You can, in fact, purchase the giant tapioca balls known as “boba” for bubble tea. They are available in most Asian specialty groceries in most mid-sized cities. Sadly, it took me years to learn this. Even more sadly, some of you live in cities devoid of boba entirely. And it just wouldn’t be right to let you live a life free of bubbles.
I’m not going to say my recipe is as good as what you’d get in a tea shop. It isn’t. But it is good. And the fancy-factor of making your own strawberry tea makes up for the slightly less chewy boba.
I recommend making all of the components 24 hours ahead of time, for easy assembly the next day.
Strawberry Tea with Mini Boba, serves 4
- 5 bags tea of choice (I recommend a nice Earl Grey)
- 1 cup large pearl tapioca
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- sweetener to taste
Brew 4 cups of tea (the 5th bag is to make your 4 cups extra-strength) according to package directions. Set aside to cool completely.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add tapioca and allow water to return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer tapioca for 5-10 minutes, until balls are mostly translucent. Strain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Store cooked tapioca in a water-bath in a Tupperware in the fridge.
Place berries in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (go ahead and reuse your dirty tapioca saucepan, I won’t tell!). Cook 1 minute, using the side of a wooden spoon to mash the berries. Add sugar and continue to cook until it is completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a Tupperware.
Divide mashed strawberries evenly between 4 glasses. Top with brewed tea and shake or stir to combine. Sweeten to taste. Carefully scoop cooked tapioca out of water bath and place into tea. Serve with large straws to allow for bubble slurping.