From Scratch: Bubble tea!

Thanks to the internets, I have been exposed to many mouth-watering images and recipes regarding the bubbly Taiwanese drink creation, Bubble tea – also known as Pearl tea and Boba tea. The drink consists of a frothy milky or fruity tea, crushed ice and chewy tapioca pearls at the bottom. Being a great lover of tea – I knew I had to try this.

The recipes varied far and wide across the internet – so I tried my own, and noted some interesting ingredient variations. If you’d like to try something simple, here’s my recipe for:

Milk Bubble Tea – From Scratch


1/4 cup Tapioca pearls

2 cups of water

1-2 teaspoons honey

1 cup strong-brewed black tea (Apparently green tea is super yummo too.)

1/4 cup milk (Some suggest almond/rice/soya milk. Some, even condensed milk [Omit honey in this case])

Ice (Crushed if possible)


  1. Firstly, we need to get the tapioca, or boba, cooked. The internet has proven very confusing in this regard. Some sites mention soaking, boiling, steaming etc etc. But through trial and error, I’ve found that this is all you have to do. Put the two cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Toss in your raw, untouched tapioca. Give a quick stir to prevent sticking and allow to boil for about 15 minutes. Stir again and then cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the tapioca has become mostly transparent. Taste one. It should be gooey and slightly tacky – like a gummy bear. This could take another 15-25 minutes of rapid boiling. In the meantime, melt down the honey with one or two teaspoons of water. (Microwave for 10 seconds.) When the tapioca is ready, drain the water and allow to cool in the honey syrup.
  2. In a shaker, mix up the tea, milk and ice, until the tea is nice and frothy on top.
  3. Place the tapioca pearls in a tall glass and top with your shaken tea. Get yourself a thick-centered bubble tea straw (or a normal straw and a spoon – like myself…) and enjoy!

Conclusion: The milk tea bubble tea version tastes very much like milky ice tea should, but I found the tapioca to be a nice chewy surprise at the bottom! (Li’l brat even stole my glass from me.)




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