The bubble tea originally came from Taiwan where it became extremely popular over the past decade. The drink originally started as a kids treat in Taiwan more than twenty years ago. Someone came up with the idea of adding tapioca pearls in these tea drinks and it became immediate hit. You can try to make it at home, but I suggest first to try it in some of Bubble tea cafes or houses, because the original ingredients and especially flavourings are not that easy to make at home with natural ingredients like taro, or sesame or lychee..
In Vancouver, especially Downtown, bubble tea is almost around every corner.
Bubble tea is a blend of sweetened tea or juice with sweetened cooked tapioca pearls and a creamy addition or flavouring syrup or powder, mixed until incorporated. Bubble tea was originally named for the frothy bubbles that form when it's mixed well. Another, older name for this drink is "Pearl Tea". The tapioca pearls are usually used as bubbles, but authentic bubble tea is made with coconut jelly.
Bubble tea can be hot or cold. Important skills you need to have to make a good bubble tea is to know how to make good tapioca pearls and syrup for your base. It's best to use the black, green, or multi-coloured tapioca pearls made specifically for bubble tea.
I have shown above regular Apple bubble tea (green) with pearls, Strawberry Fresh fruit slush bubble tea and Grape Slush bubble tea (light pink)
And of course, you need wide straws for a bubble tea, otherwise you will not be able to drink your pearls with a tea!
Pearl Milk Bubble Tea
This is the base for a classic bubble tea drink. The most popular flavours are black tea and green jasmine tea. The cream could be omitted. From this base you can make any tea you like, just add a flavour. Experiment!
3/4 cup strong tea base***
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp bubble tea sugar syrup**
1 cup ice
3 to 4 tablespoons cooked Bubble Tea Tapioca Pearls*
Put tea, cream and bubble tea sugar syrup in a shaker and mix well. Add in ice, cover shaker and shake for a nice froth. Add tapioca pearls to the glass, and pour your drink over. Stir and enjoy.
Strawberry Bubble Tea
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup brewed tea or base tea***
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp. bubble tea sugar syrup**
1 cup ice
4 tbsp. cooked tapioca pearls
Place the tapioca pearls in the large glass cup. Put strawberries, tea, the sugar syrup, cream and the ice cubes in a blender. Process until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the glass with the tapioca pearls.
Serve with a thick straw.
Thai Mango-Coconut Bubble Tea
1 package tapioca pearls (for bubble tea), prepared as explained bellow*
black or green tea***
1 ripe mango (mashed pulp)
natural syrup, such as maple syrup
1-2 cans coconut milk
crushed ice or ice cube
regular milk or cream, soy milk, sweetened condensed milk
straws (big bubble tea straws)
Tips on Ingredients/Substitutions:
Regular tapioca pearls could be used if you can't find real bubble pearls, but do not overcook them.
Use one of the milk options listed above if you prefer your bubble tea creamy.
Place the prepared tapioca pearls in the large glass jar. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Add the milk. Add the sugar syrup, milk and mango with tea mix, and the ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and shake well, or you can process them in a blender.
Pour the shaken mixture into the glass with the tapioca pearls. Serve with a thick straw.
How to make main ingredients for a bubble tea:
*To make the tapioca pearls:
When making the tapioca pearls, use a large pot. As a rule, the more pearls cooked, the more water should be used. Boil the water. Add the pearls to the boiling water and boil for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the pearls are not sticking to each other or to the pot. Turn off heat and let the pearls steep in the water for another 30 minutes with the lid of the cooking pot on. Drain the tapioca pearls and rinse with cold water to cool them down. Place them in sugar syrup (see below). Stir the pearls well. Pearls should be refrigerated and covered.
**To make the sugar syrup:
In a saucepan, bring the water to boil. Add the sugars. Reduce heat and heat until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Remove from heat. Experiment with the ratio of white sugar to brown sugar, and the ratio of the sugar to water or use this one:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
Use 1-2 tablespoons syrup for each 16 ounce serving.
Mix sugar and water in a large pot. Cook at medium to high heat. As soon as the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils remove from heat. Let it cool and refrigerate or serve.
***Black or green tea base for bubble tea
This is a strong tea base, tastes slightly different from brewed tea. Use 1 cup of ice with 1 cup of strong tea base for each 16 ounce (0.5 litres) serving. Refrigerate tea between uses.
1 gallon water (3.8 litres)
4 ounces (110 g) by weight black, green tea, or chai
The base can also be made with oolong tea, chai spice tea blend, Thai tea blend, yerba mate, or redbush/rooiboos.
Mix water and tea in a large pot, cover and cook at medium heat for about 8 minutes. Remove from stove immediately. Strain at once, let cool and use as a base for pearl tea drinks.