I have always been a big advocate of making bubble tea at home. Bubble tea is one of my favorite drinks but I try to limit how much of it I get because it is so expensive nowadays here! After making it for the first time a couple of years ago, I was astounded at the markup price when I realized how easy it was the make it!
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY MAKING BUBBLE TEA AT HOME
Buying a medium-sized cup of bubble tea costs about five dollars at most bubble tea shops in the United States. On the other hand, I’ve found that making bubble tea at home requires about a dollar worth of material, give or take depending on where you source your tapioca from. I treat bubble tea like I do coffee. I think that once in a while it is okay to go and buy it for convenience or if I’m craving a flavor I cannot replicate at home, but it’s much cheaper to make it at home most of the time. If you make your own coffee from home to save money, there is no excuse for buying five dollar bubble tea drinks!
On top of all of the money I save from making my own bubble tea, I like to make bubble tea at home because I have complete control. I find that different bubble tea shops have different standards of sweetness for the tea. My usual order is milk tea with half sugar, and even though I ask for half sugar at every shop, the sweetness level comes out differently almost every time. Making bubble tea at home means you can taste it along the way and adjust the sweetness levels accordingly.
I know that there are many variations of bubble tea, but today I will be writing about how to make the most basic type of bubble tea: milk tea with bubbles. This isn’t an exact recipe, as I never measure things exactly when I make bubble tea, but a general guide. Making bubble tea at home is easy, and how much of each ingredient you put and how long you cook things, etc. is completely up to how you like your bubble tea too.
I do not make my own tapioca pearls, but it is also fairly easy to do at home. For my homemade bubble tea, I use tapioca pearls shipped from California (ordered in bulk) but I know that they likely sell tapioca pearls at your local Asian grocery store. The rest of the materials are kitchen staples that most people have, but they should be available at your local grocery store if they are not already in your pantry. I personally purchased my brown sugar from my local Asian grocery store, the milk from my local Target, and I had the big bags of black tea from when I went to Taiwan last year.
HOW TO MAKE BUBBLE TEA AT HOME
- Raw tapioca balls (the bubbles!)
- Black tea
- Brown sugar
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 3 pots (1 large, 2 medium or small is ideal)
- Water Boiler (Optional)
- Large Spoon (or anything to stir the bubbles)
THE TAPIOCA BUBBLES
- In one of your smaller pots, boil water in a pot on high heat
- Pour your uncooked tapioca balls into the pot of boiling water
- Stir until the balls are floating
- Cook floating balls for about 8 minutes
- In the other small pot, pour about the same volume of water as there are bubbles
- Pour brown sugar into the water and bring to a boil
- Scoop out the cooked tapioca balls
- Put tapioca into the pot of brown sugar syrup
- Bring sugar/tapioca to a slight simmer
- Now your tapioca bubbles are done! You can eat them throughout the day and share them with friends and family for a few hours. Do not store in the refrigerator, they will get hard.
- Boil enough water for a large pot (Note: I’ve found that boiling the water in a water boiler is faster than on the stove in a pot. I typically boil the water in my electric kettle and then transfer it to the big pot).
- Put the tea bags into the hot water
- Add milk (to taste)
- Add sugar (to taste)
- Chill until cool in the refrigerator for cold bubble tea
- Put bubbles in your cup of choice
- Pour the milk tea over the bubbles
- Enjoy hot or cold!
Although the instructions for making homemade bubble tea seem long, there are just three main components to making bubble tea: cooking the tapioca balls, making tea, and putting everything together. I hope you see now that your favorite drink is pretty easy to replicate at home. If you love bubble tea, I highly recommend trying to make your own bubble tea at home too!