Asia/ Drinks/ Recipes/ Taiwan

Taiwanese Boba Tea


Have you ever tried Boba Tea before? This fun tapioca pearl drink is perfect to sip on a hot, humid day.

Bubble Tea

The first time I had boba (or bubble) tea was at a small teahouse in Central Oregon.

And lemme tell you, it was a drink who started my love affair with boba. I was handed a large cup with a pile of “bubbles” huddled together at the bottom. Were they squishy? What did they taste like?

Being very excited, I took a giant sip out of the big straw and inhaled a tapioca pearl right to the back of my throat.

After some coughing ensued, I took a second smaller sip and got to enjoy the tea mixed with the tapioca pearl. Now this was more like it!

The tapioca balls were chewy and a bit slimy and fun to eat.

My love of boba had just begun.

Boba Tea from Taiwan

This drink was originally created in Taichung, Taiwan in the 1980’s. Since then you can find it under a variety of names:

  • Milk Tea
  • Boba Tea
  • Bubble Tea
  • Boba

Whatever you call your tea there are a few items you need to create it.


In this recipe I used a ginger black tea. You can use any kind of tea when making boba tea, just be sure that it is cool before incorporating it with the pearls.

Tapioca Pearls

Cooked Tapioca Pearls

Black tapioca pearls are hard to find in stores (and even the Asian market I went to in town). Your best bet is to order the tapioca pearls online. I ordered mine off of Amazon and got it fairly quickly.

To make the tapioca pearls is a fairly simple process. Just boil the pearls until they are tender and then drain. Make sure to continually stir to prevent the tapioca from sticking together.


Pouring milk into bubble tea

Some people enjoy adding milk or sweetened condensed milk to their teas. I enjoyed the taste of both.

A Large Straw

Boba Tea with a straw

To make sure you can use a straw to drink up the boba, pick up a package of smoothie straws from your local grocery store or online.

Taiwanese Boba Tea Recipe

Taiwanese Boba Tea

Taiwanese Boba Tea
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

This iced tea beverage is served with sweetened tapioca pearls. 

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Taiwanese
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lyndsay Burginger
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup dried boba tapioca pearls
  • 8 tea bags any kind
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • milk, sweetened condensed milk
  1. In a large saucepan bring water to a boil and stir in tapioca pearls. Turn heat to medium-high and cook the boba, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let boba sit in water for another 15 minutes. 

  2. Meanwhile, bring four cups of water to boil for the tea. Remove from heat and add tea bags and seep according to tea packaging. Remove tea bags and add 2 cups of ice to chill tea. Chill tea until ready to serve. 

  3. Drain boba from water and transfer to a small bowl or mason jar. Add simple syrup and let sit until at room temperature, about 20 minutes. 

  4. To make one glass of bubble tea pour boba pearls into the glass. Top with ice and tea. Add milk if desired.

Recipe Notes

You can buy tapioca pearls here

This Taiwanese Boba Tea is a refreshing tea drink. Learn how to make bubble tea at

Local Suggestions

Sip on your boba tea while enjoying a plate of Chinese Ginger Chicken Stir Fry or Japanese Edamame.

Chicken stir fry with broccoli



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