Thai Bubble Tea

Boba Tea for Two
Bubble Tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980’s when a tea vendor started to add blended fruit to the tea to gain popularity with the school children, and when the tea and fruit were shaken it formed bubbles (hence the name). Not too long after, tapioca pearls were introduced and added to the drink which, once again, resembled bubbles. The drink is also known as “boba tea” because the texture is said to be similar to a female breast!
Grocery Items
In California Bubble Tea is everywhere and, from what I have seen, you either love or hate it. I happen to love this refreshing and chewy beverage and decided to see if I could make it at home. We have a local Chinese grocery store that sells all sorts of tea products, so not knowing where to start… I had the grocer help me pick out the ingredients. I ended up with black bubble tea tapioca pearls, sweetened condensed milk, bubble tea straws, loose leaf Jasmine tea, and loose leaf Thai tea (which produced a very orange drink even with the milk in it).
Uncooked Pearls
The process wasn’t difficult and left me with the desire to try different recipes. Next time I’m going to try adding fresh blended fruit (so expect more posts on this topic). I thought the tapioca pearls had an awful smell and taste, so I really rinsed the pearls well when they finished cooking. After adding the honey and sugar they were much better.
Tapioca Pearls Cooked
Using different types of brewed tea can change the color of your tea. The Thai tea was a bright orange, and the Jasmine was white (after adding the milk). For both types, I needed to strain the leaves with a sieve several times.
Brewed Thai Tea

Recipe: Thai Bubble Tea


  • 1 cup Bubble Tea Tapioca Pearls
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Your choice of Tea (freshly brewed)
  • Sweetened condensed milk (optional)
  • Large Bubble Tea Straws


  1. Boil water. Add tapioca pearls and stir until they float. Continue to boil for 15 minutes (stir occasionally).
  2. Remove from heat and cover.
  3. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Add honey and brown sugar to pearls, stir to form a syrup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. To serve: Add about 1/4 cup pearls to a glass. If desired, stir in sweetened condensed milk into your brewed tea, to taste. Pour the brewed tea over the pearls. Add the straw. Enjoy!

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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6 thoughts on “Thai Bubble Tea

  1. I just bought a package of boba pearls. I noticed the packaging is pretty tight. Do you have to use the entire bag or can you put the rest in a ziploc? How long do you think they last in the ziploc?


  2. Hi Anon,

    Very good question. Interestingly, it doesn’t say anything about expiration date on the package. However, it does say to keep in a cool dry place. So I keep my unused pearls in the original bag, in an airtight container, in the cupboard. I called the customer service today and asked them about the expiration date and the man said, and I quote, “They really don’t have one, Mam, our pearls really last”. So I guess you can use your own judgment. Thanks for reading my blog!


  3. The actual origination of Boba Tea was in Taiwan. And they are every where here in cali.. Oh how I love it so. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Thanks Jaskat! I think the wiki article must have been updated since this post was made. I’m going to have get my facts right 🙂

  5. This is my second time trying to make this and also my second recipe I have read in order to do so. None of the posts I have read tell how long it generally takes for the boba to float. Both times I have tried this it take over a half hour for the dang things to float and then another half hour on top of that until they actually look like any of the pictures. Do you know the approximate time or am I doing something completely wrong?

  6. Oh gosh, Heather, that doesn’t sound right at all. They sometimes float immediately, sometimes it takes a few minutes. What kind of tapioca pearls are you using? The package should have instructions right on it. Usually bubble tea recipes are mostly about how to use the tapioca once its cooked up. I’m not an expert but I do know that doesn’t sound quite right. Are you getting a good boil? Did you use the same package both times?

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