There are only a handful of foods that I actually remember trying for the first time and bubble (aka boba) tea – with its sweet tea base, served either hot or cold, and those distinctive chewy black tapioca balls at the bottom – is definitely one of them.
Back in college, there was a tea house located just down the road called K&K’s the Old Teahouse that my friends and I would often frequent. It was close to campus, cheap (which was always a plus for us broke college students), and a fun place to kill time when the only thing you were supposed to be doing was studying. The very first time I visited, I really had never heard of bubble tea before, and when I learned more about what it was, I was a little bit hesitant to drink something that had black, jelly-like things floating at the bottom. However, I relented and decided to give this popular Taiwanese drink a try.
When I walked up to order, I was told that they’d run out of those see-through plastic cups that the cold drinks were normally served in, so they instead gave me a paper cup that was usually reserved for hot tea. No big deal, really. No big deal, that is, until I took my first sip and was just stunned by what I’d just consumed.
Since I couldn’t see those squishy things at the bottom of my cup, when one of them finally slivered its way up the extra large straw and into my mouth, to say that I was taken aback would be an understatement! To me, mixing liquid and solid in that manner, and drinking it through a straw just seemed all kinds of wrong. Nevertheless, with each sip I took and with each visit back to the tea shop, I actually grew love it. In fact, on my graduation day, one of the last things I did was get a bubble tea to enjoy on the long ride back to Brooklyn!
Bubble tea is said to have originated in Taiwan, but has grown in popularity is countries all throughout Asia and the world. The distinctive reddish-orange color is usually the result of food coloring, so while probably not the best thing to drink, it still is so much fun seeing all of the colors swirling together as you sip.
Back at K&K’s, the flavor that I ordered most was probably banana (weird, I know), but my second favorite one had to be Thai bubble tea, which is what I’m sharing with you guys today! It is delicious, sweet, and so easy to make, so I definitely hope you give it a try.
Thai Bubble Tea
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cup of Thai loose tea
- 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk (more if you like your tea sweet!)
- 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
- 1 cup of tapioca balls (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the tapioca balls to it.
- Allow the tapioca balls to cooks for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until all of them are floating at the top of the water.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked tapioca balls, place in a bowl of cold water, and set aside.
- Bring another pot of water to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and add the tea.
- Allow tea to steep for approximately 5 minutes before straining.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and then allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Add about a 1/2 cup of the tapioca balls to the bottom of a 4 glasses, add ice, pour in the tea, and top with the evaporated milk.