How to Make Boba Milk Tea

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Boba milk tea, also known as bubble tea or pearl tea, is a novelty beverage created in Taiwan in the early 1980s. It was traditionally popular among Taiwanese school children, but over time has become a trendy refreshment across the globe, particularly in the United States. Tapioca pearls create the famous "bubbles" in boba milk tea, which are black in color and chewy in texture. This recipe yields approximately six servings of boba milk tea.

Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan
  • ¾ cup tapioca pearls
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Tea kettle (optional)
  • Large pitcher
  • 6 teabags
  • 1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk
  • Tall drinking glasses
  • Fill a medium-size saucepan with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the tapioca pearls, or bubbles, and allow them to boil for 45 minutes. Remove pan from the heat, cover and allow the tapioca to steam for about 10 more minutes.

  • Strain the tapioca pearls by pouring the contents of the pan into a fine-mesh strainer. Run cold water over the top of the pearls to chill, and then return to the pan. Add the granulated sugar, stir the mixture and set aside while you prepare the tea.

  • Bring 4½ cups of water to a boil in a large tea kettle or saucepan. Transfer the boiling water to a large pitcher or other container suitable for brewing, then add the teabags. Allow the mixture to stand for at least 10 minutes.

  • Remove the tea bags from the liquid and transfer the freshly-brewed tea to a blender. Add about 2 cups of ice and the condensed milk. Blend the boba milk tea mixture on high speed for two to three minutes, and then transfer into tall drinking glasses.

  • Add approximately 2 tbsp. of bubbles to each serving of boba milk tea. Add more or less depending on individual tastes. Traditionally, the bottom inch of the glass should be covered with the tapioca pearls. Serve immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tapioca pearls can be found at Asian food markets and some well-stocked supermarkets and health food stores. Brown sugar, honey or sugar substitute may be used in place of the granulated sugar to sweeten the tapioca pearls, if desired. Black tea bags are most commonly used to make boba milk tea, but you may use any type you have on hand. Jasmine and green tea bags are also popular for making bubble tea.

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