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Bubble tea recipe

This bubble tea recipe makes a drink called bubble tea, also known as boba tea or pearl milk tea. It's mainly composed of tea, large tapioca balls (or pearls), fruit, and milk. You use a large straw to suck up the pearls as you're drinking. It's quite fun!

There are many bubble tea houses and restaurants that sell bubble tea, but they can be quite pricey. This bubble tea recipe shows you how you can make a bubble tea drink right at home.

The idea of this drink originated from Taiwan in the 1980's, then moved to the west and became quite popular. The bubble refers to the bubbling of tea used in certain bubble teas. The black tapioca balls at the bottom are referred to as pearls.

Many kinds of tea can be used for bubble tea recipe. The most popular ones are green tea, black tea and jasmine tea. The fruits added in range from strawberry, banana, mango, watermelon, papaya, taro, and many others.

Your local Chinese grocery store should have the ingredients so I suggest looking there first. Bubble tea can be made with the various bubble tea powders. The powder is better sometimes because some fruits are harder to come by or may be a hassle to chop and then blend.

I used green tea as a base. As for the fruits I used fresh strawberry and taro powder. Feel free to chose your favorite tea and fruits. The traditional bubble tea recipe has milk/cream but some people like it without, so it's optional. Enjoy!

By Hai Nguyen

Total time: 1 h

Ingredients (2 to 3 servings):

2 green tea bags
3/4 cup to 1 cup large black tapioca pearls
8 cups of water
sugar syrup or maple syrup
1 cup fresh fruit (strawberry) OR bubble tea powder (taro)
1/2 cup of milk or 1 tablespoon cream (optional)
ice cubes
bubble tea straw (large straw)


Part 1 (10 min)
Fill up the boiler with water and set it to boil (1). Meanwhile, fill a large pot to with 8 cups of water (2), set on high heat (3), cover and wait for water to boil (4). The water in the boiler should be boiling by now, add 2 cups of boiling water to the teabags in a large glass or measuring cup (5) and let it sit for 10 min (6). While the tea is soaking, move on to Part 2.

making bubble tea part 1

Part 2 (40 min)
Once the water boils, add 1 cup of tapioca pearls to the pot (1). To prevent them from sticking together, stir constantly for 5 min (2). Reduce to medium heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 15 min (3). During this time, throw out the teabags in the measuring cup and place the tea in the fridge (4). After the tapioca pearls are done simmering, uncover the lid, turn the heat off and let them sit in the cooking water for another 20 min (5). Transfer them to a strainer and wash them with cold water briefly (6).

making bubble tea part 2

Part 3 (10 min)
Per 1 serving, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cooked tapioca pearls to a glass (1). Add 2 tablespoons of sugar syrup to the glass (2). Add 3/4 cup of the tea from the fridge to the glass and stir until syrup dissolves (3). Blend about 1 cup of fresh fruit (4). Add it to the glass and mix (5). Add cream or milk (optional) (6).

making bubble tea part 3

Serve with ice.

bubble tea

Variation if you have powder (Taro powder in this example). Do everything up to Part 3, step 3. Warm up some water in the boiler (1). In a measuring cup, add about 3/4 cup of hot water, then add 3 tablespoons of the powder and mix well (2). Refrigerate this mix (in the fridge or for a short while in the freezer), and then mix it with the tea (3). Powders may have milk in it so you don’t have to add any milk or cream.

bubble tea powder variation

Large batch tips for bubble tea recipe. Tea base: boil water in a pot, add the teabags and let them boil for about 7 min. Powder: Mix it with water in a pot, then warm it up on medium heat for about 15 min. Pearls: You can make the pearls in advance and then refrigerate them. I don't recommend doing that though because they don't turn out as chewy compared to making them fresh. They are actually kind of mushy if refrigerated overnight.

Here are three variations discussed in this recipe: (left) with taro powder mix, (middle) with fresh fruit alone, (right) with fresh fruit and milk.

three bubble tea variations

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