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I drank bubble tea every day when I visited Taiwan, and decided to bring back some tapioca pearls (boba) to make my own at home. This is a versatile recipe: you can vary the type of tea and milk you use, and sweeten it to taste. Brew tea to your preferred strength, though it's a good idea to use strong tea because you're going to dilute it with milk and ice. You'll need a wide straw to drink up the boba, or use a long spoon to fish them out!

Recipe Summary

5 mins
30 mins
30 mins
1 hr 5 mins
2 drinks


Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add tapioca pearls and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until softened and dark, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.n

  • Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea leaves. Let steep for 15 minutes. Strain out tea leaves and refrigerate the tea.n

  • Drain pearls. Bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil in the empty saucepan. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Immerse the pearls in the syrup and let sit until room temperature, about 15 minutes.n

  • Divide the pearls and desired amount of syrup between 2 tall glasses. Pour in tea. Add ice, milk, and sweetened condensed milk to both glasses. Stir before drinking.n

Cook's Notes:

Substitute 4 tea bags for the loose-leaf tea if preferred. Use any kind of black or green tea you like!

I did not use quick-cooking tapioca pearls. If you buy that variety, either online or from an Asian market, follow the cooking instructions on the package.

Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for a few days. They will gradually harden over time.

Nutrition Facts

248 calories; protein 3.4g; carbohydrates 54.4g; fat 2.4g; cholesterol 8.9mg; sodium 64.3mg. Full Nutrition