Boba tea, also known as bubble tea, originated back in the mid 1980’s. It’s a flavorful drink containing tea, milk and chewy tapioca balls or fruit jellies. Many people have claimed to be the creators of this mystical beverage, but the most accredited story leads to the Chun Shui Tang Teahouse in Taiwan.
While visiting Japan, the owner of the Chun Shui Teahouse, noticed how the Japanese would serve cold coffee. He thought it was interesting and tried applying the same method to tea. A few years went by and his product developer began experimenting by adding sweetened pudding with tapioca balls to the cold tea. The drink became an instant success and was quickly the tea house’s best selling item. As word spread, so did bubble tea’s popularity.
Throughout the 90’s bubble tea quickly spread through east and southeast Asia. It eventually went viral and can now be found in many parts of the world.
How Bubble Tea Is Made
It is said that the original boba tea was made using black tea, tapioca pearls, condensed milk, and syrup or honey. Typically green or black tea is used as the base, but many different versions and varieties have been created.
You will need:
Green or Black Tea (3-4 teaspoons), Boba Tapioca Pearls, White, Brown or Turbinado Sugar (1/4 cup), Condensed Milk (2-3 tablespoons) and Regular Milk (1/4 cup)
- On your stove, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and and add 3-4 teaspoons of your favorite green or black tea. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
- Using a strainer, filter the tea into glass pitcher and place in refrigerator to cool.
- Add 1 cup of your black boba tapioca pearls to 3-4 cups of boiling water. Boil the boba for about 5 minutes or until the boba is soft and chewy. Once done, rinse in cold water.
- Make your simple sugar by combining 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar (white, brown or turbinado) and stirring until dissolved.
- Pour your boba balls into the simple sugar and let soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of the syrupy boba to the bottom of your favorite glass.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of condensed milk.
- Add 1/4 cup of regular milk.
- Add ice.
- Fill the rest of the glass with your green or black tea.
- Stir thoroughly. Add more or less ingredients as needed.
- Place a specially thick boba straw into the glass and enjoy!
Modern Bubble Tea
Over time, many different blends of bubble tea have been created. The green and black tea can be replaced by herbal tea, yerba mate or even coffee. Different flavorings can be added such as apple, mango, lemon, peach, chocolate, almond or caramel. And the tapioca boba balls can be replaced with green pearls or small rectangular strips of flavored jellies.
The popularity of bubble tea has exploded over the past decade. Bubble tea shops are on every street corner in Taiwan and can be found in most major cities around the world. The state of California is said to have over 100 bubble tea shops alone.
If you’ve never tried a bubble tea, now’s the time to do it. Look to see if there’s a place that makes them near you or buy the ingredients online and make one from home. They’re a uniquely refreshing beverage that just might become an all time favorite.