Verdict: Tapioca in bubble tea is vegan.
- Tapioca is made from cassava root – a plant. Read full details below.
- As long as the rest of your tea is vegan, you’re all set. See my guide to vegan bubble tea for more.
Bubble tea is awesome, and the good news is that you can still enjoy it on a vegan or vegetarian diet as long as you are careful.
Assuming there’s no milk, honey, or jelly made from gelatin in your tea, that just leaves one thing…
What are those gummy tapioca pearls at the bottom of your bubble tea made of?
Based on the texture, you might suspect that it has gelatin.
Thankfully, tapioca is made only from plants, specifically, the cassava root (also called yucca).
How Tapioca Pearls Are Made From Cassava Root
Cassava root is a tuber that looks a lot like a sweet potato. You’ve probably seen it before and not even known what it was.
It’s mainly grown in Brazil, Nigeria, and Thailand, but originally came from South America and the Caribbean.
Tapioca is the starch that’s extracted from cassava root.
Once the plant is grown, toxins are removed from the roots, and then the starch is removed and turned into a bunch of products: flakes, powder, and pearls.
Tapioca is 100% carbohydrate (gluten-free), and is completely vegan.