Homemade Bubble Tea
Bubble tea is on of our favourite indulgences. When Alyssa and I first met Rachel, we were all living in Markham, Ontario which has some of the best bubble tea spots in all of Canada. So needless to say, we reached for it often and had the chance to try the many flavours out there.
If you’ve never had bubble tea, let us tell you what’s it’s all about. It’s a phenomenon that originated in Taiwan in the early 80’s. It’s tea, usually mixed with fruit or a fruit flavouring, milk and tapioca pearls or fruit jelly. Tapioca pearls look like small bubbles, hence the name. They’ve definitely got a unique texture – some people are thrown off by it and others love it. If you’ve ever had tapioca pudding, they’re just bigger versions of the small spheres in there. It’s kind of like chewing a gummy bear. The drink comes with a wide straw so you can pull up the tapioca pearls from the bottom of the drink. It’s pretty fun. When we were young (were talking 12) we would sometimes suck them up in the straw and then blow them out at each other. We can confirm they’re a bit sticky.
We’ve been having bubble tea for literally two decades, but have never made it ourselves. So it was time. You can get tapioca pearls (or boba as they’re sometimes called) on Amazon (we’ve linked it below) or at Asian grocery stores. They’re not expensive and totally easy to make. You can also buy fruit powders on Amazon, so we’ve linked some of our faves for you. For this recipe, we decided to make our own fruit purée (mango!), as this way we could control the sweetness.
For the bubble tea:
- 1 cup of Tapioca pearls or boba – you can grab them on Amazon here.
- 3 black tea bags
- 3 cups of boiling water
- 2 tbs of honey (or whatever sweetener you choose)
- Milk or plant based milk (optional)
- Reusable bubble tea straws – there’s metal ones here (or rainbow metal ones here) or plastic ones here
For the mango purée:
- 2 mangos, diced into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- Blender or food processor
- Start by making the tea. Add the black tea bags to the boiling water and let steep. Add in the honey and stir until it dissolves. Let sit for at least three minutes and remove the tea bags. Allow the tea to cool in the fridge.
- Make the mango purée (if you’re going this route). Add the mango chunks to the blender or food processor followed by the water. Blend until smooth.
- Time to make the tapioca pearls. Follow the instructions on the package. If you use the same brand as us, it will only take 5 minutes to make. It’s up to you if you want to add sugar or honey to the tapioca pearls after they’re cooked. We didn’t and still found the drink to be refreshing, but most people do.
- Assembly time. Add a scoop of the tapioca pearls to the bottom of your cup (as many as you’d like!). Then add a generous scoop of ice followed by the tea, filling to the top if you’re sticking to just tea, or fill halfway and top with mango purée (and milk if you’d like).
- Add in your straw and sip away.