How to Make Bubble Tea at Home

How to Make Bubble Tea

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Do you like a cold, refreshing milky drink for a treat, but iced coffee doesn't always agree with you?

Do you want to avoid overly sweetened takeaway drinks?

You just might enjoy making homemade!


What is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is a deliciously sweet milky tea-based drink served with chewy tapioca balls (otherwise known as boba), and ice.

It originated in Taiwan in the 1980s but interestingly, has only really taken off in the last 12 months.

There are many variations on the original bubble tea recipe, including fruity flavours such as lychee, mango, strawberry, or even taro, caramel, rose, and sesame.

The only limit is your imagination!


How to Make Bubble Tea at Home

It now feels like there is a bubble tea shop on every street corner!

If you've tried bubble tea but found it is too sweet, or the single-use plastic cups make you die on the inside, or you just haven't been willing to fork out $8 a pop, it may be time for you to make bubble milk tea at home.

All you need is tea, milk, a sweetener, tapioca pearls, and ice.

Here are some simple tips on how to make bubble milk tea at home.


What Kind of Tea Do You Use?

It's best to use a strong black tea, such as Tielka Breakfast. This tea is rich, creamy, certified organic, and it has won multiple awards since 2018. It's perfectly delicious for bubble tea!

You can use other types of tea, such as green tea, oolong tea, or white tea, however, the addition of milk and sugar tend to drown out the flavours of these more delicate tea varieties.


What Kind of Milk Can You Use?

This always comes down to taste.

You can use any milk of choice in bubble tea - whatever milk you usually enjoy, is what will taste best for you in your bubble tea!

You can use whole milk, heavy cream, or non-dairy milk such as almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or rice milk. You can even use condensed milk!


What Kind of Sweetener Do You Use?

There are two things to consider when adding a sweetener. 

1. Your taste preference!

You may prefer the flavour of honey, brown sugar, or even maple syrup.

2. How it dissolves in water. 

Brown sugar, granulated sugar, and honey only dissolve well in hot water. If you prefer honey or brown sugar, you will need to dissolve this in your tea when it is still hot. 

If you prefer to add your sweetener after it is brewed, you may wish to make a simple syrup ahead of time.


How to Make a Simple Syrup

To make a simple syrup, dissolve 1/2 cup of brown sugar in 1/2 cup hot water. Add simple syrup to tea according to taste. A brown sugar syrup is delicious in pearl milk tea!


What Kind of Tapioca Pearls Do You Use?

Black tapioca pearls are best for bubble tea.

The most convenient to use are fast-cooking tapioca pearls that are specifically designed for bubble tea. They usually take around 6 minutes to prepare.

TIP: When your tapioca pearls are cooked, use a slotted spoon to take the pearls you need for your tea. Keep the rest in their cooking water and store it in the fridge in an airtight container. This will keep the pearls soft and chewy for next time. Chewy tapioca pearls are best for bubble milk tea!


Where Can You Buy Black Tapioca Pearls?

You can buy black tapioca pearls from most supermarkets, Asian stores, or even on Amazon.


How to Make Bubble Tea at Home

You've been waiting for this moment! 

Here are instructions to make a nice cup of bubble tea. Enjoy!


Bubble Tea Recipe

Makes 4 servings

You Need:

  • 4 glasses
  • 5 Tielka Breakfast tea bags or 3 tbsp loose leaf Tielka Breakfast Black Tea
  • 1 cup water (boiling water)
  • 3 cups water (cool water)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls
  • Your choice of sweetener, e.g. a simple syrup made of brown sugar (1-2tbsp per serving)
  • Your choice of milk (1/4 cup per serving)
  • Ice cubes


  1. Prepare the tapioca pearls: Bring four cups of water to boiling point and add tapioca pearls. Boil for six minutes and test for softness. Remove the tapioca pearls from the water, rinse well, and add a little sweetener.
  2. Prepare tea: Brew tea leaves or tea bags in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. If you are using honey or brown sugar as a sweetener, add it to your brew so it has time to dissolve. Remove tea leaves or tea bags from brewed tea and add cold water.
  3. Assemble bubble tea: Add ice cubes to four glasses. A tall glass is best! Pour one cup of prepared tea into each glass. Distribute cooked tapioca pearls evenly in each glass. Add sweetener (if you haven't already) and top up with milk according to taste.
  4. Serve with a wide straw and enjoy!


Originally published 27/01/2023, 11:35 am AEST