Bubble Tea, Pearl Milk Tea or Boba Milk Tea

Bubble Tea

We had our first bubble teas a few years ago in the China Town in Bangkok as this became very popular soft drink.

This is beverage was created during the latest 1980s in Taiwan and consists of chewy tapioca balls (also called pearls) commonly added to the drink, mostly cold tea.

There are many variants bubble teas (hot and cold!) and many different ingredients may be added. The most popular bubble drinks are bubble milk black tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca; both of them are often fruits-flavored.

Searching in the internet you will find colored pearls, recipes with non-dairy products (as fruit juice, coconut milk, almond milk,…) and also with sugar alternatives this including honey, stevia or aspartame.

For my bubble tea I used “China lychee black tea” as this is what I had had on hand and uncolored tapioca pearls.

Now it’s your turn to try or adapt this recipe to your taste; have fun!

You need (for two serving!)

  • 1/2 cup dried tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
  • 4 cups water (for boiling)
  • 1/2 cup water (for syrup), hot
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for syrup)
  • 2 teaspoon teas (I used lychee flavored black teas, Earl Gray may be good alternative)
  • 1 cup of hot water (for tea)
  • Milk or sweetened condensed milk, to taste


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan and add tapioca pearls.
  2. Boil stirring from time to time (prevent sticking at the bottom) for about 15 minutes; remove the pan from heat, cover, and let soak the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes (or prepare the pearls according package instructions).
  3. In the meantime prepare the syrup mixing hot water and sugar until dissolved and prepare the tea infusing it in hot water. Let cool down and place in the fridge
  4. When the pearls are ready drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Place them in small bowl and cover with the prepared syrup. Best let sit for a few hours. The pearls would keep in the fridge for about 2 days.
  6. Pour the prepared pearls into tea into a glass and add the tea and milk for a creamy/milky bubble tea. Sweeten to taste with the syrup from soaking pearls.

Author: artandkitchen

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6 thoughts on “Bubble Tea, Pearl Milk Tea or Boba Milk Tea”

  1. I really had trouble with the bubble part of this recipe – I tried two different brands of tapioca pearls and they didn’t really hold their shape. It sounds good and I would like to figure out how to make the bubbles since I have 2 bags 🙂 Made for the Culinary Quest.

    1. We had problems the first time as well, I think I did not boil them enough as I did not follow the package instructions. Then I placed them in boiling water again and I added them sugar. I boiled those 10 minutes more than the package instructions until they were ready.
      The second time somebody else put them in cold water… don’t try… they had been dissolved!
      Finally I boiled them according the package instructions and perhaps I added a few minutes, but more. Rinsed them with cold water and placed in the syrup. I found then the day after better. The core was still a little bit hard, but too much, outside chewy. Some (10 %???) lost their shape, but this was not a problem for us.
      I liked them very much and I prepared them again in the same way and it worked.
      Please read the package instructions, if necessary search for an English version in the internet… I can’t read Chinese. What kind of pearls did you get?
      Thanks a lot for trying this recipes, your experiences are precious!

  2. I *finally* made this! My final product was yummy but I’m not sure it’s what t was supposed to be, lol. Tapioca has to be one of the strangest things I’ve ever worked with. I think one could create some kind of vegetarian caviar…but I digress. I boiled the tapioca…I drained the tapioca…WOOPS most fell through the sieve!! carefully rinse the remaining & add to syrup. Umm…can’t get them out of syrup… tea MUST be sweetened with syrup, lol. I used 1/2 & 1/2 vs milk. It was delicious! I used Kenyan black tea. Made for Culinary Quest 2014/CCQ.

    1. Thanks a lot for trying this! It’s a strange beverage and it’s fun! It is true it MUST be sweetened with syrup ans in this way you can keep the bubbles in the fridge without sticking together. A big THANKS!

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