How to Make Bubble Tea at Home

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Bubble tea is my favorite beverage while I lived in Taiwan, especially during summertime. It is sweetend milk tea with soft, chewy tapioca pearls inside.

bubble tea
My favorite Bubble Tea

Taiwan is the first country to create this wonderful drink that has captures a lot of people’s hearts all over the world. Boba culture started in the late ’80s and became a phenomenal drink around the globe.

I like making bubble tea myself at home, so I can control the sweetness. It is so easy to make and so quick to prepare.

Let me show you how to make it easily and things to note to prepare a good bubble tea.

What Kind of Tea to Use?

The best tea to use for a bubble tea is a strong tea, such as black tea, oolong tea, or jasmine tea.  The tea will be mixed with milk and ice cubes, so that’s why you need a robust flavor tea.

Earl Grey may be used but you need to make a thicker version. I sometimes use Assam tea or Ceylon tea.

What Kind of Tapioca Pearls to Use?

Nowadays, you can find so many different types of tapioca pearls.

The original tapioca pearls is black. The diameter is around 5 to 8 mm. They are soft and chewy if cooked properly.

tapioca pearls

Brown tapioca pearls mixed with brown sugar. There is also white tapioca pearls with different sizes.

And the popping bursting boba with fruit flavors inside. You chew it and it bursts inside your mouth with juicy fruit flavors. There are strawberry, mango, lemon, and lychee flavor.

bursting boba

Some tapioca pearls like the popping bursting boba are ready to use, no cooking needed.

Tapioca pearls are easy to cook. Only cook as many as you need, because they can’t be kept overnight. It will harden in the center and no longer chewy.

After cooking, you just need to soak them in sugary water to keep its chewiness.

Is Tapioca Pearls Healthy?

Tapioca pearls is high in carbs and calories, so it is not a healthy food. It is highly recommended to eat in moderation.

What are Tapioca Pearls Made of?

These chewy little things called tapioca pearls come from tapioca starch, a type of flour made from the roots of cassava plant. Cassava is a big, starchy root vegetables that grow in hot weather.

Tapioca flour is mixed with hot water and a bit of brown sugar. After some time, the dough can be rolled into cute little balls called tapioca pearls.

What Kind of Milk to Use?

There are several types of milk you can use to make bubble tea. Regular whole milk is the most common one. I prefer full fat milk than the low fat one. The flavor becomes richer.

If you like a creamier version, you can use evaporated milk or heavy cream. I once make a bubble tea with the combination of evaporated milk, whole milk, and heavy cream. The ratio is 1:1:1. The result is amazing!

Almond milk or oat milk is substitute for those allergic to dairy products. You can also use soy milk, if you like. Or coconut milk. However, the taste may be different for each of these milk.

Can I Omit the Milk?

Yes. In Taiwan, there are always two versions of bubble tea for each variant. You can opt for the no milk tea. I think it is fresher that way and safe for some dairy-allergics.

Tapioca pearls are still added to the drinks. Non-milk drinks that can go well with tapioca pearl are Lemongrass Pandan, Butterfly Pea Flower tea.

Can I Use Dairy-free Milk for Bubble Tea?

Sure! You can use any non-dairy milk. Almond milk, soy milk, oat milk may be great substitutes. However, please understand that the flavor may be different than the original bubble tea.

I myself prefer mixing whole milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. It creates a creamier and richer flavor.

What Kind of Sweetener to Use?

There are many kinds of sweetener that will work for this drink. Granulated sugar, coconut sugar, palm sugar, or honey. They are all great to mix.

You may consider using erythritol or monk fruit if you are on certain diet. Adjust the sweetness to your preference and the each sweetener. Every sweetener may have its level of sweetness.

For me, I like the bubble tea to be just a little bit sweet. So I typically put one to two teaspoon of palm sugar syrup.

Can I Make This Bubble Tea Recipe Ahead?

If you plan to have a party with this bubble tea, here are some suggestions for you.

You can make this bubble tea ahead. Set aside the strained tea.

The tapioca pearls need to be prepared just an hour ahead of serving. Soak them in sugary water.

Assemble the drink just before serving. Separate the palm sugar syrup so that your guests can adjust to their preference.

Bubble Tea Recipe

bubble tea

  • 4 tablespoons Assam black tea
  • 5 cups of hot water
  • Whole milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Whipping cream
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls

Palm Sugar Syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup palm sugar
  • Pandan leaves

Instructions

Prepare the tea:

  1. Boil the water with tea leaves. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the stove and let it cool completely.
  2. Strain the tea leaves. Set aside.

Palm Sugar Syrup

  1. Add water, palm sugar, and pandan leaves in a pot. Heat the water on medium heat. Let it boil until the sugar completely dissolves.
  2. Remove the pan from stove and let it cool completely.
  3. Sieve to remove the pandan leaves.
  4. You can transfer the palm sugar syrup in a jar for later use.

How To Cook Tapioca Pearls

  1. Boil 5 cups of water, add tapioca pearls. Keep stirring and wait for the pearls to float on top. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Take one pearl and check if it has reached your desired level of chewiness. Keep cooking for about 1-2 minutes more. Remove the pearls from the hot water.
  2. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. You may put 2 tablespoon of sugar in the water. Let it soak in the sugar water.

Assemble the drinks

  1. Pour some palm sugar syrup to the glass. You may drizzle the syrup to the sides of the glass to give some effect. Add 1-2 tablespoons palm sugar syrup. Add milk.
bubble tea

  1. Put in the tapioca pearls and pour the tea.
  2. Stir and taste the milk tea. You may add some more milk or palm sugar syrup to your preference.
  3. Serve with large boba straws or spoons to scoop out the tapioca pearls.

bubble tea

Notes

Keep the palm sugar syrup in a jar or bottle Chill it in the refrigerator. You can sue this sugar for coffee or other drinks.

If you like stronger tea, you may let the tea leaves seep longer. I find a strong tea is better when mixed with palm sugar and milk.

If you prepare the tapioca pearls ahead for a party, soak them in the sugar water. This will keep the tapioca pearls soft and chewy with a bit of sweetness inside.

For a creamier version, add heavy cream. If you prefer a lighter version, just use regular milk.

More Delicious Drinks

There are many kinds of drinks that go well with tapioca pearls. Here are some list:

If you decide to make this bubble tea and love it, please tag me on my Instagram or leave a comment below! Thank you!

Enjoy your bubble tea!

bubble tea

BUBBLE TEA BOBA

Yield: 3-4 glasses
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Bubble tea is a sweetend milk tea with soft, chewy tapioca pearls inside. Originating from Taiwan, this drink has spread all over the world.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons Assam black tea
  • 5 cups of hot water
  • Whole milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Whipping cream
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls

Palm Sugar Syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup palm sugar
  • Pandan leaves

Instructions

Prepare the Tea

  1. Boil the water with tea leaves. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the stove and let it cool completely.
  2. Strain the tea leaves. Set aside.

Palm Sugar Syrup

  1. Add water, palm sugar, and pandan leaves in a pot. Heat the water on medium heat. Let it boil until the sugar completely dissolves.
  2. Remove the pan from stove and let it cool completely.
  3. Sieve to remove the pandan leaves.
  4. You can transfer the palm sugar syrup in a jar for later use.

Tapioca Pearls

  1. Boil 5 cups of water, add tapioca pearls. Keep stirring and wait for the pearls to float on top. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Take one pearl and check if it has reached your desired level of chewiness. Keep cooking for about 1-2 minutes more. Remove the pearls from the hot water.
  2. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. You may put 2 tablespoon of sugar in the water. Let it soak in the sugar water.

Assemble the drinks

  1. Pour some palm sugar syrup to the glass. You may drizzle the syrup to the sides of the glass to give some decorations. Add 1-2 tablespoons palm sugar syrup. Add milk.
  2. Put in the tapioca pearls and pour the tea.
  3. Stir and taste the milk tea. You may add some more milk or palm sugar syrup to your preference.
  4. Serve with large boba straws or spoons to scoop out the tapioca pearls.

Notes

  • Keep the palm sugar syrup in a jar or bottle Chill it in the refrigerator. You can sue this sugar for coffee or other drinks.
  • If you like stronger tea, you may let the tea leaves seep longer. I find a strong tea is better when mixed with palm sugar and milk.
  • If you prepare the tapioca pearls ahead for a party, soak them in the sugar water. This will keep the tapioca pearls soft and chewy with a bit of sweetness inside.
  • For a creamier version, add heavy cream. If you prefer a lighter version, just use regular milk.

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