What makes boba tea different from regular tea is of course, the chewy tapioca pearls!
I was fascinated from the first time I saw these black pearls resting in the bottom of a milky slush with a brightly colored straw it was the Asian sensation: Boba Tea (Bubble Tea). For those unexposed, it’s generally some sort of tea, smoothie or milkshake that contains chewy pearls in the bottom made from tapioca starch that you suck up through a fat straw. There was a place near downtown Denver you could go if you were cool enough to know about it (I did not hear about it for a very long time, for the record), and I think that was my first exposure to it. My first boba tea drink was strawberry, made with sickeningly sweet strawberry syrup that tasted like a strawberry card candy melted into some milk.
You can customize this any way you like – creating a blended ice frappe kind of drink (which you can get at Gogi Gui), or even just in your everyday tea to liven it up. There are a couple of tricks though, and so my friend Kinsey (a boba enthusiast) bought a few different kinds and invited me to experiment with her! The kind I’ll be explaining today is the traditional cooking method. It takes about 30 minutes to complete a creation of boba. She also found a semi-prepped 5-minute package, and we taste tested it against the original. We thought it was comparable, if not better! So, if you’re planning on this to be a regular thing, you may want to find some of that! She had prepared three different types of tea for us to try, some good with milk and some good with only sweetener.
I ended up finding out I was partial to just plain British black tea with milk – similar to the way I take my hot tea. I’m sure you can find a tea you like and you think goes well with your little chewy snack inside!
Local Spotlight: For my local spotlight, I used my local raw honey, but you can use any sweetener you like to make your simple syrup!
Have you made bubble tea before? What kind of tea do you like in yours?
- 5 C. Water
- 1/3 C. dry tapioca pearls
- 1 tea bag
- 2 T. honey
- Milk as desired
Dissolve 1/4 C. honey in 1/4 C. water to make a simple syrup. Set aside. (Can be done in advance)
Prepare 1 C. tea with hot water and a tea bag. Steep for allotted time. Chill. (Can be done in advance)
Bring 3 C. water to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid.
Once boiling, add in 1/3 C. tapioca pearls. When they are all floating, (about 2 minutes), cover pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, leave covered, turn off the heat completely and let rest for 15-20 additional minutes.
Drain water and add pearls into simple syrup mixture. Let steep until they reach desired sweetness, anywhere between 5 minutes and 15 minutes.
Add tea and pearls to a glass filled with ice. Add milk and additional simple syrup to taste.