Crystal Boba Pearls, A Tapioca Alternative You Will Love

Updated on: April 28, 2023
Author: Nick
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Pearls Crystal Boba

These translucent pearls bob at the bottom of your bubble tea. As you bite into the jelly-like texture, a burst of citrus spreads across your taste buds.

This citrus taste can compliment a wide range of bubble tea and crystal boba pearls are becoming increasingly popular instead of the traditional tapioca pearls. 

And it’s not hard to see why…

What is Crystal Boba?

Crystal boba are a type of boba and an alternative for tapioca pearls in your bubble tea. 

Crystal boba is made from the konjac plant, a tropical flower from Southeast Asia. Regular boba is made with tapioca pearls which are made of starch from the cassava root and are black or dark brown due to the caramel or brown sugar added after preparation. 

Crystal boba is also known as agar boba, or white pearls. 

They are translucent milky white spheres which are soft and chewy balls, and have a gelatin texture. The texture comes from the agar which is a plant-based jelly-like agent made from seaweed. 

It is a great substitute for gelatin if you are vegetarian or vegan! They are immersed in syrup of a citrus flavor which gives it its taste. 

These pretty spheres are versatile and can be used in bubble tea, frozen yoghurt, or as a dessert topping. 

You should give them a try when next time you order bubble tea!

Crystal Boba versus Regular Boba

There isn’t just one type of boba for your bubble tea, the tapioca pearls, there is white pearls, rainbow boba, golden boba, and popping boba

White pearls are the healthiest of all the different pearls because they contain a lot fewer calories and have no fat. 

Rainbow Boba

Rainbow boba is crystal boba but they are colored in white, red and yellow. You can buy this ready-made or make them at home using food coloring. 

Rainbow boba livens up your bubble tea and gives it a citrusy flavor just like white pearls. You can use them as a dessert topping to impress your guests with something different. 

Only you will know that they were really easy to make (or buy if you want to cheat). Just learn the recipe in case anyone asks how you made them and you can pretend you made everything from scratch.

We promise, we won't tell…

Popping or Bursting Boba

Aptly named because 'bursting boba' because when you bite into them they give a burst of flavor. 

Bursting boba come in a variety of flavors and colors with a chewy texture, adding further variety to your bubble tea. 

Bursting boba are made from a process called spherification which means a reaction occurs between sodium alginate (found in seaweed) and calcium chloride. Don’t worry, there is no seaweed taste. 

You can infuse your bursting boba with different flavors, so you can experiment and maybe name a type of boba after yourself. How about 'Bethany's bursting boba', or 'banana bursting boba'.


Mini Boba

 Mini boba is just a smaller version of tapioca boba. They are quicker to cook and they are easier to pick up if you don’t have large straws.

Golden Boba

These are just tapioca balls only with a golden color. They get their golden color instead of the black color of tapioca boba due to added honey instead of sugar or caramel. Some say these soak up the sugar or honey better and so are sweeter.

How to Prepare Crystal Boba at Home?

It only takes ten minutes cooking time to make your white pearls at home. You make a batch and store them in your fridge for several days. 

You can also separate your boba into batches and freeze them! This means you can experiment with all sorts of flavors that complement your different bubble teas. Try matcha, jasmine, or lychee to give different tastes to your bubble milk tea. Just use a fruit puree or syrup to infuse the flavor into the pearls.  

Crystal Boba Recipe

Konjac gum (this can be difficult to get so you can substitute with coconut water)2.2lbs (1kg)
White Sugar3.5oz (100g)
Fruit Jelly0.35oz (10g)
Agar Powder (click to buy from Amazon)0.42oz (12g)
Water4.4lbs (2kg)
Ice2 Trays
Oil2.7oz (80mL)


  1. Add your coconut water into a saucepan on low heat.
  2. Mix the agar and jelly powder and add to the pot, making sure the powder is dissolved.
  3. Simmer on a low heat for five minutes and stir continuously.
  4. Take the pot of the heat and continue to stir.
  5. Set aside this sugar mixture for 10 minutes to rest.
  6. Mix the water, ice, and oil together.
  7. Add the sugar mixture to a squeeze bottle.
  8. Squeeze the mixture into the water mix little by little.
  9. When the pearls sink to the bottom, they have set.
  10. Strain and wash. 

Pull out your fancy reusable boba cup and add them to your bubble tea and you have crystal chewy balls for your bubble milk tea. Alternatively, you can store them in the fridge for future use. Just make sure you don’t store them for too long or they can actually go stale.

You can even use this super cute boba mini-fridge to store them! How fitting!

Boba Tea Fridge - Order Online

Where to Buy Crystal Boba?

If you don’t fancy making white pearls at home for your bubble drink, then you can buy ready-made packets from Amazon.

Amazon sells all things bubble tea, from syrups, to toppings, and powder mixes.

Bossen Original Crystal Boba

If you click this link & purchase, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many calories are in white pearls?

In 100 grams of agar boba, there are around 70 calories.

Is crystal healthier than regular boba?

Crystal pearls are healthier than other kinds as they contain 70 calories and no fat per 100grams but tapioca based pearls contain a massive 360 calories.

Are white pearls vegan?

Tapioca pearls generally are vegan as there is no gelatin. You should always check the packet.

Is crystal boba gluten free?

Yes! It is gluten free.

Does it contain gelatine?

White pearls are set (this is how they become balls) with agar or konjac starch. White pearls are more likely to be vegan as it’s unusual for manufacturers to use gelatin.

Clear Tapioca Balls

Bottom Line

Whether you make them at home or buy them ready-made, these crystal pearls add a citrusy flavor to your bubble tea, frozen yogurt, shaved ice, or dessert. And they look pretty too. 

Have you tried this type of boba pearls? What do you think? And which ones are your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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