Learning to Make Bubble Tea

I've recently acquired a new addiction...bubble tea.

I first discovered it at Escape, then Fat Straws. And, I have to say, Starbucks has nothing on this...

At almost $4 a pop, I realized fairly quickly I was going to have to learn to make this at home. So, John and I went to the asian market on Saturday and purchased supplies. Since all of the directions are in Chinese(?)I've had to wing this. Here's what I learned.

1) Purchase the "bubbles" (tapioca pearls). The ones I bought are done in 5 minutes. I think the regular ones take 20. (There is a slight difference in taste to the ones at the bubble tea shops, so maybe it is like instant oatmeal and oatmeal.) Basically, you boil them in 10 cups of water--think stock pot.

2) Make Bubble Tea syrup. This was the part I left out when it came to the first batch which I threw out. Boil 2 cups water and add 1 c white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to boil stirring constantly, then remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.

3) Drain the bubbles and mix with the bubble syrup. You can store this mixture in the refrigerator for up to a week.

4) Make iced tea or juice. This part is easy and you have a wide variety of options. I made Celestial Seasoning's blueberry tea then poured over ice, but you can use green or black tea, then mix in either the bubble tea syrup to sweeten or mix with a flavored syrup that you pick up at the Asian store like mango, plum or lychee. (If using an herbal tea that is a bit sweet on its own like the Celestial Seasonings blueberry or the White Goji Blossom I purchased at Fat Straws, you won't need additional syrup.) You can alternately skip the tea and go with juice mixed in a blender with ice. (It is still called "bubble tea.")

5) Add the bubbles. Once the tea is over ice, add the bubbles. (I did a ladle full.)

You will also need to pick up a package of fat straws made specifically for bubble tea. The effect is great. Mildly sweet ice tea with bubbles that slide up the straw that you chew. (Yes, I know it sounds odd, but once you try it....mmmmm....)
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall