How To Make Bubble Tea

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What is boba or bubble tea? It’s a delicious sweet treat combining tapioca, tea, milk and sweetener. This drink can also be made with fruit juice. It’s served with a large straw that helps the drinker enjoy both the beverage and the chewy tapioca pearls.

Making Bubble Tea

It’s important to use plenty of water when boiling boba. As they are pure starch and may have sugary treats inside them, they will be inclined to stick. You want to provide enough water to create a rolling boil and give them plenty of space.

Time To Complete: 35mins

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup / 32 grams of dried tapioca balls or pearls. Do not use instant boba for this drink.
  • 1 to 2 tea bags in the flavor of your choice.
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml water
  • 1/2 cup / 100 grams sugar
  • Milk (you can use dairy, almond milk, or sweetened condensed milk)You can also add fruit juice​


  1. Use 2 cups / 500 ml of water for every 1/4 cup / 32 grams of tapioca balls.
  2. Once the water boils, add the balls and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the boba on medium for 12 to 15 minutes until they are transparent.
  3. Stir gently to keep them from sticking.
  4. After boiling, remove the pan from the heat and let the cooling boba rest for 15 minutes.

How To Make Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca pearls are extremely easy to make and flavor. Per international food experts with the Viet Food Channel,

  1. Mix 1/2 cup / 64 grams of tapioca flour with 1/6 cup / 39 ml boiling water.
  2. Mix this into a starchy dough, then roll into small balls. You can add sweet morsels to the dough balls, including dried fruit.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the dough balls, cooking them until they are clear.
  4. Store them in cool water to prevent sticking.​

Emma Christensen of offers a detailed recipe for the creation of boba or bubble tea.

While the boba are cooking, make a simple syrup of the water and sugar by boiling the water and mixing in the sugar until it completely dissolves. You’ll store your prepared boba balls in this cooled simple syrup.

SEE ALSO: How Long Does Simple Syrup Last?

Boba should be used within three or four hours of cooking, but can be refrigerated if need be. Part of their charm is their chewy quality, but if they are stored too long they will become crunchy.

Brew a strong cup of tea using your tea bag(s) of choice and 1 cup / 250 ml hot water. Let it steep for 15 minutes, then chill. Unless you are extremely fond of the acerbic quality of green tea, you may prefer to use an oolong tea for this process.

Green and white teas can become unpleasantly tart if over-steeped.

To make your bubble tea, combine the strong tea, the boba and milk or fruit juice to taste. You can sweeten your tea by adding the simple syrup the boba were soaked in.

Warning: Starches hold onto their heat. Take care to chill tapioca completely before biting down into a boba pearl; the center may be much hotter than you anticipated.​

Boba Tea Flavors

Because this drink can be made with fruit juice or milk, you have a wide variety of flavor options. It can be creamy or tart to your taste. You can also separate out the tapioca balls and shake up your boba tea with ice in a cocktail shaker for an ice cold treat.

  • You can also purchase custom flavored boba pearls for unique fruit blends. Per boba authorities with Spoon University, the only unpleasant boba combination is fruit and milk.
  • If you want a creamy milk bubble tea, consider adding ice cream to sweeten the treat.
  • Fans of fruit may enjoy almost any fruit combo, but adding milk will cause a flavor clash.​

What Is Bubble Tea?

Depending on where you enjoy it, bubble tea can also be called boba tea or pearl tea. It’s a sweet treat of strong tea, milk, sweetener and boba or tapioca. It can be made with black or white boba balls.

Per health authority Dr. Weil, boba are tapioca pearls. Black boba are sweetened with brown sugar and sweet potato. white boba are sweetened with caramel and chamomile.

What Is Tapioca Made Of?

Tapioca is a starch or carbohydrate made from the cassava root. To make tapioca, the starchy liquid is pressed out of the cassava root and water is allowed to evaporate.

The remaining powder is tapioca, which can be blended into small dumplings and boiled.

Bubble Tea Thickener​

It’s important to note that tapioca is not the same as cassava flour, which is made by grinding the cassava root. Once extracted, tapioca can be used as a thickener, added to other grains for making bread, or as a binder to keep other products from crumbling.

Because of the gel-like consistency, tapioca can be used to remove excess moisture from meatballs and burgers.​

Bubble tea is an excellent treat with a variety of flavor options. From creamy caramel made with black boba to crisp citrus built on lemon boba and orange juice, you can customize your drink to your taste.​

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.