DIY: Boba Milk Tea
Boba milk tea is an iced tea drink that originated from Taiwan in the late 1980s. It has exploded in popularity since and is also known as pearl milk tea or bubble milk tea, depending on the region. You can find boba milk tea shops all over the world, including in Arlington, TX.
Boba milk tea generally consists of some kind of sweetened tea, ice, milk or creamer, and boba, also known as tapioca pearls. Tapioca is made from a starch extracted from the cassava root. Boba milk tea has expanded now to many different flavors and toppings, including egg pudding, Adzuki red bean, and jellies. Typically, you will drink your milk tea with a wide straw or with a spoon. Boba can be a choking hazard, so it is not recommended for young children.
The recipe today will be the classic milk tea.
For the tea, you will need:
- 8 tea bags of strong black or green tea.
- 1 pot to boil in
- 4 cups of water
- Measuring cup
- Whole milk, heavy cream, or condensed milk, whichever you choose as your creamer.
You want strong teas because you will be diluting the tea with the creamer. This amount will make about enough for two people. To make it for more people, add two cups of water and four tea bags per additional person.
For the boba, you will want:
- Fast-cooking boba, which you can find at your local Asian grocery store or online.
- Water (use amount recommended in the directions of the fast-cooking boba).
- A Slotted spoon to take boba out
- 1 pot to boil in
- A container for boba while it cools
For this tutorial, we will be using colorful boba instead of the standard black boba. You are also welcome to use other flavors for your boba. Pick your preference!
For the sweetener, you will want:
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of sweetener of your choice if you are using sugar.
- A small pot. You can use the same pot as the boba.
- A small, heat-proof container.
Chinese rock sugar is a great sweetener for boba milk tea. It has a clear taste with tinges of caramel and honey. If you don’t have rock sugar, brown sugar is the best substitute, but regular sugar would be fine, too. If you plan to use honey, you can skip the sweetener step. Just make sure to stir in the honey while the tea is hot so that it can dissolve.
Directions for the Tea
- Boil a pot of water. Use 1 cup of water to every two tea bags you will use.
- Place tea bags in boiling water and let it steep for ten minutes.
- When the tea is done, set it aside to cool.
Directions for the Boba
- Boil a pot of water based on the directions of your fast-cooking boba. If it does not provide directions, use ten cups of water to one cup of boba.
- Once water is boiling, set to medium heat and cook boba for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off stove and let it sit for 2-3 minutes depending on how chewy you like your boba.
- Scoop the boba out with your slotted spoon and place it in a container full of cold water. It’s okay if the boba is initially too soft for you, as it will solidify in the cold water.
- (Optional) If you prefer sweeter boba, you can mix in some sweetener (e.g. honey or the sweetener you make for the tea).
Directions for the Sweetener
- Boil half a cup of water and pour the sugar in.
- Stir pot until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour it into a separate container.
Assembling the Drink
- Place a scoop of boba in your drinking cup.
- Pour in two cups of tea.
- Mix in the amount of creamer you desire.
- Stir in sweetener until it has reached the sweetness you want.
- Add ice as needed.
Enjoy your drink! Feel free to customize it as you desire.