Dunkin Donuts and boba tea might seem like an unlikely pair… but if you're seeking something different in your favorite coffee joint, you're in for a fruity surprise!
In this article, we dive into the world of Dunkin boba, compare it to traditional bubble tea, and explore the best Dunkin drinks for these unique toppings. All while praying they make a comeback, since sadly, Dunkin’s bursting bubbles have been discontinued.
Are Dunkin's popping bubbles worth the hype? Let’s find out.
No, Dunkin Donuts doesn't serve traditional boba tea in their US and Canadian stores. However, if you live in the Philippines you are in luck! As per their Instagram, Dunkin serves the following flavors:
Check the image below from their Instagram account!
It also seems like Dunkin's newest bubble tea flavor is brown sugar. It looks delicious!
It’s unlikely though that Dunkin will bring these bubble tea drinks to US or Canadian stores 🙁
Dunkin used to have something equally exciting on their US menu. Instead of traditional tapioca boba pearls, Dunkin used to offer "popping bubbles" – delightful, flavor-packed orbs that could be added to your iced or frozen beverages for just 70 cents. While these bubbles are not classic boba tea, their Strawberry Popping Bubbles offered a fun alternative for those looking to create a makeshift “boba drink.”
Traditional boba tea is a cold-served beverage that has a black tea base, milk, and edible tapioca pearls bathed in brown sugar syrup.
Unfortunately, Dunkin discontinued their strawberry popping bubbles from their US stores. You will not be able to add them to frozen or lemonade drinks anymore.
For now, you will have to travel to the Phillippines to have some Dunkin boba!
If you’re not familiar with bubble tea, let’s clarify the difference between popping boba or “bubbles” and tapioca boba pearls.
The latter ones are the traditional choice. They bring a chewy, slightly gummy texture to your drink. They are often infused with various flavors or sweeteners. Tapioca is the starch of the cassava root, so these boba pearls have a mild nutty flavor with hints of sweetness. Yum!
Popping boba, on the other hand, is a relatively new phenomenon. They aren’t made from tapioca, and they burst when bitten into. This releases fruit juices or syrup for a flavor explosion!
Popping boba is what Dunkin Donuts used in the US - specifically strawberry popping bubbles.
Dunkin's Strawberry Popping Bubbles, introduced as a delightful summer addition in June of 2021 (1), created a buzz in the boba drink world. Bursting with the essence of ripe strawberries, they brought a sweet and tangy flavor profile to your iced or frozen drinks.
As for the texture, they offered a satisfying pop upon biting, releasing a burst of fruity goodness. If you're looking for a unique and fruity twist to your beverage, these bubbles might just be your new favorite addition.
And no, you don’t have to hope for Dunkin to bring them back. Making popping boba at home is not as hard as it sounds! Plus you can infuse them with any flavor you want!
So, what drinks were you able to order popping bubbles with to make your own “Dunkin-style boba drink?”
According to Dunkin, their strawberry popping bubbles were a perfect pairing with the Coconut Refreshers and Lemonade.
While the combination with Coconut Refreshers is undoubtedly enticing, the idea of adding these bubbles to lemonade raised an eyebrow or two. It's a bold flavor choice, and skeptics may wonder how the tangy notes of lemonade blend with the sweet strawberry burst.
Here’s one rather critical review of the lemonade with popping boba:
“The lemonade is also super sweet, yet somehow doesn’t provide a lot of actual flavor. It’s not a good pairing. I’d say the bubbles make the lemonade better, but it’s probably more accurate to say the lemonade makes the bubbles worse.” (2)
I tasted the lemonade and popping bubbles combination, and I agree with the above review. I do recognize this is subjective and other people may love it.
While adding these popping boba pearls may give your drink a similar look to real bubble tea, it’s important to remember that classic bubble tea is made with black tea, brown sugar-infused tapioca pearls, and milk. Don’t expect it to taste anything like a true boba tea.
Here are some popular drinks adventurous souls added Dunkin popping bubbles to. Remember: you were able to incorporate these strawberry popping bubbles into any Dunkin iced or frozen beverage for an additional charge.
Coffee is definitely not the most natural companion for strawberry-flavored pearls, so we’ll spare you 😅. Here are five other delicious choices that promised a flavor-packed journey:
Honestly, we don’t think so. And it looks like Dunkin’s customers agree with this. After all, Dunkin discontinued their popping bubbles.
Strawberry popping boba, though intriguing, presented a somewhat obscure ingredient that was challenging to pair effectively with Dunkin's beverage offerings. I imagine it was also difficult to store and transport these delicate bubbles to each Dunkin location.
One might ponder why Dunkin ventured into the realm of popping bubbles when traditional tapioca pearls, a classic topping for tea drinks, would have been a more fitting choice. After all, it's pretty clear that strawberry's sweet and tangy profile might not harmonize with the soothing notes of regular tea. Plus, as mentioned above, they do serve traditional bubble tea in their Phillippines stores!
Whether these popping bubbles were a hit or miss ultimately boils down to personal taste and preference.
Strawberry popping bubbles aren’t particularly healthy. Unfortunately, the only information that we were able to find directly from Dunkin’ Donuts is that the red color is sourced from plants (1). They also likely have sodium alginate and calcium lactate, which are required for spherification to occur.
That’s not very helpful.
According to images that were circulated at some point, it appears that the bubbles were made with corn syrup, sugar, apple juice concentrate, and corn starch (3). You won’t find any tapioca starch like in traditional boba pearls. I imagine there was also some strawberry fruit juice mixed with the apple juice concentrate.
Since these strawberry popping bubbles were made from fruit juice concentrates and plant-based ingredients, they were vegan-friendly. They don’t seem to have been made with any animal-derived components like gelatin.
However, if Dunkin’s popping bubbles come back, it’s a good idea to double-check at your specific Dunkin Donut location. After all, the ingredients could change without any notice.
Ordering Popping Bubble Drinks at Dunkin' Donuts was a pretty straightforward process. Here are a few steps to help guide you through the ordering process, in case they make a resurgence.
Is “boba” called “bubble tea,” too? Sure is.
Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, is a beloved beverage that has its roots in Taiwan. The origins of this drink date back to the 1980s when a creative tea vendor decided to add tapioca pearls to his iced tea, which resulted in a chewy and unique texture that quickly gained popularity over the years and expanded into a global phenomenon, with countless variations, boba flavors, and names.
To clear up any boba terminology confusion, "boba,” “boba tea,” and “bubble tea” are all different names for this same drink. The terms can be used interchangeably.
Bubble tea enthusiasts have a diverse selection of boba pearls to choose from, including traditional black tapioca pearls, colorful fruit-flavored pearls, crystal boba pearls, and even popping boba like the ones that Dunkin’ Donuts uses.
Some classic bubble tea options include:
And don't forget, the boba phenomenon goes beyond milk tea and iced drinks. There is a vibrant culture of boba paraphernalia, including reusable cups and boba-themed plushies.
For some, bubble tea is no longer just a beverage… it’s a lifestyle.
To learn more about boba, read our ultimate bubble tea guide.
Dunkin' Donuts does not serve bubble tea or boba drinks in their US or Canadian stores. They used to offer boba-like popping bubbles in the US but these have been discontinued.
However, if you live in the Phillippines, Dunkin does serve bubble tea drinks!
The price of popping boba at Dunkin’ Donuts could differ depending on location, but it typically incurred an additional charge of around $0.70 per serving.
Starbucks is generally known for its coffee offerings and does not serve traditional boba milk tea or boba drinks. However, they tested two iced coffee beverages with popping coffee pearls. In the future, they may offer additional boba drinks.
No, Dunkin' Donuts primarily focuses on coffee and baked goods and does not sell bubble tea or boba drinks. They used to offer strawberry popping bubbles to enhance their iced and frozen drinks but these have been discontinued. Again, the exception is the Phillippines location where they serve various bubble tea drinks!
Dunkin's foray into the world of popping bubbles offered a unique fruity twist to their menu.
While Dunkin’ Donuts doesn't serve traditional bubble tea or true boba drinks, their popping bubbles used to provide a sweet burst of strawberry flavor that can give you a boba-like experience. They are currently discontinued but we hope they make a comeback!
The only place we are aware of where Dunkin sells bubble tea drinks is their Philippines stores!
“Dunkin Boba” might not have been for everyone, but it was worth trying at least one. If they make a return, stop by your local Dunkin’ location and add these popping bubbles to your favorite iced drink. You may just discover your new favorite drink for summer!