Can You Drink Bubble Tea if You Are Lactose Intolerant?

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Have you always wanted to try bubble tea, but you’re lactose intolerant and you’ve seen that creamy color of the drink?

How can you know if it is safe to drink or if you’ll have a reaction to it?

Bubble tea contain milk alternatives
Bubble tea does contain milk

The bad news is bubble tea does contain milk, in fact, another name for bubble tea is milk tea.

The good news? There are dairy-free options that you can still enjoy.

What is Bubble Tea?

First and foremost, what exactly is bubble tea?

Bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

It typically consists of brewed black or green tea, milk, sweeteners, and chewy tapioca balls (aka “pearls” or “boba”).

Bubble tea drink
Bubble tea delicious

The combination of flavors and textures makes bubble tea a unique and refreshing treat.

Bubble tea can be made with or without milk and can be served as a hot or cold drink.

When bubble tea is made with milk, it is usually dairy-based milk such as whole milk, condensed milk, or evaporated milk.

We Suggest -For those who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, there are usually non-dairy milk options available, such as soy milk or almond milk.

Are All Ingredients Dairy Free?

It goes without saying that milk isn’t dairy free, but what about all of the others?

It’s easy to substitute one ingredient for a dairy-free option in a drink, but if the entire thing has dairy in it, you might consider choosing a different drink.


Tea by itself is completely dairy free.

This goes for all types of tea from black tea, to chai tea, and chamomile tea. There is nothing in the tea leaves or tea bags that contains any dairy.

Tapioca Pearls

Several ingredients make up tapioca pearls.

The first is tapioca starch. This starch comes from the cassava root and does not contain dairy.

Tapioca pearls tea
Tapioca pearls

Water is also used in the process to make tapioca. It is added to the tapioca starch to create a dough, but it is also frozen and used as ice to cool the drinks.

I think we can all agree that water is dairy free as well.

Depending on where you buy your tapioca pearls from, or where you get your bubble tea, brown sugar and black food coloring could be used to flavor the boba or color it so it looks nicer.

Neither of these ingredients has dairy in them.


Several types of milk can be used to make bubble tea.

Whole milk and condensed milk are two of the most common ones to find in bubble tea. This is the only ingredient on the list that contains dairy.

Dairy Free Alternatives

How can you still enjoy bubble tea even though one of the main ingredients is milk?

There are a few ways that you can make bubble tea without using dairy.

Oat milk bubble tea

Oat milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk that is becoming increasingly popular.

bubble tea alternative oat milk
Oat milk bubble tea

It is made from oats that have been soaked in water and then blended into a creamy liquid. Oat milk has a similar consistency to cow’s milk and can be used in the same way.

It is a good choice for those who are looking for a dairy-free alternative to bubble tea.

Soy milk bubble tea

If you are looking for a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk, then soy milk is a perfect choice.

It has an almost identical taste and can be used in all of your favorite drinks like lattes or tea without changing anything up.

Almond milk bubble tea

almond milk bubble tea alternative
Almond milk bubble tea

Almond milk is a great alternative to milk and can be used in the same way as you would use conventional dairy products.

Almonds are soaked, ground into liquid form then added when boiling water for bubble tea; it has an earthy flavor that some may find nutty but others might not like at all!

Coconut milk bubble tea

You could also try coconut milk as a dairy-free option.

Bubble Tea Flavors
Different Bubble Tea Flavors

Coconut milk is easier to make, all you have to do is crack open a coconut.

Of course, you can also find packaged coconut milk on the shelves of grocery stores or online. 

Fruit juice bubble tea

Fruit juice is a dairy-free alternative to bubble tea that is made from fruits that have been juiced.

Fruit juice can be used in the same way as cow’s milk.

Fruit juice is a good choice for those who are looking for a dairy-free alternative to bubble tea.

Final Thoughts

Bubble tea is a delicious drink that many people love, but if you are lactose intolerant it can be hard to enjoy.

Luckily, there are a few modifications you can make so you can still drink bubble tea and not miss out on the flavor.

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