Bubble tea is gaining popularity around the world, especially in Muslim countries like Malaysia and Singapore. With this surge in popularity, the question arises: is bubbe tea halal? What ingredients make bubble halal or haram?
To find out if bubble tea is halal in Islam, we looked into these questions, and here is what we found on the subject.
Bubble tea uses tapioca pearls made with cassava root, milk, and tea. All these ingredients are halal, and if halal ingredients are used to make bubble tea, then bubble tea is halal. However there are ingredients that are sometimes added added that might make bubble tea not halal.
Is Bubble Tea Halal in Islam?
The most essential ingredient in any bubble tea is tapioca pearls. Tapioca pearls are made using the Tapioca starch from the cassava root. Moreover, most commercial bubble teas use Tapioca pearls, milk, tea, and sweeteners like brown and white sugar.
On its own, bubble tea can be made halal if we use halal ingredients. You can add different types of teas such as Green Milk Tea or Thai Milk Tea to add variations in bubble tea flavors.
When we say something is halal with regards to bubble tea, it means that the process of its manufacturing is halal or with permissible ingredients and methods. To check if any homemade or commercial bubble tea is halal, you need to find out what ingredients are used.
In Surah Baqarah, Allah has clarified what constitutes halal and haram in Islam in terms of food.
Surely He has prohibited for you only carrion (i.e. dead meat) and blood and the flesh of swine, and whatever has been acclaimed to other than Allah…surely Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.(Quran 2:173) (source)
Bubble tea doesn’t use dead meat or blood or any part of a pig so it comes under the halal category. Since bubble tea doesn’t use any ingredients that are haram, bubble tea is considered halal.
However, in commercial bubble tea, you need to look out for certain ingredients like alcohol based syrups that may be added to the bubble tea.
What Ingredients to Look Out for in Bubble Tea?
Three basic ingredients go into almost all Bubble Tea drinks: Tapioca pearls, milk, and tea.
People sometimes add honey and other flavorings to add flavor to the tapioca pearls. The ingredients you need to look out for in bubble tea are:
- The syrups,
- The flavoring and colorings in the pearl and the bubble tea, and
- The toppings such as jelly, etc.
Flavorings for the tea such as vanilla may use flavoring processed in alcohol e.g. vanilla extract. Its counter, vanilla essence is halal as it contains no alcohol. Learn more about weather vanilla extract is halal or not.
The same goes for syrups. You can only use syrups that contain halal ingredients. When ordering from a store, it is recommended that you ask them what their syrups contain to ensure you are drinking halal bubble tea.
Moreover, toppings such as jelly. Cheese, sweets, and candy could contain gelatin or include certain ingredients that have animal sources. You should make sure none of the toppings contain gelatin or use alcohol when making bubble tea at home or ordering from a shop.
Do Bubble Tea Bubbles Have Gelatin?
The Tapioca pearls (also known as bubble tea bubbles) do not contain any gelatin and no gelatin is used in the manufacturing process. You can be rest ensured of that.
The bubbles in the bubble tea refer to the small Tapioca pearls. These Tapioca pearls are made from tapioca flour or starch. This starch is derived from the cassava root. Cassava root is a starchy root vegetable or a tuber with a nutty flavor.
To make Tapioca pearls from cassava, the root is peeled and then grated to preserve the milky liquid inside. For several days, the grated root is soaked in water.
It is then kneaded and then strained. It’s strained to remove the impurities from the starch. Then, the starch is sifted and dried and sold as flour or tapioca pearls (source).
Gelatin is made with hides or the bones of animals like cows and pigs. Usually, the major source of gelatin is pigskin and since pig meat is haram, gelatin is haram too (source). Learn more about whether beef or kosher gelatin is considered halal or haram.
How to Make Sure You’re Having Halal Bubble Tea
Some things that you can check are the color and the flavoring of the tapioca pearls and the tea. It should be made with halal ingredients. Also, the toppings should not contain alcoholic preservatives or gelatin.
In Halalfoodhunt’s video on “What goes into making halal bubble tea?”, Sara and Safiah visit Sofnade, a shop in Tampines, Singapore, and ask the owner what goes into making a halal bubble Tea.
The owner, Rishi, explains that halal bubble tea, first of all, needs tapioca pearls. They are plant-based and cooked in-house to prepare them the halal way. Then come the toppings and the syrups.
They are really careful when ordering their toppings and syrups as these can contain alcohol and gelatin as preservatives. They make the suppliers fill out a halal questionnaire and then they accept products from them.
If you cannot find halal bubble tea in a shop, you can try making it at home using tapioca pearls, tea of your choice, milk, and sweeteners of your choice.
Halal Bubble Tea Recipe
HalalTrip put together a great recipe to make your own Brown Sugar Bubble Tea using the following. ingredients:
- 1 teabag
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp condensed milk
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 tbsp tapioca starch (+1 tbsp for dusting)
- 4 tbsp water
- 6 tbsp water
- 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar
Bubble tea and other foods that are popular nowadays are not directly mentioned anywhere in the Quran or the Sunnah. What should the Muslims do here?
They should refer to Islamic scholars who used their deep understanding of the Quran and the Sunnah and look at all the ingredients to determine if a food is halal or haram.