Bubble Tea – Dessert Days #6

Quick edit: fixed the weird crowding in the first few paragraphs. WordPress editing is not mobile-friendly.

*This recipe is by no means “authentic.” It’s just how I like to make it.

Today is my birthday! But since this weekend was busy busy, we celebrated last weekend (long weekend for us here in Canada) with bubble bubble bubble tea~ Maybe I’m just getting older, but it’s gotten to a point where physical presents just aren’t satisfying anymore. I would rather have big experiences, and take home a small token to remember it by. And well, since we celebrated me birthday a week early, as promised there is a special guest! From all the way in Penguin-ton, heeeeeeeere’s….. Shoony!

Shoony is on the left.

Shoony is on the left.

Okay, you’re sitting down for this next part, right?


Hey, I see you standing!

Sit down somewhere, you’re holding up traffic!

Okay, good.

…Shoony has never had bubble tea before.

*wind blows the tumbleweed*

Here in Toronto, bubble tea is fairly easy to find. Most shopping malls around here have some kind of bubble tea/smoothie shop. A shop opened up near my school, and I went with Flash and Green Lantern after they had a big presentation. The shop also sells samosas. So really, it’s a matter of knowing which places sell bubble tea, since not every shop is “bubble tea only.” And no matter where you go, it always runs expensive. (Up to $5 for a small) For a few dollars more, you can swing by your local Asian supermarket, buy some instant tapioca pearls and flavour packets, and make many bubble teas the way YOU like!


Store Bought vs. Home Made

For those who have spent the past few years under a rock without internet, bubble tea is a popular drink originating from Asia. I’m not sure which country exactly, nor am I sure of the “true” recipe. But around here, bubble tea is distinguished by the big tapioca pearls (bubbles) settled at the bottom. The drink itself is made with coffee, tea, or simply flavored milk. The first time I made bubble tea, it was literally just cold hot chocolate with tapioca! Now that we’re moving into summer, this is the perfect treat. It’s also fun to make with friends! Instead of coffee dates, why not make it a bubble tea date?

You will need:

tapioca pearls

coffee, tea, or flavour powder of your choice




a jar, or any container with a tight lid

clear glass(es)

fat straws

IMG_20150524_142340754First, prepare your pearls. You can buy these at any Asian supermarket. (Look in the tea aisle) It doesn’t matter if you get the original black or coloured, because they taste the same. I recommend getting pearls that say “Ready in 5 minutes,” so that if you ever get a hankering, you don’t have to wait too long.

The standard ratio of pearls to water is 1:10. So for every 1 cup of pearls, boil 10 cups of water. Use your personal preferences when deciding how many pearls to make. There were only two of us and I wasn’t sure if Shoony would like them, so I only used 1/4 cup of pearls. (1/4) * 10 = 2 1/2 cups of water. Really, I just winged it boiling a small pot of water and dunking in the pearls.

If you’ve ever cooked gnocchi, this process should sound familiar. Bring the water to a boil, and then add your pearls. Stir gently for a few seconds to keep them from sticking together, and then let them simmer until they float to the top. (Timing will vary according to package directions) Scoop them out, (be careful not to overcook) and plop them into a bowl of syrup to let them cool, and to give them a bit of flavour. I used honey today, but we used a basic sugar + water syrup for Shoonie. She had a little too much fun mixin’, and a mixin’, and a mixin’…


Soak the pearls in the syrup for at least 15 minutes. We ate lunch at this point. By the time we came back, uh oh… they were kinda stuck together. >_<; No worries, it was nothing a light stir couldn’t handle. If stirring doesn’t help, microwave the pearls in 5 second bursts, or until they are separated again. Also, make sure there is enough syrup to cover all of the pearls.

Today, the pearls are soaking in honey.

Today, the pearls are soaking in honey.

Meanwhile, make your tea. This was Shoonie’s first bubble tea ever, so we kept things simple with green apple flavoured milk. For a single serving I usually use 1 cup milk + 2 teaspoons powder. (Don’t forget to account for the tapioca and foam) Today I’m making cold coffee with milk. If you brewed hot, let your tea chill in the fridge. Bubble tea is best served nice and cold. coffee

Did you know bubble tea is named for the bubbles (foam) on top? Most people think it’s because the tapioca look like bubbles. That’s why this recipe isn’t just bubble tea, it’s bubble bubble bubble tea! Get it, bubbles on top? Bubbles on the bottom? And you get all bubbly from drinking it? I used the word “bubble” 3 times!

*cheep… cheep… cheep…*

To get that nice, bubbly topping, we need to shake, shake, shake! Most instant bubble tea powders only require stirring, but what fun is that? Pour your tea ingredients directly into a shaker, and go to town!


Now it’s time to serve. Scoop out as many tapioca pearls as you want, and put them in a glass. (I recommend clear glasses) Then give your tea another quick shake, and pour it into the glass as well. Stick a fat straw inside, and enjoy!

Shoony likes her first bubble tea.

*If you can’t find fat straws, you can just drink the tea normally and use a spoon to scoop the pearls. Personally, it just doesn’t feel the same without a fat straw.

Verdict: Shoonie loved the bubble tea. :3 The tapioca pearls feel like gummi candies. Think I undercooked some of the pearls… nonetheless, they turned out tasty enough. To really make this a refreshing summer beverage, add crushed ice. Cubed is fine, too.

The beauty of bubble tea is that you can make it however you like. Maybe you like coffee, maybe you like tea, or maybe you just want a sweet treat. I’d like to think there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to enjoy bubble tea. Today, I made milk coffee bubble tea as a present to myself:


And of course, don’t forget to pair with Shoony’s homemade bunny bite donuts.


Nom nom nom *pom pom falls* BUNNY!!!!! DX

Anime North update: I went to Anime North yesterday, in my derpy Katara cosplay! Was too burned out to go back today. Didn’t buy anything except a candy kit for Shoony. *sigh* Such is life as a crafter: you see cute plushies and think, “I could make that myself…” Will blog about AN next weekend on the regular day, Saturday.

How do you like your bubble tea? Have you tried making it at home? What snacks do you like to eat for tea? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~


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