My nearest bubble tea shop is about 30km from where I live. It's definitely quicker to make my own bubble tea at home!
Over the past decade, more and more bubble tea shops have been popping up around the world as the beverage steadily gains in popularity, especially among the younger generation. Bubble tea was originally created in Taiwan, where it first appeared in the 1980s.
The basic drink usually consists of a combination of tea, milk, sugar, and chewy tapioca pearls (also known as boba). Non-dairy teas include a mix of fruit juices, jellies, and fruit pieces. All of these drinks are sweet, refreshing, and infinitely customizable.
Where I live, in Australia, a basic bubble tea drink at a shop costs around $4.80. You can save a lot of money, though, if you make your own homemade version at home!
How to Make Bubble Tea
With the exception of the tapioca pearls, you probably already have most of the necessary ingredients in your pantry! Here are the ingredients for a classic pearl milk tea.
- Tea: Your choice of black tea (plain or flavoured) or green tea.
- Milk: Powdered, condensed milk or fresh milk. Most bubble tea makers use powdered milk.
- Tapioca pearls: You can find this in most Asian grocery stores. They usually come in packets of 250 grams or 500 grams, and the cost is quite inexpensive, usually just a few dollars. If there are no Asian markets in your area, you can also find them online.
Step 1: Prepare the Tapioca Pearls (Boba)
Yield: 4-5 servings
- 10 cups water
- 1 cup tapioca pearls (store-bought)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
- Slowly add in the tapioca pearls. Give the water a gentle stir so that the pearls do not stick to each other.
- Let the water boil for 1 minute. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the tapioca pearls for 5 minutes (or according to the instructions on the packet).
- Turn off the heat and leave the tapioca pearls covered for a few minutes.
- Drain the hot water and rinse the tapioca pearls in cold water for about 10 seconds.
- Drain the cold water and transfer the pearls to a container.
- Stir in two tablespoons of honey and set aside for later use.
Step 2: Prepare the Tea
Yield: about 450ml of pearl milk tea
- 1 cup (250ml) black tea or tea of your choice
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar or honey, to taste
- 3 teaspoons powdered milk
- 3-4 tablespoons of cooked tapioca pearls
- Ice cubes
- Make a cup of tea. Add sugar or honey and chill for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, stir powdered milk into the tea.
- In a tall glass, add tapioca pearls.
- Drop ice cubes on top of the tapioca pearls, and then pour in the tea mixture.
- Serve with a large straw. Enjoy!
Bubble Tea Options
|Base||Chewy Bits to Add|
Plain Black Tea
Passion Fruit Jelly
How to Make Fruity Bubble Tea
Bubble tea drinks are not limited to just tea and milk—they can also be prepared with fruit juice. Fruit juice and milk do not mix well; the mixture will coagulate and turn yucky, so just remember not to add milk with the fruit juices.
Here's how to make your own thirst-quenching fruity bubble tea at home.
- 3-4 tablespoons cooked tapioca pearls
- Chilled fruit juice of your choice
- Scoop a few tablespoons of tapioca pearls into a large tall glass.
- Pour in the fruit juice.
- Top up with ice cubes if desired and serve cold.
Cost of Homemade Bubble Tea
|Item||Total Cost||Cost Per Serving|
Box of Lipton Black Tea
Tin of Nestle Powdered Milk
Tapioca Pearls (250g)
Cost of Homemade vs. Storebought Bubble Tea
How much money can you save by making your own bubble tea at home?
In the table above, I've listed all of the ingredients, how much they cost at the store, and how much it costs if you divide down to a single serving of bubble tea.
- Cost of homemade = $1.51
- Cost of store-bought = $4.80 (price at my local shop)
As you can see, making your own pearl milk tea at home can easily save you up to two-thirds of the marked-up cost!
© 2014 lady rain
Lisa Jane from Maine on October 31, 2017:
I have never had bubble tea. But by reading this article, I am going to try one. It sounds delicious and I love tea.
lady rain (author) from Australia on October 05, 2015:
Chantelle Porter, cinnamon flavour is yum! Now I feel like having a cup of bubble tea, too.
Chantelle Porter from Ann Arbor on October 05, 2015:
I love bubble tea. It's not available in my town so when I go into Chicago I pick one up. The place I go to the pearls taste like cinnamon candy. Divine!
lady rain (author) from Australia on April 19, 2014:
hellovictoria, it is so convenient to have an Asian market near your place. You should be able to find different flavours of tapioca pearls too. Thank you for leaving a comment :)
ToriM from Atlanta on April 11, 2014:
Yum, I love bubble tea but I've never really thought of making it myself! Definitely going to try this recipe, there is an asian market down the street from my apartment...thanks for sharing :)
lady rain (author) from Australia on March 13, 2014:
Hi Audrey, green tea has health benefits and is great for making bubble tea. You can also adjust the amount of sugar you want to put in your drink. Thank you for stopping by here to leave a comment.
Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 13, 2014:
Hi Lady Rain I have never heard of bubble tea, but it sounds delicious. Tea, especially green tea, is my favorite drink other than water. It sound very easy to make and few calories. Tea is not a favorite either in my home area or where I live now in Oklahoma. They don't know what they are missing. Your directions are laid out well. Thanks for sharing. Blessings. Audrey Pinning
lady rain (author) from Australia on February 23, 2014:
Thelma - there are some bubble tea shops in Metro Manila. If you are in the area you might be able to check out some of them.
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 21, 2014:
I've only had bubble tea at restaurants. I would love to try making it at home sometime. Thanks for the recipe!
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on February 21, 2014:
I have not heard about this bubble tea. Thanks for sharing. I would love to try this.
Dil Vil from India on February 21, 2014:
Will try this sometime... good one, thank you for the same.
lady rain (author) from Australia on February 19, 2014:
J Sweet Tooth, the nearest bubble tea shop is about 30km from where I live. It is definitely quicker to make my own bubble tea at home than to travel all that distance to have a cup of tea! I hope you'll get to make your own bubble tea soon.
Janelle Cruz from Vancouver, Washington on February 19, 2014:
Thanks for this recipe! My husband and I love these drinks, but we are having a hard time finding them! Will have to try!