Bubble tea is one of the latest darlings of the Asian food and drinks scene, but just where does this seemingly ubiquitous sugary treat come from? Today we’ll find out how hard it is to make it yourself.
History of Bubble Tea
There is one certain thing about bubble tea; it comes from Taiwan! Apart from there, relevant information on this beverage is largely speculative. There are two companies that claim to have invented the yummy drink in the late ’80s; Chun Shui Tang from Taichung, and Hanlin Teahouse in Tainan. They have been fighting for more than a decade over the authorship of this tea with tapioca pearls.
In 2019, a court ruled that there was no need to decide who invented the drink, as it was not a patented product. Regardless of legal matters, bubble tea has become a true icon of Taiwan and its popularity is spreading like fire in the west, just as it did in the rest of Asia in the ’90s and ’00s.
One of the beauties about bubble tea is its ease of preparation. This way, you get the flavor you want, with as many pearls and ice as you see fit.
For the pearls, you will need a water to tapioca flour ratio of 3 to 1. Make sure the water is boiling and slowly add it to the flour. The mixture resembles playdough, and it’s actually safe to give it to children to serve just this purpose. It’s fun to play with and completely non-toxic. However, if you do want your tea, you must refrain from using it as a toy. Cut the dough into little pieces and roll them into balls. Notice that they will puff once you cook them. Talking about cooking, cook the balls for 15 minutes in boiling water. Adjust this time if you want the balls a little more or less chewy.
Transfer them into some simple syrup. The amount of sugar depends on your taste. I actually suggest using maple syrup or honey instead of sugar for a more interesting flavor profile. That is the beauty of a hand-made bubble tea recipe; you can add what you want.
For the tea itself, well there are boundless possibilities. You can make it cold or hot, you can make freshly brewed tea or coffee. You can even add more or less ice with or without milk. Taro, mint or coconut bubble tea, whatever flavor you prefer, you can get! Again, in this case, I suggest going for natural ingredients such as natural sweeteners like honey or agave syrup, real fruit and vegan choices such as almond milk.
Where Can I Get Some?
Now, I know what you are probably thinking “That bubble tea recipe sure is nice, but what if I’m walking down the street on a hot summer day, without access to tapioca flour and boiling water?” Luckily for you, we are waiting for you at Rice bowl Deluxe, where we will delight you with this authentic Taiwanese classic!