If you’ve ever tried bubble tea, you know how yummy this unique sweet drink can be. I have a friend who is hooked on bubble tea, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. This Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Taichung in the 1980s is basically sweetened iced tea mixed with chewy tapioca pearls (aka boba). Southerners have always known that nothing beats the heat quite like sweet tea and the rest of the world is finally catching on. Bubble tea is traditionally made with black tea, but you can use green, chai, herbal, or any kind of tea you like. Heck, you can even make it with coffee. After a little bit of searching on the internet, I discovered that with a little time and the right ingredients I could turn my kitchen into a gourmet bubble tea shop and so can you! With the recipe below you can make Boba and Bubble Tea at home for a fraction of the cost of those fancy tea shops.
How To Make Bubble Tea
Makes 1 drink
What You Need
- Bowl for holding the cooked tapioca
- Measuring cups
- Bubble Tea Straw
- A strong cup of your favorite tea, chilled
- 1/4 cup whole milk or almond milk, or 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- Fruit juice or nectar (optional)
For Tapioca (Boba)
- 1/4 cup dried large tapioca pearls (NOT quick-cooking)
- 2 cups water
For Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar or 10 drops of liquid stevia
- Prepare a strong cup of tea: This can be done either while the tapioca pearls are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the bubble tea. Brew your favorite tea in your single serve machine and chill the tea. I made mine with Stash Super Irish Breakfast Tea with eight ounces of water.
- Combine the tapioca with water: Measure 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of tapioca pearls into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the tapioca pearls and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.
- Cook the tapioca pearls: Turn the heat to medium and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12 to 15 minutes.
- Prepare the sugar syrup: While the tapioca is cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve it once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- Store the tapioca until ready to assemble: Once the pearls have finished cooking, drain them from the water, and transfer them to a small bowl. Pour the sugar syrup over the top until the tapioca pearls are submerged. Let sit until room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Tapioca is best if used within a few hours of cooking as the pearls will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit. However, they will keep refrigerated for several days.
- Make the bubble tea: Pour the prepared tea into a tall glass and add the tapioca. Add milk for a creamy bubble tea, juice for a fruity tea, or leave plain and add a little extra water. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup from soaking the boba. Grab a spoon or your extra wide bubble tea straw and enjoy!
For an extra-chilly bubble tea, combine all the tea, milk, and/or juice, but not the tapioca in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and add the tapioca.