How to Make Bubble Tea at Home
If you are reading this article, it is likely you love bubble tea just like I do. I became a bubble tea addict many years ago while working at the mall. Luckily, there are many bubble tea restaurants popping up all over the place now. Unfortunately, it's possible there isn't one near you. I am writing this during the COVID-19 quarantine, so if there was ever a time to learn how to make bubble tea from home, it is now.
In case you've stumbled upon this article and don't know about bubble tea, basically it is a type of tea with "pearls" in it. It is also known as boba and originated in Taiwan. The pearls or bubbles are usually small balls of tapioca. I personally am not a big fan of tapioca pudding, so don't think you won't like this just because tapioca pudding isn't your thing. The balls are actually rather chewy and sugary, and not like the small (weird) balls in tapioca pudding.
There are actually many variations of boba. You can request pearls with jelly or fruit flavors. You can have pearls added to slushies or smoothies. Many people opt to get milk tea, but you can actually just use a regular tea as well. There are many options and you can customize your bubble tea.
Making Your Bubble Tea
Since this is a beginner's tutorial on making bubble tea, I want to explain how to make a basic bubble tea. When you get used to the process, you can change it based on your own personal preferences.
The first step is purchasing the pearls. Since I learned how to do this during quarantine, I had no choice but to order it online. I purchased my pearls from Amazon. I went with a company that was selling 2 bags of black sugar pearls (my favorite), 1 bag of colorful pearls, and 1 bag of straws specifically for drinking boba. This is an excellent starter kit and easy to use.
Boiling the Pearls
Your next step is to boil some water. The instructions say to boil 10 cups of water per 1 cup of pearls. I've actually found that is a little excessive. My suggestion is getting a large pot and filling it 3/4 full. If that happens to be 10 cups of water, that is fine. If it is only 7 or 8 cups, I haven't found that to be an issue at all.
Once the water is boiling, add the pearls. Initially, the pearls will sink to the bottom. It won't take long before the pearls start to float to the top. This step usually only takes a couple of minutes.
If the pearls are starting to float to the top, you can move to the next step. Put a lid on top of the pot and lower the heat. I usually put it on medium-low. Make sure to let it simmer that way for at least a few minutes. I have found my personal preference it about 5 minutes. If you take the pearls out of the water too soon, they are too hard. You want them to be chewy, but not squishy. After trying this once or twice, you will determine how much you want to boil them to give the pearls the consistency you like.
Removing the Pearls
The instructions for these particular pearls say to scoop the pearls out and put in a bowl of cold water. When I first started to make bubble tea myself, this is what I used to do. However, I like take shortcuts and use as few bowls as possible, so I don't do that anymore. I now dump the pearls into a colander, pour out the hot water from the pot I was just using, and then put cold water and ice cubes in that pot. I then put the pearls back in to cool. I give it a minute or two for the cooling process.
After all that, find a small bowl and put the pearls in it. The instructions say to add sugar or honey and let the pearls soak in it for a bit. I haven't tried the honey yet. I always just use sugar. I would say I let them sit in the sugar about 10 or 15 minutes. Keep in mind, you are supposed to use the pearls in 4 hours after cooking. I am honestly not sure what terrible fate awaits you if you don't use it in 4 hours, but I haven't experimented with that to find out myself.
Make Your Bubble Tea!
Here is the fun part - now you make your bubble tea! In the photo above, you can see my husband made a mango smoothie, but I went with regular tea. You can get as creative as you want. Do you already have tea? You can just add it to that.
What I have found to be my favorite combo is making regular tea and adding juice. Just simply microwaving a mug of water and letting a tea bag seep for a bit is very efficient. I pour the hot tea into a large container with lots of ice. Let it melt down a bit until it's cold. I usually add some juice. After that, simply pour in the pearls and you have bubble tea! Make sure to use a wide straw and you can enjoy bubble tea in your own home.
Hopefully you will find these instructions easy and you won't be intimidated about making bubble tea at home like I was at first. There are so many combinations and ways to get creative. There are even YouTube videos that will show you how to make more complex teas, like a Tiger Latte (brown sugar latte). Enjoy and have fun!
© 2020 Jeannie Marie