You may know I like to experiment in the kitchen. It’s fun to make things for the first time. Most recently, I made that stunning crepe cake for my dad’s birthday (check that out here). That turned out so well, I wanted to see what else I could make.
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten really into bubble tea. I don’t go for all the fancy fruity options, I mostly have the simple and delicious pearl milk tea. It’s sweetened black tea, milk and chewy tapioca pearls. I’ve wanted to make it for a while and now I finally did it!
The only component that I knew would be a little tricky to make was the tapioca pearls. I’ve never worked with tapioca flour/starch (they’re interchangeable in this case), so I wasn’t sure how it would work.
The main recipe I used for the tapioca pearls was from a website called Foxy Folksy (link here). I had the right proportion of tapioca flour and water and I properly incorporated the food dye (traditional is black but I used purple), but for some reason, my dough was not coming together. It was just too crumbly so I had to add an extra tablespoon of water for it to get right. After lots of kneading, it eventually worked out and I was able to form dough ropes and cut into pieces. The dough was still being a little finnicky though – rolling the pieces into little balls wasn’t going well – so I decided to leave them as squares. It was a little untraditional but that’s what I’m all about! They cooked up pretty nicely though, they just need to be boiled and then placed in water or sugar syrup to keep them from sticking together.
For the rest of the components/assemble the tea, I followed a recipe from a blog called Healthy Nibbles (link here). The other ingredients were easy to prepare, here is a little summary:
- tea: steeped orange pekoe tea in water (ratio of 2 bags:1 cup water). This gives a strong tea concentrate
- sugar syrup: equal parts sugar dissolved in water. I actually did this in the microwave, you can use as little or as much as you like in your bubble tea
- milk: plain old milk. This gives a little creaminess and helps to mellow out the tea
- ice: just to chill things down
So once everything is ready, the drink can be assembled. I guess the order of putting things into the cup isn’t too important. You can also change up the ratio of ingredients to give make it stronger, weaker or sweeter. For mine, I used the exact ratios from the recipe that I linked above.
This turned out to be a pretty good cup of bubble tea. The sweetened milk tea was delicious and exactly how I like it. Now, the tapioca pearls were sort of another story. They were chewy but different chewy than they should be, not sure how to describe it. This may have just been an issue with the cooking time?
I will say, for a first time, I’m relatively happy with the results. Is it worth the effort to make your own tapioca though? I’m not certain. It was at least a fun afternoon activity.