Back in the ’80s, tea stands were set up all over Taiwan and would compete for business with the best selling tea. There is so much speculation on the internet and elsewhere about the origin of bubble tea. But one tea shop and one woman are generally accepted as being the true creator of this popular drink.
In 1983, Liu Han-Chieh introduced Taiwan to adding juicy tapioca ‘pearls’ into the cold fruit-infused teas, which sat at the bottom of clear cups – thus creating bubble tea! However, the name “bubble tea” doesn’t actually refer to the tapioca pearls at the bottom, but instead to the tasty bubbly-foam at the top of the tea which is created when shaken. Bubble tea is also known as “boba.”
You don’t necessarily have to frequent fancy shops or fork over your hard-earned money every time you want to have bubble tea. As great as it is to go out to get some, it is very much possible to make your own tall glass of pure happiness right in the comforts of your own kitchen.
This is an unbelievably simple recipe for delicious homemade bubble tea designed with first-time drinkers in mind. However, this doesn’t exclude the more experienced bubble tea veterans and enthusiasts out there of whom we’re sure will get just as much enjoyment out of this experience.
Yes, it’s simple. But it will be more than enough to suck you – and your friend, since this recipe serves two – down further into the inescapable black hole that will be your love of bubble tea.
Let’s get started.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 4 bags of any strong tea of your choice (we used chai in this example)
- ¾ cup of cooked tapioca pearls (available at most Asian-themed grocery stores)
- a full kettle of boiling water
- ½ cup of a milk of your choice (we used whole milk)
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- a teapot
- two tall glasses for serving
- a tablespoon (for pouring ingredients and stirring)
- a pair of ice tongs
- bubble tea straws
Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 drinks
Prepare the tea.
Fill your teapot with boiling water and add all of your tea bags.
For this recipe, we are using four bags of chai tea per two cups of water.
Leave to steep for five minutes.
Add the cooked tapioca pearls into the serving glasses.
Distribute between the two glasses equally.
Many first-time drinkers might initially find the tea to be too strong. If that’s the case, add more ice to dilute it.
Pour the tea into the serving glasses.
Add brown sugar.
You can modify the amount of brown sugar to your preferred taste.
For this recipe, we are using ¼ cup of brown sugar per serving.
Again, you can modify the amount of milk you add to your preferred taste.
If you are using straws, be sure to use bubble tea straws as regular straws are usually not big enough for tapioca pearls.
Easy. Simple. Straightforward. Delicious.
As you become more experienced and further hone your tastes, then you can proceed to experimenting with unique ingredients and different teas, serving styles, and flavours. But you can never go wrong with sticking to the basics.
Congratulations on your first homemade bubble tea and we hope that you make many, many more in the future.
What is your opinion on tapioca in bubble tea?
- LOVE IT!
- HATE IT!
- LOVE IT!
- HATE IT!
Have you had bubble tea before?
Top 5 bubble tea flavours
- BROWN SUGAR
- BROWN SUGAR
- Labothéry Bubble Tea – Ever seen bubble tea mixed with a science laboratory? This place looks exactly just that. If you want to try a different way to drink bubble tea with your friends and family, this is the perfect place to do it. Each guest can create their own drinks from bubble tea themed syringes and test tubes.
- Chatime – Probably Toronto’s most popular bubble tea shop, it’s the perfect place to grab and go quick from their delicious menu. Think of Chatime as the starbucks of all bubble teas, everyone has to try it at least once.
- OneZo Tapioca – This bubble tea place is the master of tapioca. If you love tapioca or have never tried it, this is the best place to start. OneZo focuses on mastering the art of preparing the freshest tapioca and it never disappoints.
- The Alley – The Alley is committed to making bubble tea with their own sugar cane syrup. The boiling process is prepared in their own shop and their tapioca is also made from scratch! If you love authentic bubble teas, this place is a must-try.
- Real Fruit Bubble Tea – If you like your drinks to be super natural and artificial flavour free, Real Fruit Bubble Tea is the place for you. Each drink is prepared with freshly cut fruit and tailored to everyone’s unique preference.
- CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice – One of Toronto’s most popular and most recognizable bubble tea brands! The franchise is known for its great bubble tea options. The menu has standard bubble tea flavours, as well as some specialty options! There’s five locations just in downtown Toronto alone!