Mention tapioca iced tea or famously known as bubble tea to almost any Asian and I can guarantee you that they will know about this tea. This very popular bubble tea is originally from Taiwan. You can find this bubble tea almost anywhere around the world now. Seriously, it is spreading like a virus. A good virus :)

So, what is it about this bubble tea ? The terms bubble refers to the pearl tapioca that are added to iced tea and milk. These little pearl tapioca are chewy and doesn’t give much flavor at all. But it makes your tea more interesting :) The tea is normally served in a clear glass or container so you can visually see the little pearl tapioca sitting at the bottom of the glass. It also comes with a big straw so you can suck the little pearl through the straw and chew it while drinking the sweet tea at the same time. Be careful though, this drink is not for small children as there is a choking hazard with the little pearl tapioca. I just have to put this in as I now have a 11-month old and chocking is always a hazard here!

As you can see from the photo that I used black tapioca. If you just walk down the tea aisle at Asian grocery store, you will be overwhelmed by the varieties of tapioca you get to choose from. They come in variety of colors too. I just choose black because that’s the one I like. It is chewier and I used a slightly bigger size pearl tapioca, bigger than the normal pea-sized pearl tapioca. The black tapioca looks nicer too as it stands out when you look at your glass :)

As Martin Yan said in his Martin Yan’s Asian Favorite cookbook, let’s sink your teeth on your iced tea. You really can on this tea, not just drink it 😉


About 4 cups water
3/4 cup large (1/4 inch) pearl tapioca or any size you want, bigger is better 😉
1/3 cup sugar

Milk Tea
4 cups water
4 jasmine or black tea bags
1/3 cup sugar or more or less depending on how sweet you like it. I think 1/3 cup is a good start
1/3 cup evaporated milk

Ice cubes


1. In a 2-quart pan combine 3 cups water, tapioca pearls, and sugar. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring until sugar dissolves. Decrease heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until tapioca becomes translucent, about 30 minutes. During cooking, add remaining 1 cup water, if needed, to maintain the same level of liquid in pan

2. Drain tapioca through a sieve, rinse under cold water, and drain again

3. While tapioca is cooking, prepare milk tea: in nonreactive pan, heat water to boiling. Turn off heat, add tea bags, and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Stir in milk. Let mixture cool, then refrigerate until chilled

4. To serve, place 2 or 3 ice cubes in each glass; add 1/3 cup tapioca and 1 cup milk tea


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