick pastes despite its stringy texture. This stringiness can be overcome by chemically cross-linking the starch or by converting the starch to pearls. Starch pearls are partially cooked small spheres (1-6mm diameter) formed from agglomerated starch granules. The spherical agglomeration of tapioca starch appears to follow the mechanisms of coalescing, layering and crushing-layering demonstrated for other materials (Xu & Seib, 1993).
|Thickeners: Tapioca Starch||
|Solidifiers: Calcium lactate,Calcium lactate Gluconate, Calcium Chloride||
|Preservatives: Sodium Citrate, Potassium Sorbate||
|Gelling Agent: Sodium alginate||
|Thickener: Xanthan Gum||
Flow Chart 1.0: General Flow of Spherification
(Molecule-R Flavor, n.d.).
Bruce&Clark. (2015). The Nature of Tapioca Pearls.
Molecule-R Flavor. (n.d.). Introduction to Molecular Gastronomy.
Samueul, F. O., Otegbayo, B. O. & Alalade, T. (2012). Nutrient and Anti-nutrient Content of Soy-Enriched Tapioca. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 3, 784-789.
(2012). Safeguards SGS Consumer Testing Services: Bubble Tea under Surveillance In Germany.
Vita Fruit Enterprise. (n.d.). Topiaca Pearl.
Xu, A. & Seib, P.A. (1993). Structure of Tapioca Pearls Compared to Starch Noodles from Mung Beans. Cereal Chemistry, 70(4), 463–470.