Crystal boba and honey boba are the most two popular boba pearls for bubble tea. They may with similar colors and thus you will need to distinguish them from each other.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about crystal boba versus honey boba. We’ll compare and contrast their ingredients, texture, taste, preparation methods and more. By the end, you will know how to choose your boba pearls when making bubble tea at home, or ordering bubble tea at shops.

honey boba vs crystal boba

Here is a table summarizing the key differences between crystal boba and honey boba in terms of ingredients, texture, taste, color and preparation for bubble tea.

Crystal BobaHoney Boba
IngredientsWater or fruit juice, sugar, agar or konjac powderTapioca starch, sweetener, water and soaked with honey
Texturesoft, gummy, jelly-likeChewier
Tastesubtle sweetness, clean flavorStrong honey flavor and sweetness
ColorTranslucent, clear or with other colors based on the fruit colorslightly amber tone
Cooking MethodDissolve powder in water, shape into pearlsCook starch and sugar, mix in honey, shape pearls

Before diving into an in-depth side-by-side comparison, let’s quickly introduce these two boba varieties.

What is Crystal Boba

Crystal boba features translucent, shiny pearls that resemble little gems or pearls, hence the name “crystal”. They have a soft, gummy jelly-like texture that is much softer than traditional boba.

The main ingredients for crystal boba is water (or fruit juice), sugar or other sweetener and gelling agents including agar powder or konjac powder. The taste of crystal boba is subtle sweetness with a crackling feeling when you bite into it.

Original crystal boba is clear and transparent. But you may encounter with various colored crystal boba due to the color of the fruit juice used.

crystal boba|ohsweetcups
homemade crystal boba

What is Honey Boba

Honey boba contains pearls made from honey and tapioca starch. They are characterized by their golden, amber color and mild honey sweetness.

Honey boba is made from tapioca starch, sweetener and water. Then mixed with honey after cooked. Honey boba is chewier, with a strong aroma of honey.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s do a thorough comparison of everything from cooking process to nutrition.

How crystal boba is made

The process of making crystal boba is quite similar to jelly making. It is very simple. Mix in water with gelling powder and sweetener, then bring the mixture to a boil. After that, the liquid is poured into a special tool for crystal boba.

After 15 minutes, the crystal balls are formed and further transformed to iced water for a better texture.

How honey boba is made

Classic tapioca pearls are made with tapioca starch, basically from a dough. Then small portions are shaped into smaller pearls around 0.5 mm in diameter.

Honey boba pearls actually is honey flavored tapioca pearls, usually using the white boba pearls. The pearls can be either golden or slightly brownish.

Crystal boba Vs Honey Boba: Texture Comparison

The most noticeable difference between crystal and honey boba is the texture.

Crystal boba has an soft, delicate, jelly-like texture. It’s almost gummy bear-like in its gelled, chewy feel. This makes it very smooth and pleasant and easy to chew.

The honey boba is much chewier than crystal boba since it is one type of tapioca pearls.

Crystal boba Vs Honey Boba: Taste Comparison

Crystal boba and honey boba unsurprisingly deliver different taste experiences in bubble tea.

The biggest contributor to crystal boba’s taste is the sugar added to the cooking liquid. This gives the pearls a light sweetness that is subtle and not overpowering. Beyond that, crystal boba doesn’t have much inherent flavoring.

Honey boba delivers a distinctly honey-influenced flavor. The aroma and taste of floral honey comes through prominently. There are also notes of molasses and caramel from the brown sugar used in cooking that complement the honey notes. The overall effect is a strong sweetness and marked honey flavor that makes these boba an impactful part of the drinking experience.

Appearance Comparison

  • Crystal boba pearls look like translucent gems or pearls, but quite uniform.
  • Honey boba pearls are mostly white, but not transparent at all. It has a solid white color with a light honey color on the surface.
honey boba vs crystal boba


What kind of boba has more flavor, crystal or honey?

Honey boba has a much stronger taste profile than crystal boba. The honey used to make the pearls imparts a sweet, floral honey flavor.

Crystal boba, on the other hand, has only subtle sweetness and little inherent flavor.

Is one boba type healthier than the other?

Neither crystal nor honey boba can be considered a healthy food due to their high sugar content.

Honey boba provides slightly more nutritional value thanks to micronutrients from the honey. But both should be enjoyed occasionally as a treat, not a daily snack.

In terms of calories, crystal boba is much lower.

How long do leftover boba pearls last?

Both crystal stored in their cooking liquid in the refrigerator for 2 days. However honey boba pearls will turn hard very soon after cooked (around 4 hours).

Is brown sugar boba the same as honey boba?

While they sound similar, brown sugar boba is made with and sweetened with brown sugar. While honey boba is honey sweetened white tapioca pearls or honey sweetened brown sugar boba pearls.


After reviewing all the differences between crystal and honey boba, a few key takeaways emerge:

  • Crystal boba has a gummy bear-like texture that is very soft and delicate. Honey boba has more chew and firmness.
  • Crystal boba has subtle sweetness while honey boba offers a strong honey flavor.
  • Crystal boba has more visual allure and elegance.

So which is better? There’s no definitive winner. Crystal boba is stunning and new. But honey boba pearls have a lovely honey flavors. The next time you visit a boba shop boasting creative options beyond classic milk tea, you’ll be ready to discern between crystal and honey boba and make the perfect choice. Both provide fun new ways to enjoy this trendy drink!

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