How To Make Bubble Tea

Bubble tea has been taking tastebuds by storm! A delightful fusion of tea, milk, and chewy tapioca pearls, bubble tea has captured the hearts of tea enthusiasts worldwide. This BBC Good Food recipe will explain how to make bubble tea, ensuring your home-brewed creation rivals those from your favourite bubble tea shop!

Preparation Time: 35 minutes plus cooling

Serves: 1-2


  • 2 teabags or 2g black tea
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g quick-cook tapioca balls (look for ones that cook in 5 mins)
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • ice
  • 200ml milk
  • Water

For the dark brown sugar syrup

  • 50g dark brown sugar


Step 1: First, put the tea bags or tea leaves in 100 ml of boiling water and leave to brew for 10-15 minutes. Once brewed, remove the tea bags or tea leaves, discard them and leave the tea to cool to room temperature. 

Step 2: To make the clear sugar syrup, in a small saucepan mix the caster sugar with 60ml water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Following this, remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

Step 3: In a small saucepan, bring 500ml water to a rolling boil set over a medium heat then add the tapioca balls. Next, take a rubber spatula, stir the water and make sure the tapioca balls (also known as boba) are not sticking to the side of the saucepan. Turn the heat up to reach a rolling boil for a further 2 minutes. Next, use a sieve to drain the boba while also gently running tap water through the sieve over the tapioca balls for approximately 20 seconds to slow the cooking. Using the rubber spatula, push the tapacio balls around to check they are not sticking and cooling down evenly. 

Step 4: Once the tapioca balls are cool to the touch, set in a mixing bowl and thoroughly mix in 1 tsp of dark brown sugar. 

Step 5: To make the sugar syrup, in the same saucepan add 50 ml of dark sugar to 60ml of water and set over a medium heat. Slowly stir and allow the mixture to come to a boil. When all the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and leave to cool down, the syrup will thicken as it cools down. Add the cooked tapioca balls to the mix until thoroughly covered. This will make approximately 80 ml syrup, about 2 1⁄2 servings. 

Any leftover syrup will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to a month. The boba can be left covered for up to three hours. Do not refrigerate as they will harden.

Step 6: To assemble to bubble tea, put the sweetened tapacio balls in a 485 ml drinking glass, or into two smaller glasses if you are sharing. Swirl the tapioca balls to create a marble effect on the wall of the glass followed by pouring the brewed tea as well as 1 tbsp of the clear sugar syrup. Next, add ½ cup of ice and use a metal spoon to stir so that the tea and syrup are thoroughly mixed. Top the glass up with 200 ml of cold milk and serve with a boba straw. 

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