a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Mar, 2012

A fun and easy bubble tea recipe

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Recipes and Food

Yesterday I wrote about recreating one of our favourite restaurant meals, specifically, a top-notch burger and fries. Today I’m focusing on something a little different: bubble tea. What is bubble tea? Well, it’s a sweet drink of Asian origin. We buy it whenever we’re visiting Somerset and when we go to the doctor’s.

Bubble tea is often fruit flavoured – melon, lychee, coconut, strawberry – but the big draw here is the chewy tapioca “pearls” on bottom of the glass. These are the “bubbles” in bubble tea.

Last time we were at T&T Supermarket I picked up the makings for bubble tea. The ingredients are pretty simple but I had to tinker with this recipe a little bit before posting it here. This is the formula which tasted closest to what you’d get at places like Bubblicity and other local bubble tea shops. We were all really happy with the outcome!

Andrea’s Homemade Bubble Tea Recipe

  • 1 cup uncooked tapioca pearls (available in Asian markets) Note! One cup uncooked results in approximately 4 cups of cooked pearls.
  • 1/2 cup cold green tea
  • 1 1/2 cups cold 2% milk
  • OPTION #1: powdered honeydew bubble tea powder (available in Asian markets, and it’s basically powdered milk, natural colouring, and sugar)
  • OPTION #2: you can probably make this with fresh honeydew melon instead (very ripe and well-blended!) but I haven’t tried it this way yet. I bet that this version is healthier and it will have less sugar and fewer calories.

First, the pearls. I bought white ones. These are translucent when they’re cooked and taste exactly the same as the black ones we normally see in bubble tea.

Tapioca pearls

Follow the directions on the package:

cooking the tapioca

Partway cooked

This particular brand had to be boiled for 20 minutes, left in the pot overnight and boiled a second time for 10 minutes the next day. Then they needed to be soaked a bit longer and rinsed. It seems onerous, but it was no biggie.

Aren’t they pretty?

cooked tapioca pearls

Please, no comments about how much they look like tiny eyeballs ok?

tapioca pearls look a bit like eyeballs

The eyeballs pearls will keep in the fridge, covered, for about four days.

The rest is very easy. Combine the milk, the tea, and four or five heaping teaspoons of the powder in a blender. Whirl until frothy. Pour into a tall glass over 1/3 cup of the pearls.

This version won’t be as sweet as the ones you get in restaurants, but that’s ok by me. If you do want it sweeter, add a teaspoon of superfine sugar as you’re blending it up.

There you go! Your own bubble tea!

Bubble tea!

It’s too bad we didn’t have proper straws (pictured here and here) with which to hoover up the pearls. Oh well. We liked it anyway. :)

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4 Responses to "A fun and easy bubble tea recipe"

1 | Sasha

March 22nd, 2012 at 10:48 am


I will have to try this! For cooking the tapioca, I’ve tried tapioca sticks in the slow cooker, they also take a long time, and it worked out well. Just wish I could remember how long they were in there, I overdid my second batch and can’t remember the timing from the first one! Planning more experiments…

2 | carrie

March 22nd, 2012 at 7:25 pm


Wow , I’ve neer had bubble tea and have always wondered what it’s all about. I want some now! Thanks!

3 | A sweet new little place to get bubble tea in Ottawa: My Sweet Tea >> a peek inside the fishbowl

July 23rd, 2013 at 8:16 am


[…] you tried bubble tea? We’ve made our own and have been regular patrons of Bubblicity on Somerset for the past few years. Unfortunately the […]

4 | Summer fun idea #2: a special outing for bubble tea >> a peek inside the fishbowl

July 14th, 2015 at 10:40 am


[…] can also make your own bubble tea if you’re up for […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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