Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bubble Tea at Home

I have lamented before the lack of bubble tea here in southwest Georgia. [What is bubble tea? Just my fave beverage EVER!] Our local frozen yogurt place, Swirl, has said they want to start carrying it; but until they do, I'm in a boba black hole. [boba = tapioca balls]

Making bubble tea at home from scratch *is* possible and really not much trouble at why do I never seem to do it? Excuses banished today! I've made several different brands of cook-at-home boba, which I've ordered off Amazon, as well as finding in person at Asian markets. The brand I made today - WuFuYuan - is by far my fave: fastest cooking time (5 min), easy English directions on the largely-Chinese package, and a sensible amount (8.8 oz) in the bag. [I ordered a big 2.2 lb bag once from my favorite commercial bubble tea brand, Lollicup; but b/c the boba are so fragile until they are cooked (they're essentially tapioca powder gently pressed together into a ball) half the bag disintegrated into dust before I could use it.] I got a bag exactly like this (photo credit here)
for $1.59 when we were home last at Grand Asia in CLT. (If the black color of the boba is off-putting, you can get clear or even rainbow color! I like the traditional black, though. :-) Aren't these images so fun?!?!) This bag will make two batches (each ~1 cup, pre-cooked. Boba exapnds!)

The bag directions are simple: bring water to a boil (~8 cups), and add 1 cup boba. Gently stir. When they begin to plump up (~1 min), lower heat to medium, cover & cook for 5 min. That's it! I let them come down to room temp before using them, but they are best fresh. Technically, they'll keep in the fridge a few days, but every time I've done that, mine have gotten hard. :'( This fab WuFuYuan package, though, DID offer me a new tip: add hot water or microwave to soften them up, again. (If that works, I will be making bigger batches!) I keep mine just covered in some of their cooking water in a small storage which I also add some honey! This is totally optional, but I like my boba to have some extra sweetness. :-)

So the boba is done. Now for the tea! At bubble tea shops, you can get the boba put into fresh fruit smoothies and fruit- or milk-based green or black teas. My favorites are the creamy milk flavors, like almond and taro:
The kids love mango and strawberry best.

I found a few recipes on Pinterest and tweaked a creamy coconutty one for my preferences:
*4 cups rooibos tea, cold [my fave - "naturally caffeine-free herbal tea from South Africa, aka red bush tea. Its naturally sweet flavor, lack of bitter tannins, and naturally decaf nature makes it a great kids tea, pregnancy tea, tea for lactating moms, and a hydrating tea for all of us that want an antioxidant rich tea without the jitters. Medical research has suggested numerous health benefits of rooibos including anti-cancer properties, particularly in decreased risk of skin cancer."]
*4 teaspoons stevia [use honey or agave, if you prefer; it'll be more, though, b/c stevia is very concentrated]
*1 14 oz. can [light] coconut milk
*2 cups regular low-fat milk
*a few drops of both vanilla & almond extract

[Hate coconut? Omit the coconut milk! Add whatever flavors you want! There's no right or wrong!]

Put some of your boba in a glass. Shake the tea mixture (yes - it's shaken, not stirred! :-D) with some ice, and pour it over the boba. [BTW: this step is what makes it "bubble tea". The bubbles are the foam on top from shaking, not the boba. Now you are a super smarty pants expert! ;-)] Finally, drink with a fun, fat straw! (And add more sweetness, if you prefer!)

Spring bliss...


  1. now I need to go find some boba at our asian market. although I think it's probably easier for me to just go to the bubble tea place. LOL

  2. [I would always just rather go to buy it, too...if I can. ;-) :-P]

  3. I am so excited to try this, Susie! :-)

  4. It really is cool! Let me know how yours turns out!!! :-)