Ever considered using sago in bubble tea? If the thought hasn’t crossed your mind let me share my 11 awesome reasons that will make you re-think the traditional method and the next time you hear the question “Can Sago be used for Bubble tea?” you have the answer via my blog.

As a passionate and self-proclaimed Tea blogger, I run my own cafe too in Kolkata city. At times I run out of boba & then using sago in bubble tea popped up. Not only were my customers happy but, they weren’t able to tell the difference. Let us find out why you too should consider using sago in bubble tea. 


Can Sago Be Used For Bubble Tea- 11 Reasonable Aspects To Consider

Sago should be considered as a cheap alternative to tapioca pearls.  Used widely across the Indian sub-continent, sago or sabudana as we call it is a celebrated item that is a pantry staple too. Well, there is more to sago than meets the eyes and it is definitely an item that will give the pearls a befitting competition. Let me share 11 amazing facts about sago that will be the perfect answer to your question “Can sago be used for bubble tea?”

1. The Interesting Way Sago Is Made

Sago can be considered as an ideal choice for tapioca tea. This will not change the way you drink pearl milk tea.

Sago is also called sabudana, and is an edible starch that is derived from the pith of palm trees. The pith is crushed and dried. which is then carefully rolled into spheres before boiling them.

Made completely moisture-free, it is then packed in air-tight packets and released into the markets.

2. How To Use Sago Instead of Tapioca?

Sago needs prior soaking time as compared to tapioca pearls. Some soak them for 6-8 hours though, I highly recommend soaking them in lukewarm water overnight so that they become softer and can be made into the flavor you want.

Let me also tell you that it is important to soak them correctly ie, the portion of water to the pearls. When soaking them in a vessel, the level of water should be enough so the pearls are completely submerged(just like you would with legumes). 

Drain the water completely and boil them. Do Not let them stick together else you will get a lumpy consistency. Now, just mix well with sugar syrup and enjoy your bubble tea.

3. Does Sago Have any Effect On The Flavor Profile?

Sago is white in color and devoid of any flavor. Sago is chewy like the pearls and thus, you will have to sweeten them so as to get maximum flavor.

Just buy a packet of sago and after you have boiled them add them to your bubble tea. After they are cooked the taste will be the same as white tapioca pearls. 

So, you see using sago in bubble tea will not hamper the taste of boba in any way.

4. Can Sweeteners Be added to Sago?

Sago when boiled properly becomes translucent and this is the apt time to soak them in a sweet syrup of your choice. I suggest using jaggery as it works best with sago pearls though you are free to use sweeteners as per your preference.

The ideal time to boil sago pearls is 10 minutes over medium flame. You need to keep stirring the bubbles so they do not stick to the bottom and burn.

After sago has cooled down, soak it in a liquid sweetener till you are happy with the consistency. I reckon using liquid sweeteners as they are absorbed faster and give you a uniform taste throughout.

5. Knowing The Taste & Color Of Sago

Sago like tapioca is tasteless on its own. Talking about the color they are white and become translucent when boiled.

These qualities make it an ideal choice to be used in bubble tea making them into any flavor or sweetener you want.

So, you see this is another reason why sago can be used for boba.

6. The Texture Of Sago After Cooking

When in its raw state, sago is soft and sticky. it has to be boiled before one can use it & as mentioned earlier it becomes translucent after boiling.

Thus, it is safe to say that they acquire the same chewy texture as the pearls after they are boiled.

Let this be another reason why one should consider using sago for tapioca tea.

7. Considering Some Toppings That Works Great With Sago

Sago itself is used as a topping in many boba shops and is commonly called crystal boba. Surprised? The fact that sago on boiling becomes translucent has been mentioned in quite a few places in this blog.  Crystal boba too is translucent from the center and not many boba cafes will admit 

Let me tell you that this does not mean that you cannot add toppings to it. Grass jelly, fruits, coconut meat, jellies, marshmallows are some crowd-puller toppings. Apart from the mentioned toppings sago can be combined with other toppings too and I have written a blog about 27 yummy ways to substitute bubble tea pearls. Do read it and pick your favorite from the list mentioned. 

So, pick any topping that you would like to incorporate in your boba and splurge on tapioca tea.

8. Does Sago Have Gluten?

Gluten is the binding particle that is found in flours and it is what gives the food its texture. 

Sago is devoid of gluten. Trust me when I say this as coming from India, sago aka sabudana is used in cooking a number of dishes and the demand rises when Indians observe fasts(a tradition or custom when certain food items cannot be consumed).

So, even if you are allergic to gluten you can still indulge in a glass of bubble tea with sago without having to worry after any side effects.

9. What About Sago Being Halal And Can It be Considered Vegan

Vegans shun away from products that are sourced directly or indirectly from animals and sago is plant-based. So, it is deemed fit for vegans. Halal means any food or beverage that is not permitted under Islamic law. Since gelatin is made from animal body parts it is prohibited under the law. Sago is not made from gelatin and thus, can be classified as Halal.

Sago is made from the pith of palm trees & this makes it a plant-based product. Also, its non-gelatinous attribute makes it an ideal choice.

Doesn’t these then give you another fitting answer to using them in boba?

10. Can They Pass Through A Straw?

Sago unlike the pearls are small round spheres and the only aspect that changes after boiling is that they become translucent but, retain their size.

Sago can be sucked up with a normal straw too ie, the option to use a thick straw isn’t needed. The small size makes them fit to pass through a straw with a small opening too(like any normal sized straw found in the markets). 

This is sure another reason to rejoice and I will use sago more often in my boba.

11. How Can One Procure Sago?

Procuring or getting sago is very easy. Search online or look for them in the Asian section of supermarkets.

Let me though tell you that you needn’t knead them into a dough as they come in ready-to-use packets. Just soaking them in the correct manner and then boiling them are the only things that need to be remembered and followed. 

I have already mentioned the soaking and the boiling method. So, do read them carefully, and if you have any doubt or find yourself stuck feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below.

Want to know another interesting fact about sago? The fact that tapioca pearls are rich in carbohydrates and low in vitamins & minerals isn’t hidden from anyone. Sago is low on carbohydrates and this should be another incentive to use them in bubble tea. 

I have shared some tips and tricks that if followed correctly will help you to use Sago in bubble tea without any difficulty.

Some Tips And Tricks To Pay Heed To When Using sago For Bubble Tea

What to do when sago gets sticky: Sago gets sticky only if they are soaked in more water than required. The water should be filled to the level enough to completely soak the pearls.

So, a good practice would be to place sago under a colander or strainer and place it under cold tap water. Give it a good rinse making sure you DO NOT WASH THEM.

Avoid washing sago:  Sago is high in starch and on coming in contact with water, sago in its raw state will dissolve as they are nothing but starch balls.

Boiling for a long time: Sago should be boiled for a maximum time of 10-12 minutes. Boiling them for a prolonged period will make the balls fall apart from the middle.

Adding sago and then boiling the water: In order to get a uniform cook on sago, add them to water that has been boiled beforehand. Never add them to water first and then bring to a boil. This will result in the pearls sticking to the bottom and getting burnt. 


This brings me to the end of my blog and yet another topic. I hope you found it useful and would want to use sago for bubble tea. If you feel that you have questions for me or simply feel like getting any doubts cleared just drop them in the comments section below and I will be delighted to answer them. Also, if you want to know about some amazing attributes of bubble tea or about Tea in general do read my blog. Just click on my site and head to the Blogs tab where you can read all blogs written by me. 

Happy Sipping!