Boba tea and bubble tea are used interchangeably. But did you know that the bubble in bubble tea actually refers to the airy bubbles at the top instead of the tapioca balls? The airy bubbles form when the milk tea or tea is shaken in a cocktail shaker and poured through the small holes at the top which contributes to even more bubbles. So next time when you order your drink, ask for boba, pearls or tapioca balls as a topping, not bubbles!
Boba tea and bubble tea is predominately used in America and Europe. In Asia, the more commonly used name is actually pearl milk tea [zhen-zhu-nai-cha 珍珠奶茶]. Even though you might be ordering a tea without milk or a fruit smoothie, the term “pearl milk tea” is used to describe all drinks sold in a pearl milk tea shop.