What Exactly Are Starbucks' New 'Coffee Popping Pearls'?

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When Starbucks comes out with anything new, we're always curious. After all, the brand has a shop on basically every corner, making its fresh menu items temptingly within reach. Over the winter holidays, for instance, we couldn't get enough of the Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte, and now, we have something even more interesting to be excited about in 2022: coffee popping pearls.


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According to Insider, Starbucks is currently testing out its very own version of boba (chewy tapioca balls that originated in Taiwan) in the United States. Specifically, in two of its stores, the coffee chain is trying out two drinks that are made with the coffee pearls.

In a video by TikTok user @kirbyssister, who visited a Palm Desert, California, Starbucks shop, the beverages appear to be an Iced Chai Tea Latte with Coffee Pearls and a cold brew-style refreshment called "In the Dark." The latter costs $5.25 and the former is $5.45, and both are available only in a grande size. In addition to Palm Desert, ​People​ reveals that the pearls are also being tested in Bellevue, Washington.

"They're really small and awkward to drink," @kirbyssister says, describing the coffee popping pearls in their TikTok video. "They're okay, but oddly salty-sweet."

Based on that description and the fact that this new topping appears to be small balls containing Starbucks coffee, we're going to say that this is not the same as boba. Yes, the balls "pop" once chomped on, but they don't seem to be made of the chewy tapioca starch boba is known for.

As of right now, there's no word on whether or not these coffee popping pearls will make their way to the rest of the U.S. But if they're successful in Bellevue and Palm Desert, odds are they will eventually.