The Ultimate Guide to Bubble Tea Cup Materials

Each bubble tea cup material has its unique benefits and drawbacks, catering to different needs and preferences.

When it comes to enjoying a delicious bubble tea, the material of the cup can significantly impact the overall experience. From environmental concerns to practical usability, the choice of cup material is crucial. Here’s a detailed guide to the most commonly used bubble tea cup materials, highlighting their features, benefits, and drawbacks.

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene (PP) is a popular material for bubble tea cups, especially for hot beverages. Its most notable characteristic is its high temperature resistance, capable of withstanding temperatures up to 120°C. This makes PP cups ideal for hot drinks as they do not deform or release harmful chemicals when exposed to high heat.

PP cups are also non-toxic and odorless, ensuring the safety and purity of the beverage. They are soft yet durable, providing good resistance to drops and impacts. However, one downside is their lower transparency compared to other materials, which might not be as aesthetically pleasing to some consumers.

According to a 2023 report, PP cups make up about 35% of the bubble tea cup market due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness, striking a balance between safety and functionality.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is another common material used for bubble tea cups, particularly favored for cold beverages. PET cups boast high transparency, allowing a clear view of the drink inside, which is aesthetically appealing. They are also known for their excellent barrier properties, which help preserve the freshness and flavor of the drink.

However, PET cups have a lower heat resistance, tolerating temperatures up to 60°C, making them unsuitable for hot beverages. Despite this limitation, their visual appeal and functional benefits make them a popular choice. PET cups account for about 40% of the bubble tea cup market, reflecting their dominance in the cold beverage segment.

Polystyrene (PS)

Polystyrene (PS) is known for its high transparency and excellent molding capabilities, producing cups with clear and sharp designs. PS cups are economical, making them a budget-friendly option for many bubble tea shops. However, they are more brittle compared to other plastics and have a higher tendency to break under pressure or impact.

Moreover, PS cups have limited heat resistance, tolerating temperatures up to 70°C, which restricts their use to cold drinks. Despite these drawbacks, PS cups hold around 15% of the market, typically used in settings where cost is a primary consideration.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable material made from renewable resources like corn starch. As an eco-friendly option, PLA cups are gaining popularity due to their environmental benefits. They are compostable, reducing long-term waste, and are non-toxic, making them safe for a variety of beverages.

However, PLA cups have poor heat resistance, suitable for drinks up to 50°C, and their production costs are higher compared to conventional plastics. Despite these challenges, PLA cups are making inroads into the market, currently representing about 5% of the bubble tea cup market. This growth is driven by increasing environmental awareness and consumer demand for sustainable products.

Paper Cups

Paper cups are versatile and often lined with polyethylene (PE) for additional leak-proofing. They are lightweight, easy to use, and suitable for both hot and cold drinks. However, their environmental impact can be a concern, especially if the PE lining complicates recycling processes.

Paper cups can also become soggy over time, affecting their durability. Despite these issues, paper cups account for approximately 20% of the bubble tea cup market, valued for their convenience and versatility. They offer a balance between functionality and cost, making them a common choice in many bubble tea shops.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cups are highly durable and resistant to drops and impacts, making them an excellent choice for reusable cups. They provide excellent temperature control, keeping drinks hot or cold for longer periods. Stainless steel cups are also environmentally friendly, as they can be reused many times, reducing waste.

However, the higher initial cost and heavier weight can be drawbacks. Stainless steel cups make up a small but growing segment of the market, around 3%, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers who prioritize sustainability over convenience.


Glass cups offer high clarity, showcasing the beverage beautifully. They can handle both hot and cold drinks effectively, making them versatile. Glass is non-toxic and doesn’t alter the taste of the drink, providing a pure drinking experience.

However, glass cups are fragile and require careful handling to avoid breakage. They are also heavier, which can be less convenient for on-the-go use. Glass cups are a niche choice, representing about 2% of the market, often used in sit-down establishments where presentation and quality are prioritized.


In conclusion, each bubble tea cup material has its unique benefits and drawbacks, catering to different needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize sustainability, cost-effectiveness, or aesthetics, there's a suitable option available. As consumer preferences continue to evolve, innovations in cup materials are likely to emerge, offering even more choices for bubble tea enthusiasts. From the highly heat-resistant PP to the eco-friendly PLA, the choice of cup material can significantly enhance your bubble tea experience.

Jkai is a leading PET cup manufacturer in China, offering a variety of sizes and lids. They also provide custom printing services, allowing businesses to personalize their cups with unique designs. This flexibility and quality make Jkai a preferred PET cups supplier for many bubble tea shops looking to enhance their brand presentation.

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