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Boba/Pearls/Tapioca - how to make?

Here in Indiana, there's only one pearl tea joint, and it's terrible. Absolutely terrible. They use the ready-made tapioca balls and microwave them. Ugh! My fiance and I are going through pearl tea withdrawl and are too busy to trek out to Chicago on the weekends to get good pearl tea. Does anyone know how to make those pearls so darned tasty and chewy? I really love the pearls at Tapioca Express back in California, but have no idea how to replicate them. I've tried in the past, but with no success. Any tips?

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  1. I don't know about making them but I have bought them uncooked and frozen at 99 ranch and boiled them up myself. But I guess the "new thing" is flavored conjac jelly pieces instead of boba. I had a really good green apple snow bubble with green apple jelly in OC recently.

    1. I'm looking at how to boil them properly so they get all chewy, not looking to manifest brown tapioca pearls out of whatever yumminess they're made of. I've always failed miserably in the past - any tips?

      1 Reply
      1. re: kcchan

        you are not alone on this - i have ruined several attempts myself. so frustrating! maybe it's time to give it another shot...

      2. 1 cup tapioca pearls
        8 cups water
        some say 7:1 ratio

        1) Boil water in a large pot.
        2) Add in the tapioca pearls to boiling water.
        3) Stir initially to prevent tapioca from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The tapioca pearls should float in the water.
        4) Boil for about 25 minutes with the cover on.
        5) Turn the heat off and let the tapioca sit in the water for another 25 minutes.
        6) Rinse the cooked tapioca pearls in warm water and drain out the water.
        7) Cover with bubble tea fructose, sugar syrup, brown sugar whatever syrup so they don't dry out.

        If that is what you are doing now, you could vary boil times or let them sit shorter or longer in the hot water after boiling. Experimentation is fun.

        7 Replies
        1. re: septocaine_queen

          definitely got to experiement yourself with the times. I'd usually do this. Cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, the shut off the heat and let it sit covered for twenty minutes, check the pearls and repeat the boiling and sitting around time. It'll take a few rounds. If you try to boil it straight you are in for a long time.

          1. re: OnceUponABite

            Can anyone tell me where you get the black bobas? The only large boba I have seen in asian markets are white.

            1. re: Saucey

              I've usually seen them at asian markets, but I guess it depends market to market. You can also find them online - I've never bought them online, though, so I have no tips or recommendations.

                1. re: Saucey

                  There's a great Vietnamese joint in Minneapolis that boils their pearls in Jasmine tea - I think that might be why they're black and yummy.

                  1. re: MplsGirl

                    MplsGirl -- Where in Minneapolis? (St. Paul girl.)

                  2. re: Saucey

                    black boba is JUST food coloring! You prepare it like normal - but put drops of food coloring in the water....I'm not sure what the ratio is if you buy the regular 4 color food colorings in the grocery store - some specialty stores have black food coloring....

              1. Wait for next coming summer 2007, there will be boba milk tea open at slightly north of 465 and michigan road next Subway

                  1. re: TJPizzeria

                    do you mean california style boba? as apposed to what other style? just curious

                  2. I've been experimenting, and I really have trouble getting the pearls at the right consistancy. They're usually WAY too chewy. The other thing I find is that I like them to have a little flavour, so I've tried cooking them with a little sugar, and a little black tea. It just wasn't right, but a lot better. I live right in the middle of an asian area where there are a lot of places to get bubble tea, but it's expensive, and to be honest, I enjoy more, the flavours I can create at home.

                    I'm going to try some of these other ideas for cooking them.

                    Look for multi-coloured tapioca as well. Of course, they don't taste any different, but they are fun!


                    1. I found some quick-cook 5 minute dark brown bubbles at T&T (major asian grocery chain in Canada). I'm going to try it out tomorrow at a CNY party. My question is: how do I make the tea itself? Is it just ice tea with flavour added? I couldn't find anything in that supermarket except a few boxes of flavoured jello-looking powder "bubble tea" boxes with suspicious ingredient lists.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Food Tourist

                        the "tea" flavors in bubble teas in the tea shops IS really made of those suspicious artificially flavored powders...it is actually very hard to get those mixed right as well. You should buy some and experiment for a while to get it to the taste you want.

                      2. I just picked up some ingredients to start making my own bubble teas and have had limited success so far. This site had some interesting info on the nature of tapioca. I'm gonna give it another try, good luck!