Bubble Tea

large tapioca pearls
8 oz strong black tea
8 oz milk or soy milk
1-2 tablespoons simple syrup

In a medium pan bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the amount of tapioca pearls you would want for one large or two small glasses of bubble tea. Continue to boil until the pearls float to the top and are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake together the milk, simple syrup and tea. Depending on how big your cocktail shaker is, you may need to do this in two batched. Strain into a large cup and add the tapioca pearls. Serve with a large bubble tea straw or a spoon.

My thoughts:

It is easy to make bubble tea (boba tea) at home. The pearls are easy to find at Asian groceries and online. If you are into the having the authentic experience, the giant straws that allow you to slurp the tea and the “bubbles” up together are a must. I’ve never seen them in a store, there are many places online that sell them quite cheaply, some as low as $1.50 for 100. Some people are off put by the slightly slimy, chewy texture of the tapioca pearls but I love them! It’s like a drink and a snack all in one.


  1. I wish you would teach the Taiwanese student union on campus to make these correctly. They sell bubble tea for fundraisers sometimes and it’s pretty awful compared to the bubble tea I’ve had from professionals.

  2. Oh I LOVE bubble tea! My bubble tea stores sells their straws in big bags if you want them. I’ll have to get some and try this myself.


  3. Rachel, thank you so much for this recipe. I’m thrilled by the thought of making bubble tea at home!

  4. Bubble drinks are very popular where I live…It’s hard to pass these suckers up at the mall. My favorite is Ube Macapuno!

  5. Mmmm! I just had mango bubble tea last night while waiting for my Pad Thai! Delicious!

  6. I’ve never contemplated making bubble tea on my own…hmmm…

  7. I’ve never had bubble tea but it’s always something I wanted to try! It doesn’t look too hard to make either. I just bought a cocktail shaker (on clearance at Ikea for $2) to make mocktails with so I’ll have to give this a try when I can find some tapioca pearls.

  8. I’ve never heard of it referred to as “bubble tea,” how funny! In LA we call it “boba.” I’m going to pass the recipe along to my sister…she loves the stuff!

  9. Hi there! Just wanted to drop a note and tell you that I enjoy your recipes and love that you leave your thought after each one. It does inspire me to try new things!

  10. Hilary: Around here, all the signs say “bubble tea” and then the menus say “boba”. Strange, isn’t it.

    Lori: Thanks for the sweet comment and stopping by! I appreciate it.

  11. We have bubble tea shops in our area, I’ve never stopped in at them, but have wanted to try it. I love tapioca, and tea, so why wouldn’t I like this? Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  12. Like many things, I like bubble tea frozen…

  13. Very cool! My sister especially loves Bubble Tea, which we get from the Thai restaurant in our neighbor. Thanks to you, now Iknow how to make it!


  14. One of my very good friends is Vietnamese, and owns the best restaurant in Denver. She always tried to get me to like the bubble teas, and I hated them for the longest time, but I got over it when I thought of the tapioca as gummy bears! Now I love them.

  15. Amazing! I never realized it was that simple. I had to shell out $6 yesterday for bubble tea, now I’ll never have to again!

  16. how fun! i love bubble tea too, i’m glad to finally know what is in it. i had this image that they were probably pretty high in calories because they are so sweet. but, milk is good for you, and tea is good for you!

  17. yay! Thank you so much. I live in south Florida, and it’s pretty much unheard of here. I hadn’t thought to make it.

  18. Wow, this sounds much better than the sickly-sweet, artificially flavored bubble teas I’ve had. I’m excited to give it a try! One question, though – what kind of tea do you typically use? Right now the only black tea I’ve got in my cabinet is Stash Earl Grey, and I’m not sure how that would be…

  19. Erin: I think any black tea would do, give it a shot!

  20. I have been able to find the big straws in asian grocery stores. Smaller asian markets don’t usually have them but there’s a big grocery store that I go to that carries them. You might have to do some hunting, but they aren’t impossible to find.

  21. Maryanna: Lucky you! Our huge, huge Asian store has the pearls and even some of the powdered flavorings but no straws.

  22. Thanks for the great recipe. It inspired me to try to make it on my own at home. I purchased a bunch of different flavors from Boba Tea Direct and will keep you posted. 🙂

  23. I bought some tapioca pearls at Uwajimaya, but they were “minute pearls” (similar to minute rice) and they were awful! If you’re going to get some, ONLY get the ones that have to be boiled for 30 minutes or more (I bought some from online) – it makes a world of difference!

    I’m seriously addicted to the Bubble Tea Slushies from Bubble Bubble in Beaverton Oregon but I’m trying to figure out a good alternative.

  24. if your ever stuck for big straws drop by a gas station that sell slurpes and grab a few from them and re wash the straws for next time

  25. Anon: Fun idea, but they aren’t big enough.