You know how I like to make my own versions of things (like these delicious Cherry Bakewell Bars that are a LaraBar copycat). Well about a year ago I was introduced to bubble tea. I’ll explain what it is in a minute, but let’s just say it’s become my favorite treat if I’m out and about and need a little refreshment.
So of course I had to figure out how to make it myself. Not only does this homemade version save me some money, but I can also make a treat that is healthier than the drink I’m likely to get from the tea house.
If you’re a fan of bubble tea, or just want to try out something that’s a little bit different, then read on for how to make bubble tea at home.
Tell Me about Bubble Tea
Ok, I have to admit that I thought bubble tea was called bubble tea because of the ‘boba’ (small round tapioca balls) that are sitting in the bottom of the drink that I like to buy. But this is not so! The name comes from the fact that the tea is shaken before serving which creates a frothy, bubbly top to the drink.
Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980’s. It’s an iced tea that comes in a variety of flavors along with additions like boba (the tapioca balls), jelly or pudding.
That sounds gross in writing – but it’s great in reality! The “toppings” (that sink to the bottom) add a fun, chewy texture to the sweetened tea.
There are all kinds of boba – from a straight-forward tapioca pearl, to popping boba – which has a thin outer-layer containing juice or syrup in the center which bursts in your mouth. My kids love them!
The teas come in all kinds of flavors and often come in milk or fruit versions. I prefer the fruit version for a lighter, more refreshing drink (with a few less calories).
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea (see what I did there?), but if you’re a fan then this recipe might be fun for you to try at home!
Important note – you need the right size straw to enjoy a bubble tea! A normal size straw is too narrow to suck up the toppings. I learned this the hard way. I spent a good 20 minutes getting light-headed as I tried to slurp up the tapioca pearls after I picked up the wrong straw one time. It was very confusing.
Where To Find Tapioca Pearls (Boba)
I’m guessing you don’t have any tapioca pearls just hanging around in your pantry. But fear not! You can find tapioca pearls at your local Asian grocery store, and as always you can find them online. I ordered this two-pack from Amazon that also came with the right-sized straws for the boba.
The boba are REALLY easy to make. They are best eaten within a few hours – they’ll start to go hard after a day or two. You can make them last longer by soaking in sugar syrup, covering and chilling. Mine never last that long though…