What time is it? It seems as though I’ve neglected my A to Z Brain Dump category for far too long and so here I introduce you to my topic for letter B, BUBBLE TEA.
“What is Bubble Tea, Haley?”
“How do you make Bubble Tea?”
“Bubble Tea is gross.”
Well, I’ll answer two of those questions. The third one is a comment. A very wrong comment. Either way, these are all things that I have heard or been asked when Bubble Tea surfaces to be a topic of conversation. Hopefully I can knock out some quick answers for you guys and then you can love Bubble Tea just as much as I do.
First, I do not believe that anyone can truly dislike Bubble Tea. It may not be their favorite, but they cannot completely dislike it. A big factor in how much someone likes Bubble Tea is dependent on if they have had a good Bubble Tea in the past. Many just aren’t up to par, the bubbles are too hard, the powder isn’t dissolved, etc. If you find a good place with plenty of bubble and flavor options who take their time to make sure everything is the right consistency, you can’t go wrong. However, I realize that some people can get over the texture thing. That’s okay, I guess.
Side note: For all of you Chicagoans, Jo Yee Noodles has the best bubble tea that I’ve found so far. THE BEST.
Okay, so some quick facts about Bubble Tea to get started:
1. Bubble Tea is said to have been invented in 1988 in a tea house in Taiwan when an employee poured her tapioca dessert into her iced tea.
2. There is a misconception that the word “bubble” refers to the tapioca pearls in the bottom, when it actually refers to the bubbles in the foam at the top.
3. Boba should be about the consistency of a gummy bear, maybe a little softer depending on your taste. If you feel like you are eating a peanut, it isn’t cooked, if it’s similar to Jello, someone just got lazy and never stopped cooking your Boba.
4. There are so many tea flavors. Just a few include: Peach, Mango, Watermelon, Taro, Lychee, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Avocado, Strawberry, Almond, and Ginger.
5. It takes longer than you think to make properly, but if you make it at home you can get it just right, so it’s completely worth it.
Have I caught your attention yet?
If you want to cook your own tapioca bubbles, there’s one thing you should focus on in order to make sure they turn out right. They type of tapioca you get is just as if not more important than how you cook them. I always get mine from Nuts.com.
Here’s the best recipe for cooking your own bubbles, it’s the best I’ve found and it’s from EatDrinkOneWoman!
tea or shake of choice
A big pot with a lid
A wooden spoon
big bubble tea straws
1. Make a simple syrup by heating 1 part brown sugar, 1 part white sugar, and 2 parts water until dissolved. Set aside. Leftovers can be refrigerated.
2. Boil water like you would for pasta — lots of it (at least 10x the amount of water, so if you’re doing 100g, do 1000mL water). Once you’re at a rolling boil, weigh out your tapioca pearls (I cook in increments of 100g) and add the tapioca pearls to the water all at once. Stir.
3. Let the water come up to a boil again; the pearls will float to the top. Once the water is boiling again, lower the heat to medium. Set a lid slightly ajar on top and cook for 35 minutes. Stir every five minutes. Turn the heat off. Cover completely and let the pearls steep for 25 minutes.
4. Drain the pearls. Do not rinse. For every 100 grams of dry pearls, add 50mL of the simple syrup. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Serve right away or within a few hours. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate them for a day, but you must microwave them for about 30 seconds before serving. (Alternatively, keep them warm in a rice cooker on the “Keep Warm” setting or a crockpot on the lowest setting, but don’t let them overcook.)
Place a few heaping tablespoons of warm tapioca pearls at the bottom of the cup. Add your beverage. Add your ice last. DO NOT SHAKE AROUND — boba texture suffers in the cold. Serve with a fat straw. Preen triumphantly.
Note: these are very, very soft when hot and fresh; they firm up after soaking in the syrup and once your cold drink has been added. If you want to serve these with a hot drink, I’d probably cut the cooking time back down to 25 minutes.