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Decaffeinated tea and Bubble tea intro

For a comprehensive Bubble Tea recipe, skip over to my Bubble Tea How To.

Decaffeinate tea by brewing method

There are some brands of decaffeinated tea on the market, but their quality is rarely very high. It is very difficult (perhaps impossible) to remove caffeine from dried tea without degrading its quality.

On the other hand, it is possible to brew ordinary tea and remove most (not all) of the caffeine from the finished product. Caffeine is very water-soluble, more so than many of the flavor components in tea. So a very brief infusion can remove much of the caffeine while preserving flavor.

Here's how to do it: boil enough water for twice as many cups as you intend to drink. Pour the normal amount of water over the leaves, then infuse for twenty to thirty seconds. Pour off the resulting brew and discard, keeping the leaves.

Bring the water to a boil again and pour it over the same leaves, this time infusing for the normal three to five minutes. This infusion is the one to drink.

Incidentally, this method can also be reversed and used to prepare a highly caffeinated drink without many of the sedative components ordinarily found in the cup. In this case, you drink the results of the twenty- to thirty-second infusion. This is a spurce of concentrated caffeine. This method does not extract much flavor, that will be in the second extraction.


Originating from Taiwan about 15 years ago, Bubble tea/ Boba Tea/ Tapioca Pearl drink is a delightful refreshment consisting of hot or chilled brewed tea, optional fruit and dairy flavors, and a spoonful of large tapioca balls. Bubble tea is known by many names such as pearl tea drink, boba ice tea, boba nai cha, zhen zhou nai cha, pearl milk tea, pearl ice tea, black pearl tea, pearl shake, BBT, PT, and QQ.

The unique ingredient of bubble tea or boba is the tapioca pearls. About the size of small marbles, these extra large tapioca have a consistency like gummy candy once cooked. Soaked overnight, then simmered until tender in water or tea, they are refrigerated in cold water until added to the mixed tea. Special jumbo sized straws about 1 centimeter in diameter are used to sip these jumbo pearls along with the iced or warm tea or fruit drink.

To prepare the pearls, most makers soak them in six to eight times their volume of water, simmer for about 25 minutes until just tender through, then letting soak in the cooking water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse, and store in sugar syrup to cover in the refrigerator. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per drink.

Chilled green tea with tangerine juice and pearls, black tea with apricot syrup and pearls, hot jasmine tea with vanilla and pearls, the combinations are delicious. A modern variant uses rooibush or another herbal tea, or a fruit nectar, as a caffeine-free base. You can even make a "bubble shake" by frappeing the drink with ice in a blender. Some folks add soymilk, dairy milk or cream, or sweetened condensed milk to their bubble tea.