How to Make Bubble Tea at Home to Quench Your Thirst During The Extended Circuit Breaker Period
Recently tightened COVID-19 circuit breaker measures have forced all bubble tea outlets in Singapore to close. If you are missing the beverage, find out how to prepare this delectable drink at home... and even tweak it for a healthier version of it.
The night of April 21 saw many bubble tea lovers queuing outside the many popular outlets for their last drink before the close-down. The strict circuit breaker measure has forced all non-essentials to stop their services for at least two weeks. If you are an ardent lover of this refreshing drink, this is a good time to learn how to make bubble tea at home. This will save you the heartbreak of giving up something you love.
Bubble tea and its craze
Originating in Taiwan, this drink has many names which include 'pearl milk tea' and 'boba tea'. Created by accident in the 1980s, it reached American soil in the nineties and has been gaining popularity since. It has created a niche for itself as a tea-cum-dessert. This sweet drink is a combination of tea, milk and tapioca pearls, at its most basic form. However, there are actually multiple variations of this sweet beverage. You're bound to find something that pleases your palate.
Bubble tea has kept the craze going by adapting to changing interests and aesthetics. This global food trend has varieties completely different from what Liu Han-Chieh and Lin Hsiu Hui, the originators, had created.
Deconstructing the bubble tea
We know bubble tea is a drink with tea and bubble-beads in it. Any basic bubble tea will have these fundamental ingredients with variations on offer. Ingredients are the first step before reading about how to make bubble tea at home. The standard bubble tea has:
- Tea – This is the main and the healthiest ingredient. Any robust tea such as black, green or Oolong, according to your preference is fine. The longer you steep it, the better.
- Bubbles or Pearls – Traditionally, you make pearls with tapioca flour. Ready-made pearls are available in select grocery stores or can be ordered online. Some variations include fruit jellies, egg pudding, tapioca noodles, taro balls, basil seeds, sago pearls, lychee fruit, etc. A synthetically made popping boba is also popular. These are roe-like squishy spheres prepared using fruit juice with other ingredients through the method of ‘spherification’.
- Milk – Whole milk, half-and-half, almond, soy, walnut are all good options based on your preference. Low-fat milk does not contribute to the creaminess of the drink and heavy cream makes bubble tea too thick.
- Sweetener – The original, and also the easiest, choice is sugar. At home, you can decide the quantity to suit your taste. Granulated or brown sugar taste the best. Feel free to try alternatives such as honey, stevia, agave, etc.
- Ice – Amount of ice cubes will depend on how much cool you want your drink. If you prefer to have your bubble tea hot, you may do that too.
Examples of How to Make Bubble tea at Home
Now that you have your ingredients with you, let us see how to make bubble tea at home from scratch.
If you have pre-packaged pearls with you, wait till your tea is ready to prepare the pearls. If you make them ahead, they may dry-out and stiffen. Bring water to boil 15 minutes before you want to serve the tea, put in the pearls and boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Cool and keep it cold water to prevent clumping.
If you plan to make your own pearls, mix tapioca flour with hot water and food colour to knead a smooth dough. Make small balls out of it. Cook these in boiling water for 15 minutes or more. Cool them in sugar syrup or water according to preference.
Prepare tea by steeping tea bags or leaves, as you do. Steep till the tea cools down. For bubble tea, don’t worry about over-steeping. This should take between 15 to 25 minutes. If you are using sugar, add it during the steeping process. If you want to speed up the cooling, steep in the refrigerator.
You may add the milk in your glass or prepare a milk tea to pour on your ice.
Assembly of Bubble tea
Drop the pearls into your glasses. Fill the glasses with ice. Pour in your milk and tea, or milky tea. Stir and check sweetness. Adjust, if you want. Serve with long spoons and bubble tea straws. Alternately, put ice, tea, milk and sweetener in a shaker, shake well and pour over the pearls in your glass.
Fruit teas are equally refreshing and popular. They are easier to make too.
- Brew and steep green tea for more than 10 minutes.
- Chill in the refrigerator.
- Add fruit syrup of choice and mix.
- Serve over pearls and ice. Popping pearls are more in demand in fruit bubble teas.
- Ditch the sugar for healthier, natural options to cut down on sugar. Try fruit balls with fruit juices to increase the nutrition quotient.
Try out other flavours and variations during this stay-in period to please you taste buds. This is the time to improvise and enhance your favourite drink. Happy drinking!