How to Make Your Own Bubble Tea

What Is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is a popular Asian beverage consists of a tea base, sweetener, milk, and add-ons such as tapioca pearls, pudding, grass jelly, and boba. There’s a difference between tapioca pearls and boba, however. The first (as its name implies) is the size of pearls, while the second is larger, usually the size of marbles.

Other add-ons include popping bobas, made from mixing flavored fruit juices with sodium alginate and calcium chloride. The fusion of all three results in the formation of spherical gel-like balls. Longan (a tropical fruit), tapioca noodles, taro balls, and black boba are also popular with many tea enthusiasts.

Bubble tea is known as pearl milk tea in Taiwan, its original birthplace. According to tea enthusiasts, the first bubble tea was created at the Chun Shui Tang teahouse in Xinyi District, Taipei. Its founder, Liu Hanjie, is said to have invented the drink.

The original bubble tea was rumored to have contained blended rice, milk, and black lemon tea. Today, the many Chun Shui Tang teahouses around Taiwan serve upwards of 60 incarnations of bubble tea, including the classic pearl milk tea (with or without honey red bean paste). The latter contains Assam black tea, milk, fat-free creamer, and chewy tapioca pearls.

Fans of Chun Shui Tang frequent the teahouse as much for its delicious bubble teas as its noodles, turnip cakes, and shumai dumplings.

What Kind Of Tea To Use In Bubble Tea?

Most bubble teas are made with either black tea, oolong tea, green tea or matcha. Black teas are by far the most popular tea used. Favorites include Ceylon, Assam, Earl Grey, or a black tea blend. If caffeine is a concern, try asking for a green or white tea. For those who prefer a creamier, full-bodied flavor, black or oolong tea is a better bet.

Prep Time and Ingredients In Bubble Tea

The standard prep and cook time is 10-15 minutes, especially if you’ve already prepared the tea. If you haven’t, the entire process may take an hour.


  • Instant boba or black minute pearls from Boba Tea Direct
  • Black, green, oolong, or white tea
  • Milk, heavy cream, creamer, coconut milk, or vegan milk
  • Sweeteners, such as sugar, syrup, agave nectar, or honey
  • Ice (as needed)

Tips On Making And Serving Bubble Tea

Use Instant Boba For An Easier Process

At Boba Tea Direct, we recommend using our instant boba or black minute pearls. This is because traditional boba generally takes about an hour to prepare (30 minutes of cooking time and another 30 minutes of simmering). In addition, a cooling period is needed. Instant boba, on the other hand, takes only about 5-10 minutes to prepare and can be used almost immediately.

Always Make The Tea First

Remember that the tea should steep for at least 15-20 minutes. The tea should be strong because it is the base of the beverage. You can also tear the tea bags open to get a stronger brew.

Handle Your Boba With Care To Get Chewier Boba

Make sure the water is boiling before adding the pearls. You’ll also want to stir the pearls, as this prevents them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. After cooking, let the pearls sit for about 2 minutes or so to get chewier boba. Remember to drain the boba with a sieve and rinse them under very cold water. Once the boba is drained, steep them in syrup, which will further prevent them from sticking together.

Immerse Your Guests In The Experience By Serving Add-Ons On The Side

For a get-together, include extra cream, sugar, and add-ons on the side. Boba Tea Direct offers an assortment of popping bobas, bubble jellies, and bubble tea jams for this purpose. We also carry bubble tea syrups, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, lychee, mango, strawberry, and winter melon. So, basically, the sky’s the limit, where bubble tea is concerned. Have your guests create their own versions of bubble tea and remember to provide them with Boba Direct’s wide bubble straws for a sensational experience!