This post shares a simple recipe for Boba or Bubble Tea. It also answers questions like what are the other names for Boba? And What is a Bubble Tea?
I am excited to partner with Florida Milk on this post. As always opinions are 100% my own.
If you are like me you may be confused about what is Bubble Tea?
I was so excited to share this recipe because it includes milk and you know how much our family loves milk. Check out some of our other favorite dairy recipes.
Other Popular Names or Titles for Bubble Tea
Bubble tea became is becoming more and more popular. A tea shop just opened in our town that is all about Bubble tea so I wanted to learn more about it.
This is a list of different names for the same drink.
- Bubble Tea
- Tapioca Tea
- Pearl Milk Tea
- Pearl Tea
- Milk Tea
With so many names for the same drink It can get confusing. It is best to not over think it.
What is boba?
Generally when people say boba they are normally talking about the tapioca pearls that are used to make the bubble tea. As the drink has gotten more popular people have started to call bubble tea just boba. It used to be that you had to go to a speciality store to find tapioca pearls. Now you can find them online.
What is bubble tea?
According to Wikipedia bubble tea is also known as pearl milk tea, bubble milk tea, tapioca milk tea, or boba tea or boba; Chinese: 珍珠奶茶; pinyin: zhēnzhū nǎichá, 波霸奶茶; bōbà nǎichá; 泡泡茶; pàopào chá) is a tea-based drink that originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. It most commonly consists of tea accompanied by chewy tapioca balls ("boba" or "pearls"), but it can be made with other toppings as well.
The word "bubble" is used to describe the tapioca or pearls in your drinks.
Bubble tea has many varieties and flavors, but the two most popular varieties are black pearl milk tea and green pearl milk tea ("pearl" signifies the tapioca balls at the bottom).
The 5 Most Common Types of Boba
There are different typ of Boba. Here are the most common types.
1. Black Boba
Black Boba is used in coffee, milk, tea and even milkshakes. The black boba is found in mostly milk-based bubble tea. It is one of the standard boba pearls. They are made from the cassava root. The black coloring is created by added brown sugar or caramel coloring. In other words, black boba is simply tapioca with added coloring that makes it sweeter. The first taste of black boba can be a surprise. The texture is chewy and bouncy, with an almost licorice flavor to it.
2. Clear Boba
Clear boba is straight starch from the cassava root without the extra flavoring of a black boba. Therefore clear boba is relatively tasteless on its own. They are commonly found in milk teas. The tapioca pearls absorb the milk and flavor of the tea, thus becoming one with the flavor of your tea. If you order a chai bubble tea, the black or clear boba pearls will taste like chai too.
3. Flavored Tapioca Boba or Jelly Pearls
Flavored Tapioca boba is boba pearls that are cooked in or coated with a flavored syrup. The cool part of these is that because the boba absorbs the flavor you can find them in lots of different flavors. That includes: mango and strawberry, coconut and even aloe. Some stores call these jelly pearls. You find these in smoothies and classic brewed teas (black or green tea). My daughter loves these on her ice cream.
4. Popping Boba or Juice Balls
Popping Boba is just like the name says they are infused with a flavor surprise. They are also called juice balls. They are made with flavored fruit juices mixed with powdered sodium alginate. When you bite into one they burst with real fruit juice. They are used in smoothies and iced teas.
5. Mini Boba
Mini boba is just like the name says it is a smaller version of black, clear, or flavored boba. People use mini boba because they cook faster. And they are easier to chew.
Bubble Tea or Signature Milk Tea Ingredients Include
- Black Tea
- Black Boba
What type of Milk Should you Use
I like to use whole milk. The rich flavor makes the tea taste really good. You can also make it with skim milk, 1%, 2%, heavy cream or half and half.
What type of Sweetener Should you You
Bubble tea works well with any kind of sweetener. I like to use honey, but you can use white sugar. I would start with a tablespoon of honey for every cup of tea. Then you can add more sweetness as you need it. You can also make a simple syrup. To make it add a ½ cup of water with a ½ cup of sweeteners. Cook until the sugar has dissolved.
Can you make this bubble tea recipe ahead?
You can make the black tea a day or two before and store it in the refrigerator. I would recommend cooking the tapioca pearls when you are ready to enjoy the tea so that the pearls do not harden.
Video How to Make Bubble Tea
How to Make Bubble Tea or Signature Milk Tea
The first step is to make some black tea. I like to steep my tea for about 10 minutes. If you like it stronger you can steep it for longer.
Cook the tapioca pearls: Bring about a cup of water to boil and add the tapioca pearls. Stir the pearls and wait for them to float to the top. Then, cook them for another 5 minutes. Test a pearl to see if it has reached the desired level of softness. Cook the pearls for another few minutes if they are still stiff. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pearls from the hot water. Quickly rinse the pearls with water. Transfer the pearls into a bowl, and mix the pearls with a few tablespoons of sugar or simple syrup (to taste).
If you want to enjoy it cold, pour the tea over ice.
Then add in your milk, sweetener and enjoy!
Tips for Bubble Tea
Use boiling hot water to make the tea. This will bring out the flavor of the tea.
I recommend pouring the tea over ice and not adding the ice straight to the tea. Then shake the tea in ice to make the drink cooler. Or you can put it into the fridge so you can enjoy it anytime you want.
The drink is usually served with large boba straws (large enough for the tapioca pearls to go through). If you don’t have the straws on hand, you can use spoons to scoop out the tapioca pearls.
You can drink your tea hot too.
Only cook as many of the tapioca pearls as you need. The pearls stiffen as they cool. If you do have extra it is best to leave them in their cooking water. When you do this the pearls retain their soft texture for a longer time.
- 8 bags of black tea
- 4 cups hot water
- ¾ cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls
- whole milk to serve or your choice of milk
- choice of sweetener
Prepare the tea
- Steep the all the tea bags in 4 cups of boiled water. Let the tea completely come to room temperature.
Cook the tapioca pearls
- Bring about 4 cups of water to boil and add the tapioca pearls. Stir the pearls. Once they start to float cook them for another 5 minutes. Much like pasta you should test the texture of the pearls. You want to keep cooking them until they are softened. Then quickly rinse the pearls with water. Put them into a bowl, and mix the pearls.
Assemble the drinks
- Place the cooked tapioca pearls into 4 large glasses. Next, add a few ice cubes to each glass. Pour 1 cup of the tea into each glass. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of milk and your sweetener. Stir and taste the milk tea. Add more milk or sweetener to your taste.
- The drink is usually served with large boba straws (large enough for the tapioca pearls to go through). If you don’t have the straws on hand, you can use spoons to scoop out the tapioca pearls.