Here at UIUC, you can find bubble tea (or boba) at many restaurants and cafes around campus. This trendy tea is as whimsical as it is delicious. Bubble tea was created in Taiwan in the 1980's by a shop owner who combined three popular treats- tea, shaved iced, and tapioca pears- to make an irresistible drink that would become a widespread favorite in Taiwan's night markets. These chewy teas became a huge trend in the 90's in the US before dying down in the 2000's (what were we thinking?). In the latter half of this decade, bubble tea has come back into popularity, with bubble tea cafes open in most large towns and cities.
Learn how to make your own!
Now that you've learned about how bubble tea came to be, this week's DIY is focused on making it at home! The recipe outlined below comes from the blog- Omnivore's Cookbook.
Step 1- Make the bubbles
Bring 8 cups of water to boil and add 1 cup of tapioca pearls, stirring gently over medium heat for 15 minutes. Drain the tapioca pearls and place in a small bowl. Then, add 2 tablespoon of sugar and a quarter cup of water to the pearls, mixing well so all the pearls are coated. Leave them to soak up the sugar mixture at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
Step 2- Make the tea
Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a small pot and add 4 tablespoons of loose leaf black (or 8 teabags). Let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, then remove the pot from the heat and steep for an additional 5 minutes. Strain the tea leaves or remove the bags.
Step 3- Serve
Add the desired amount of the tapioca pearls (bubbles) to a glass, then pour the tea over them, leaving room for milk if desired. Add milk or cream and sugar to taste. You can serve the tea hot, room temperature, or cold!
Make it your way!
Experiment with different flavors by using herbal or green teas (just make them strong) and adding fresh fruit pieces or juice to change it up. Other sweeteners, like agave or stevia, can be used as well. For the original recipe- click here.