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How do I make Bubble Tea?

I’m getting a minor in business in hopes of opening my own bubble tea place sometime down the road. It’s not a big thing in Texas, and that’s not how it should be! I would love to introduce this drink to people, but there are very few shops.
I’ve tried to make it myself, and it hasn’t tasted too good. It might be the cheap tapioca pearls I used, or the tea base. Maybe I’m just doing everything wrong, I don’t know!
Most recipes I find call for tea, milk or cream, syrup made from brown and white sugar, and boba. Does anyone else have a recipe they would like to reveal? Or at least shed some light on what I can do to make mine better?

13 Replies
darky said

what on earth is bubble tea? i know they had a place that served it near where i lived but it was forced to close

It’s tea with tapioca pearls in it. The usual is called milk tea. They come in all different flavors though. They give you fat straws so you’re able to suck the pearls up. It’s really good.

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Ramvling said

I don’t know for sure, but I assume the way you make it would be similar to Thai Iced tea. As in brewing the tea double strength with some spices, adding sugar and sweetened condensed milk. How are you making it exactly?

It’s been awhile, but normally I just brew the tea and chill it over night. I’ll add milk, sugar, and syrup to it and cook the boba in syrup as well. I’ve even added some honey. It may be the tea base. I’m not quite sure what to use.

Ramvling said

Well the tea base shouldn’t make that much of a difference, unless you aren’t brewing it strong enough. I’ve found that the difference between high quality tea and low quality tea is minimal when you ice and milk it. Anyways, I’ve never made bubble tea specifically so I’m really not sure what the problem might be. ^^;

(I do wish you luck though, as someone born and raised in Texas I agree that there definitely needs to be more bubble tea.)

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Andie select said

I have had success making it for myself at home. This is pretty much how I do it: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-boba-and-bubble-tea-98067

I find it’s very important to let the boba soak in a sweet liquid for at least 15 minutes. I usually prepare mine with honey and brown sugar.

As for the tea base, I found I liked it best when I made an iced matcha latte. It takes experimentation, both to figure out what you like best and to get the boba pearls cooked properly.

Thanks! I was also using a quick-cooking boba. That could’ve been a problem.

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Lazey said

We need more bubble tea in this world! I used to live within a mile of a bubble tea station and am sad not to be able to get bubble tea around where I am now. Thought about introducing bubble tea to the cafe near my house… Hm.

Anyways I never quite got the hang of cooking the pearls so my advice won’t be worth much… Takes a lot of experimentation I reckon, like making the perfect cup of tea.

Lazey said

Also I don’t think most bubble tea places brew a tea base, just use a powdered tea (I had some of the strawberry milk tea powder, was pretty good) and mix it individually in one of those shaker cups.

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Yeah, I’ve been playing with bubble tea – I found my quick cooking boba have the wrong texture! I’m gonna try the recipe Andie posted too! For the tea base, I just make a very strong iced latte, say double the tea used to steep, then top with milk.
An easy one to do would be to make a matcha ice latte – ooh, even use some flavored matcha too!

I hope you pull it off but without those powder mixes or syrups! Bleck, I dislike boba places that just use those – the ones that have the fresh fruit smoothie or make the strong tea right there are the best!

I also had boba that used seed tapioca in the mix, that is really good and adds another level of texture! It’s also a good idea to try coconut jellies, which you can buy at some asian grocery stores. People who dislike boba usually can tolerate the coconut.

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It doesn’t have to have milk in it or be brewed double strength. In Flushing NY tea shops its usually a green oolong with a dollop of fruit syrup (lychee, star fruit, green apple etc.). Then add the cooked tapioca balls, ice cube squares, a fat straw and a dome top with a hole in the center to drink as you walk.

I guess I’m just thinking about the milk tea. I know it can be made with all kinds of tea, I should’ve been more specific though.

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RiverTea said

We found some recipes and posted them on our blog. Hope this helps – http://rivertea.com/blog/5-homemade-bubble-tea-recipes/

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