Homemade Bubble Tea (Boba Tea)

5 from 8 reviews

How to make a classic Taiwanese-style Bubble Tea (Boba Tea) at home from scratch! Try this easy and delicious bubble tea recipe with step-by-step photos.


For the Tea

For the Tapioca Pearls or Boba

For the Simple Syrup

For the Bubble Tea


To make the tea

  1. Steep the tea bags in 1 litre (4 cups) of boiling water for about 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. I like to do this in a large measuring jug.
  2. Let the tea cool completely.
  3. Alternatively, use your favourite fruit-flavoured iced tea.

To cook the tapioca pearls

  1. Bring the water to the boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Add the dried tapioca pearls.
  3. Cook the tapioca pearls on medium heat (gentle simmer) for 30 minutes. Stir frequently during this time to separate the pearls and make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Take the pan off the heat.
  5. Leave the tapioca pearls in the pan for a further 30 minutes.
  6. During this time, make the simple syrup.

To make the simple syrup

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Set aside to cool at room temperature.

To sweeten the tapioca pearls

  1. Drain the tapioca pearls using a large colander.
  2. Place the tapioca pearls into a large bowl.
  3. Pour the simple syrup over the tapioca pearls until they are just covered.
  4. Give everything a gentle mix.
  5. Set aside for about 15 minutes, or until the tapioca pearls have cooled to room temperature.
  6. Once cooled, the tapioca pearls are ready to use. They are best eaten within a few hours of cooking.

To assemble the Bubble Tea (Boba Tea)

  1. Use a small slotted spoon to place 2-3 tablespoons of tapioca pearls into a tall glass.
  2. Pour the tea into the glass.
  3. Add milk to taste.
  4. Add some simple syrup (from the tapioca pearls) to taste.
  5. Add ice, if using. 
  6. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Notes

* Bubble tea is traditionally made with a strong black tea with a distinct tannin flavour. My preference is Jasmine tea or Chinese breakfast tea, but you can also use Ceylon or Assam (or an equal blend of both). English breakfast tea is also a good option.
* For a fruit tea version, simply use a ready-made fruit-flavoured iced tea.

Tapioca pearls are best served on the same day they are made, and generally within a few hours. As they cool, they will harden. So if you place them in the fridge, the pearls will harden very quickly. I recommend keeping the cooked tapioca pearls in the sugar syrup at room temperature for up to 4-5 hours.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.