How to Make DIY Bubble Tea (Boba Tea)
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!
What's in a Name?
Bubble tea is also known as boba tea, pearl milk tea, and tapioca pearl tea.
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
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
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!
Have you tried bubble tea before?
Questions & Answers
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