DIY Taiwanese Bubble Tea

What’s tall, a shade of mocha brown, has tiny balls and a big fat straw inside it?

Why it’s bubble tea of course! 

Also known as boba drink, pearl tea drink, boba ice tea, boba, boba nai cha, zhen zhou nai cha, pearl milk tea, and probably many other names, bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the early 1980’s.

What started as small tea stands outside of elementary schools on the streets of Taiwan has now become an international phenomenon, with plenty of stores in North America and other parts of the world serving bubble tea!

The bubbles in the tea are tapioca pearls that are usually made of caramel, starch, and chamomile extract. This cool beverage is not just a fad, its addicting, and in Taiwan especially, it is a lifestyle.

Since bubble tea is so well known and loved in this country I decided I was going to try to make my own!
There are many ways of making this delicious drink. You can use different types of sugar, syrups instead of sugar, and even different blends of tea! It’s hard to go wrong, which is a big reason behind why I chose to take a shot at this Taiwanese staple.
For this experiment you will need:
Tapioca pearls
Milk (regular or soy)
Black tea
A strainer
2 pots
The quantities in this recipe are for one portion so just adjust accordingly, depending on how many glasses you’d like to enjoy!
Step 1: Take 30 grams of tapioca pearls and boil on medium to high heat in 500 mL of water for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the tapioca turns a dark brown colour.
 Step 2: In a separate pot, add 300 mL of water and 10 grams (or 1-1.5 tea spoons) of black tea and let it boil for one minute. Next add 300 mL of milk and once it starts to boil reduce heat. At this time you can also add the amount of sugar you desire, I added two teaspoons. Stir this mixture occasionally.
Step 3: Next strain the black tea leaves from the milk tea.
Step 4:Once tapioca is cooked (dark brown), strain it and place it in a cup like so.
Step 5: Add the strained milk tea into the cup filled with tapioca and ENJOY!
You may add more ingredients as desired but here you have basic Bubble Tea in five easy steps! Although it didn’t taste exactly like the tea one can find in a shop, the gratification of having made it with my own two hands made the drink THAT much more enjoyable. It’s also nice because you can control just how sweet or how strong you make it!

However, if you’re trying Bubble Tea for the first time, you should really go to the experts. In Taiwan, there’s an abundance of fantastic tea stores, but here are some excellent places, courtesy of BuzzFeed, that you should definitely try!