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For sites devoted to bubble tea recipes and supplies, check out:
BubbleTea Supply for recipes and supplies.
Bubble Tea is a colorful blend of sweetened tea or juice with sweetened cooked tapioca pearls or coconut jelly and often a creamy addition or flavoring syrup or powder, shaken until well mixed. Bubble tea was originally named for the frothy bubbles that form when it is correctly mixed. Another, older name for this drink, which first became popular in Taiwan, is "Pearl Tea". Nowadays, people often refer to the tapioca pearls as the bubbles, but authentic bubble tea is also made with diced coconut jelly.
Usually served with a huge straw big enough to suck up the tapioca pearls, this refreshing drink can be offered hot or cold. Substituting soy milk, milk, cream or half and half, or sweetened condensed milk instead of non dairy creamer varies the texture. You can use tea, juice or water for your base. Each cup of liquid usually has 2-3 tablespoons of tapioca added. Variations include blending your drink with ice or frozen fruit before adding the tapioca to make a bubble shake or smoothie. The sweetener may be a commercial syrup or powder or your homemade syrup made with white or brown sugar or fructose.
1 cup large black or white tapioca pearls
8 cups water
Some notes from further experiments:
Start by soaking the pearls. Mix tapioca pearls and one tablespoon sugar with boiling water in a large bowl. Stir quickly to separate pearls and to dissolve sugar. Let stand at least two hours check texture and let stand up to 30 minutes more. Check if pearls are squishy on the outside and pasty in the center. Do not soak any longer; the cooked pearls will get too mushy.
Drain the soaked pearls. Keep the water that they were soaked in and add remaining sugar to the water you have saved. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add in soaked pearls and IMMEDIATELY lower heat to medium. Simmer for a few minutes till the centers of the tapioca balls become rather clear. Check for doneness by sampling the balls every so often. When done, cooked tapioca pearls are a bit chewy inside and gooey soft outside.
Drain the cooked pearls and pour cold water over them to stop them from cooking. Refrigerate cooked pearls and use by the next day. Some people store the pearls in water or syrup, but I prefer to just cook them till tender, drain them and store in a plastic zipper bag or container without the water. At this point, you can freeze them in a single layer in a freezer baggy. Thaw overnight to use.
If they get a bit sticky, gently separate them before using by pouring lukewarm water over the pearls and then draining them.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
1 gallon water
4 ounces by weight black or green jasmine tea OR The base can also be made with green tea, oolong tea, chai spice tea blend, Thai tea blend, yerba mate, or redbush/rooiboos, or even COFFEE.
3/4 cup strong tea base
2 tablespoons creamy ingredient (condensed milk, evaporated milk, soy or almond milk, etc)
1 tablespoon bubble tea sugar syrup
1 cup ice
3 to 4 tablespoons cooked Bubble Tea Tapioca Pearls
1 cup fresh fruit
OR 1/2 cup fruit and 1 scoop commercial bubble tea flavor powder
1/2 cup milk
OR 1/2 cup tea or water PLUS 2 tablespoons creamy ingredient
1 tablespoon bubble tea sugar syrup
1 cup crushed ice
3 to 4 tablespoons cooked tapioca pearls
Coconut jelly is a commercial product made from coconut milk and meat. Just dice and substitute for the tapioca pearls on the bottom of the drink.