…you already know everything there is to know about bubble tea and have tried every available flavour.
For those who, on reading this, have asked themselves, ‘What on earth is bubble tea?’, let me enlighten you.
Bubble tea is exactly what the name suggests. It’s made from green tea, either served hot or cold, mixed with fresh fruit juices, sugar or just milk. So far, so good. The bubble part comes from a handful of chewy tapioca balls, which have been added to the tea and which settle at the bottom of the cup like bubbles. Sometimes retailers also offer different flavoured toppings. The whole concoction, usually sold for under £3, is drunk from a plastic cup and the tapioca balls can be sucked or scooped up with a big straw with a scoop at the end.
Strange, isn’t it? You won’t be surprised to hear that bubble tea originates from Tawain and is also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea. It’s hugely popular over there. Slowly it has crept into British culture and has gained a broad fan base, with celebrity fans including the likes of Jameela Jamil, Razorlight, The Feeling and Poppy Delevigne.
At first only pop-up cafes in London offered the refreshing drink, but it quickly established itself firmly on the nation’s café menus.
If you want to try out making your own bubble tea here is a recipe courtesy of The Kitchn.com.
How to Make Boba and Bubble Tea
1/4 cup dried boba tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba);1-2 tea bags per serving, any kind;1/2 cup water;1/2 cup sugar;milk, almond milk, or sweetened condensed milk;fruit juice or nectar (optional)
1. Cook the Boba: Measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba being prepared into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.
Turn the heat to medium and cook the boba for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.
2. Prepare Sugar Syrup for the Boba: While the boba are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare a Strong Cup of Tea: This can be done either while the boba are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the boba. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag. Use one tea bag for regular-strength bubble tea or two for a stronger tea flavor. Remove the tea bag after 15 minutes and chill the tea.
4. Finish the Boba: Once the boba have finished cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl or container. Pour the sugar syrup over top until the boba are submerged. Let sit until the boba are room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.
5. Make the Bubble Tea: Pour the prepared tea into a tall glass and add the boba. Add milk for a creamy bubble tea, juice for a fruity tea, or leave plain and add a little extra water. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup from soaking the boba.