Bubble tea, also known as boba, originated in Taiwan and is typically made with tapioca pearls, black tea, syrup, and ice.
The tapioca pearls give the drink its unique texture and flavor, becoming springy and flavorful when boiled.
They are made from cassava root starch and are popular in bubble tea. In addition to its use in bubble tea, tapioca pearls are widely used in Southeast Asian countries for various other purposes, including as a key ingredient in desserts and as a thickening agent in foods.
They add a distinctive texture and flavor to dishes, making them popular in many recipes.
Whether you make a boba for yourself or host a party, we’ll have a fun ride ahead. Let’s start!
I’ll show you how to make a banana bubble tea at home quickly. Total making time is 15-20 minutes, and the serving size is for 1 person. If you want to make it for 2, double the ingredient sizes; for 3 people, triple the measurements.
Ingredients you’ll need for one bubble tea:
|Tapioca pearls||½ cup / 1.2dl|
|Black or green tea||1 tea bag|
|Banana syrup||~ 3.4oz / ~ 100ml|
|(Plant) Milk||~ 3.4oz / ~ 100ml|
|Ice (optional)||~ 0.22lbs / ~ 100g|
I like to use these Wu Fu Yuan tapioca pearls mainly because they are delicious and ready in five minutes.
- Make the tea.
- Cook boba/tapioca pearls.
- Complete the drink.
- Put boba into a cup, add syrup, pour tea and milk, and mix.
- Add ice if you want, and enjoy!
Step #1: Make a Cup of Tea
You can use any tea you enjoy, as the final result should be tasty regardless of the tea used. Black tea is often used in bubble tea, but green tea can also be used. Some people may prefer the taste of green tea in their bubble tea.
If you are unsure which type of tea to use, you can try making bubble tea with both black and green tea to see which one you prefer.
There are two options for adding tea to your bubble tea: a tea bag or tea leaves. Using tea bags is more convenient, eliminating the need to strain the tea before adding it to the drink.
Generally, it is a matter of personal preference whether to use tea bags or loose tea leaves in your bubble tea. Experiment with different types of tea and preparation methods to find the combination that you like best.
- Boil water.
- Put the tea bag into a cup.
- Pour boiled water into the cup.
Optional: You can sweeten the tea for your bubble tea if you wish, but keep in mind that you will also add syrup later. If you decide to sweeten the tea, be careful not to make it too sweet, as you can always sweeten the tapioca pearls and the final bubble tea drink later.
Once the tea is ready, allow it to cool. Remove the tea bag after 5 minutes if you use black tea. Green tea bags can remain in the tea until it has cooled.
You can also add ice cubes to speed up the cooling process. Some people prefer to remove the tea bags when adding ice cubes, but it is up to personal preference.
So, let’s give some peace to the tea and move to the next step, where we start cooking boba!
Step #2: Cook Boba/Tapioca Pearls
Now, let’s get the main ingredient ready. It’s a relatively quick and easy process and doesn’t require much skill.
It depends on how many “bubbles” you want in your bubble tea. One cup of pearls is enough for two bubble teas. So, for one bubble tea, let’s cook ½ cup (around 1.2dl).
- For ½ cup of tapioca pearls, boil 5 cups of water.
- Bring water to a boil in a pot.
- Slowly add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water, stirring lightly. The white powder on the pearls is starch, which will disappear as the pearls cook.
- Wait until the pearls float to the surface and cover the entire pot.
- Cook the pearls on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and let the pearls simmer for 2-3 minutes. If you prefer softer pearls, extend the simmer time to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the pearls to a bowl of cold water for about 30 seconds.
- Remove the pearls from the water and place them in a dry bowl.
To add extra sweetness to the tapioca pearls, mix them with honey or the syrup you will use in the bubble tea.
If you have already sweetened the tea, be careful not to over-sweeten the pearls, as you will also add syrup to the drink later.
If you are interested in making tapioca pearls by yourself, learn how to make boba pearls.
Step #3: Serve the Banana Bubble Milk Tea
Now we get to the best part; this is where your bubble tea will be born. I hope you are as excited as me, so let’s get into it without further ado!
- Place tapioca pearls at the bottom of a cup or mug.
- Coat the side of the cup with syrup by slowly pouring the syrup on the top of the side and swirling the cup until the syrup covers the entire side. Some of the syrup should sink into the cup.
- Add and mix in the tea.
- Taste and add more syrup if desired.
- Add ice if you want.
- Use a wide straw for drinking the boba.
To know more about boba straws and cups, read our article, where we break it all down.
Cooked tapioca pearls can be stored at room temperature, but it is recommended to consume them within 3 hours of cooking for the best taste and texture.
If you need to store the cooked pearls for longer, you can keep them in the refrigerator in a closed container and use them as soon as possible.
While the raw pearls will still be good to use for a few days after refrigerating, it is best to cook and consume them as soon as possible after opening the package.
It is important to be cautious when consuming tapioca, particularly when children are involved. Children under the age of three should be closely supervised while drinking bubble tea, as it is possible to choke on tapioca pearls.
The white powder on tapioca pearls is starch, which helps to preserve the pearls. It is normal for tapioca pearl packaging to contain steam due to temperature changes during storage. If you see condensation inside the package, know it is safe to consume the tapioca pearls.
The recipe for banana bubble tea should take about 15-20 minutes to complete and may be done even more quickly with practice and the ability to multitask effectively.