That Time I Tried.. Bubble Tea

Photo by Phan Anh Tran on Unsplash

Good afternoon my lovelies,

In this world. there are a lot of new and exciting foods to try. Some enlighten and inspire us, and others leave us wondering what possessed us. Some we enjoy so much that we incorporate into our weekly menu, and other experiences we wish we could forget about. For me, one of those bubble tea.Being an avid tea fan, I had to get the scoop. I’d seen shops selling it, teens drinking it and photos of it all over social media. I’ve been meaning to buy a kit for a while, and then I gathered that lockdown was my chance. Hats off to The Home Gourmet, from whom I ordered my kit from via Ebay. The kit arrived to me in a handly letterbox -sized parcel. Had I been out (which I wasn’t, thanks to lockdown), it would have sat nicely in my mail cage, ready for collection. Inside were 2 bags of flavouring powder, one strawberry and one chocolate, 4 bubble tea straws, a vacuum packed bag of tapioca “pearls”, 4 teabags and instructions. Kitchen tidied and instructions laid out, we were ready. 

A Background On Bubble Tea

According to Wikipedia, Bubble Tea, Or Boba Tea, originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. Despite being more than 40 years old, it’s one of those popular trendy foods on social media platforms like Instagram due it’s striking appearance from the black tapioca “pearls” at the bottom of the glass. Because of it’s popularity, pop-up cafes appear in many towns, selling this now trendy beverage. Being the curious blogger that I am, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and give it a try. 

The Theory

The instructions supplied in this kit advocate bubble tea to be a revolutionary take on the old milkshake. Elsewhere online, I’d also seen the tapioca pearls advertised as “gummy-bear like”, so, looking forward to a sweet, thick, strawberry flavoured drink with some sweet, chewy treats at the end, I laid out the ingredients and got started. 

A Word Of Warning

I have also read stories of children who have gotten carried away with these drinks and ended up with a stomach full of tough-to-digest tapioca pearls. If you let the little ones give them a go, you might want to moderate how many pearls they’re allowed to add. Mindful of chronic indigestion, I decided that 10 each was probably enough. 

So It Begins..

The first thing they don’t tell you about homemade bubble tea is the number of steps. Holy moly! Before you can drink your drink, you have to have made ice, which is fine, except that I didn’t have any ice. Ice cube trays filled and in the freezer, this whole plan was on hold for at least 6 hours. Once the ice was completely frozen, I boiled up some hot water for the tapioca pearls. Once the water was at a rolling boil, I dropped in 20 pearls (10 each) and let them cook for the allotted time, spooned them out and set them in cold water for another 20 minutes. I was already another near 7 hours away from drinking my damn drink. Once the pearls are cooled. you’re supposed to scoop them out of the cold water, mix them with two teaspoons of caster sugar and set them aside. That’s already a saucepan, a mixing bowl and a mug dirtied up and I still wasn’t drinking anything. Not only, but these little black balls swirling around in sugary water looked far from appetising, but hey, have faith. Once I was ready for my drink (and bearing it mind I could have had 4 mugs of Yorkshire Tea in this time) I boiled the kettle, steeped the green tea bag and topped it up with cold water, as per the instructions. I then removed the tea bag and spooned in two tablespoons of the creamer-sugar-artificial strawberry flavour powder, also as per the instructions. Thoroughly mixed and not at all thick, I was ready to assemble my drink. Assembling a bubble tea is not unlike mixing up any fancy cocktail, except there’s bad news on the gin you’ll want after making this thing as it doesn’t call for any. The pearls go first, then ice, then the drink. Then. the piece de resistance, the not-environmentally-friendly plastic straw. Drink finally assembled, I was ready. Eight hours of patience and countless steps had to pay off, such a popular treat was bound to be divine..

The Result

Bleurgh! Perhaps I didn’t make it right (though I did follow instructions, for a change!) but this drink was really watery and just.. wrong. It’s not thick and it’s not even really creamy, it’s just like drinking cold white tea and that’s because that’s basically all this was. The tapioca pearls aren’t gummy-bear like at all, they’re like nothing I’ve ever eaten before and frankly wouldn’t care to eat again. They aren’t sweet, they were just chewy, slippery and squelchy instead. Despite our best efforts, neither of us could finish our drinks and eight hours of my time went down the sink. As for the the rest of the kit, it went straight in the bin.

If you’re ever in the mood for tea, there are many, many great teas out there. Spiced chamomile tea, marsala chai tea or just plain ol’ English breakfast tea to name but a few. Unless it’s a fruit tea or an iced tea though, no tea should have any bits in it in my personal opinion. 

Have you ever tried bubble tea? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

What should I try next?  Do also let me know your suggestions in the comments and I’ll see what I can do for you! 😉

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx

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2 thoughts on “That Time I Tried.. Bubble Tea

  1. I am a huge fan of bubble tea! I think if you want to try bubble tea, it’s best to buy first and then you can compare the bought one to the bubble tea you made at home, however I appreciate this might be easier said than done as it depends whether you have bubble tea stores where you live. If you can visit a store, try go to a more traditional store in that you see a lot of Asians (esp Chinese / Taiwanese) there – chances are it’ll be good. Alternatively you could check out Deliveroo as there may be some places that deliver. This might be the best option at this point in time…

    With bubble tea as well, there are different types. You can have fruit tea with tapioca pearls, or bubble milk tea favours which will make the tea creamier. I personally prefer milk tea as opposed to fruit tea.

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