What is Bubble Tea and how to make Boba Tea at home?

Bubble Tea (Reference: Bubble Tea, Wikipedia, Retrieved on 16th April 2020)  is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in the 1980s. It is also known by many names like pearl milk tea, boba tea and boba milk tea. Bubble tea or Boba Tea or Boba Drink is made from tea, milk and tapioca pearls. 

What is Boba?

Boba balls, also called Tapioca Pearls, are made of partially cooked tapioca flour extracted from cassava root. Boba is flavourless and gluten-free. Boba Pearls is loved for its chewy texture and can be used for both hot and cold drinks including smoothies and hot teas. 

BOBA Milk Tea is simply a sweetened iced tea with smooth chewy tapioca pearls. 

Boba Tea

How to make the best Bubble Tea (Boba Tea). Oh How CivilizedGoogle Images. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

What is the History of Bubble Tea?

The oldest known boba milk tea consisted of a mixture of small tapioca pearls, hot Taiwanese black tea, condensed milk and syrup or honey. There are two theories on the origin of Bubble Tea a.k.a Boba Drink, although both of them agree for a Taiwanese origin.  

  • Liu Han-Chieh, the founder of Chun Shui Tang tearoom in Taichung (Map Location - Chun Shui Tang, Google Maps) , started serving cold Chinese tea after his visit to Japan where coffee was served cold in the 1980s. Everyone in Taiwan liked the cold version of Chinese tea and his business boomed to multiple chains. One day Lin Hsiu Hui, the teahouse - product development manager, randomly poured fen yuan into the iced tea drink during a meeting. The new beverage was liked by everyone and it got included in the menu. Since then, it became the franchise's top-selling product. (Reference: History of bubble tea: how boba born of stiff competition in Taiwan became a global phenomenon, South China Morning Post, Retrieved on16th April 2020) 
  • Tu Tsong-he, the owner of Hanlin Tea Room of Tainan (Map Location - Hanlin, Google Maps), claimed to have invented the Boba Tea in 1986 when he saw the tapioca balls in the Ya Mu Liao Market. He used the tapioca balls and made tea out of them, thus giving birth to the so-called Boba Milk Tea. (Reference: Who Invented Bubble Tea, Taipei Times, Retrieved on 16th April 2020)

Bubble Tea

Bubble Milk TeaThe Spruce EatsGoogle Images. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

What are the different varieties of Bubble Tea?

The most famous varieties of this Boba Milk Tea are Black Pearl Bubble Tea and Green Pearl Bubble Tea, although one can choose from other varieties of teas like oolong, white, fruit or non-fruit. Bubble tea has become the latest fad among Asian Americans and is called the ‘boba’ in California. Boba Milk Tea is a yummy yet inexpensive beverage.  

Flavours of Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea Craze on Grab FoodMediumGoogle Images. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

What are the ingredients required to prepare Bubble Tea?

Fun FACT: In case you are looking for bubble tea cafes near to your house or work then please search for 'bubble tea near me' or 'boba tea near me' on Google Maps. For example, if you make the same search on google map for 'bubble tea near me'  then you will discover Bubble Tea Shop in Delhi to be the best rated.

Ingredients of Bubble Tea

How to prepare Bubble Tea?

  • Prepare the tea - Bring 11/2 cup of water to boil and add one teabag of Tea Curry English Breakfast Tea or Tea Curry Green Tea in the poured water. Some would even like adding oolong tea or yerba mate tea.
  • Prepare the tapioca Pearls
    • Open the packet of tapioca balls bought from a nearby supermarket. 
    • Soak the tapioca pearls in water for a few hours, if you want the pearls to be soft instead of chewy. (Reference: Make Bubble Tea, Retrieved on 16th April 2020)
    • Take 1-litre water and bring it to boil. 
    • Add 150 gm of tapioca pearls in boiling water and keep stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. (Reference: How to Make Bubble Tea, Healthy Nibbles and Bites, Retrieved on 16th April 2020)
    • Once the pearls start floating on the top, stop stirring and keep it boiling for another 15-20 minutes. 
    • Keep checking the pearls to test the softness desired by you.
    • Once done, remove the boba pearls from the water and rinse them with normal water.
    • Sweeten the pearls with honey or sweetener as per your taste.
  • Mix it up - Mix the prepared tea with a few teaspoons of milk and ice. Shake the mixture well so that it gives deliciously looking froth. Put the cooked tapioca pearls in the glass and pour the mixture from the top. Your delicious Bubble Tea aka Boba Milk Tea or simply Boba Drink is ready.


Preparation of Bubble Tea

    You must try Bubble Tea Shops in Taiwan. Trip Zila. Google Images. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Tips and Tricks on how to make bubble tea?

    • For a very chilled Bubble Tea, simply shake the ice, tea and milk in a shaker for at least 20 seconds.
    • If you want to save the boba pearls for later use to make the delicious boba drink, then keep the leftover tapioca pearls in hot water for some time and then refrigerate. These can be used for up to 4 days.
    • If you are short on time, make the tea first and put it in the refrigerator to cool down till you make thew tapioca pearls. (Reference: How to Make Bubble Tea, The Forked Spoon, Retrieved on 16th April 2020)
    • Keep the tapioca pearls away from kids as they have choking hazards.
    • Consume the tea as soon as you make it have the best taste. 
    • If you don't want a strong Bubble tea, you can use Oolong tea instead of Black tea.

    Frequently Asked Questions related to Bubble Tea

    Q. What kind of Tea should be used for Bubble Tea?

    A. The base of tea to be used to make Boba Milk Tea depends on one’s taste and flavour for a particular tea. The best ones used are black or jasmine tea. Some people prefer strong flavour tea and English Breakfast Black Tea flavour of TeaCurry is one of the best ingredients of this Boba Drink. (Reference: How to Make Bubble Tea, Healthy Nibbles and Bites, Retrieved on 16th April 2020)

    Q. What kind of Tapioca Balls should be used to make Bubble Tea?

    A. Tapioca Pearls are made by many Asian brands and you would find many best sellers on Amazon or the supermarket to prepare this boba drink at home. The best one to use is the quick-to-make variety which takes only 5 minutes to make. A desire for having Bubble tea shouldn’t be a long-standing task.

    Q. What kind of milk should be used in preparing Bubble Green Tea? 

    A. Although one may say, simply use the milk in the fridge, we would suggest you go with whole milk instead of heavy cream milk. The rich flavour of whole milk will make it taste better than the creamy one which feels more decadent.

    Q. What kind of sweetener should be used to prepare Bubble Tea?

    A. You can use your favourite sweetener but we would recommend honey as the most preferred sweetener. Make sure to mix honey in hot water so that it mixes evenly.

    Teacurry.com hope that you thoroughly enjoyed the above research we have tried to put together in terms of Bubble tea. In case of questions or suggestions please let us know in comments below or write to us on tea@teacurry.com and we would be more than happy to assist you.

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      • Simon 02:54 PM

        With the empty calories and added artificial sweeteners, excessive drinking of boba tea can cause obesity and diabetes. Due to fructose in form of high fructose corn syrup or sucrose added in bubble tea can also increase the risk for cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride, hepatic insulin resistance and visceral fat deposition. Thus, increasing the risk of diabetes.

      • Lin Yuan 11:07 PM

        I migrated to Asia and living here for 10 years. I’m 25 this year and in the country, I’m living in, Bubble Tea is VERY popular among the locals. Bubble Tea here can be both cheap and expensive, depends on where you go to buy. Like how coffee at Starbucks is expensive compared to the coffee at a local cheap cafe, same for bubble tea. Local drink stalls sell bubble tea cheaper compared to Gong Cha or Koi (names of Branded bubble tea sellers) Bubble Tea comes in various Flavours but I usually get it with chocolate milk and double pearls (I love the pearls haha). So the liquid doesn’t have to be to tea all the time, u can also use just milk or chocolate milk or milkshakes and even slushies/ice-blended drinks. Traditionally bubble tea was milk tea with the black pearls but these days everything is modernised and customised to suit our taste, the original milk tea with pearls is very popular in fact! Some people like it without the pearls but that defeats the purpose of calling it bubble tea.

      • Lucia Chen 11:04 PM

        Here’s how we make our bubble tea in Taiwan: 1. The water must be boiling hot and you have to cook the peals all the way through, then soak those cooked pearls in demerara sugar (brown sugar) water, and simmer those cooked pearls with the sugar water for at least 2 hours (while simmering, stir constantly). After simmering for 2 hr, the sugar water will become thick, and the pearls will absorb the sweetness from the sugar water. (That is the secret to make your pearls taste delicious). I’m surprised to see those colorful pearls, because in Taiwan, I seldom find bubble tea with colored pearls, but only black pearls. 2. There is bubble tea using green tea in Taiwan, but originally, bubble tea is made with black tea (darjeeling or assam, or you can mix them together). 3. We don’t use milk, but coffee creamer powder. Put about 1 tablespoon (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons, depending on your taste) of coffee creamer powder, 15 to 35 ml (depending on your taste) of liquid sugar and about 50 ml of hot black tea in your shaker, stir everything with a coffee stirrer until the powder dissolves. 4. Add ice cubes (15 to 20 cubes, approximately) in your shaker, then pour in about 200 ml of hot black tea, then you start to shake, just like how you make a cocktail. Since you’ll use the ice cubes to make iced milk tea, make sure you make your black tea rather strong, or the flavor will be diluted. 5. Put some pearls that you made from step 1 in a glass cup, and pour the milk tea (with the remaining ice cubes) inside the shaker into the cup. You can also put some iced milk (with 5 to 6 ice cubes) in the glass cup, add about 2 tablespoons of those cooked pearls from step 1, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of the sugar water, then stir before enjoying your drink. In this variation, tea is not needed.

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