Boba (Bubble Tea) To Make At Home For A Fraction Of The Price!

Boba lovers rejoice! Whether you call it boba or bubble tea, you can make it at home and create boba drinks and treats for a fraction of the cost of what your local shop charges. If you are already a lover of these chewy tapioca pearls, you won’t need convincing! We even have vegan versions – and boba popsicles and ice cream! Don’t know what boba is? Read on.

What Is Boba?

Bubble tea.
Photo credit fahrwasser via DepositPhoto.

Boba, also known as bubble tea, is a popular Taiwanese tea-based drink that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. It typically consists of tea (often black or green tea) mixed with milk or fruit flavors and sweetened with sugar or syrup. The drink is most famous for the chewy tapioca pearls (about the size of a pea), also known as boba or bubbles, that are added to the tea. These pearls are made from tapioca starch and have a distinctive chewy texture.

There Are Many Variations and Presentations of Boba

Bubble tea.
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Boba tea can come in many variations, including:

  • Milk Tea: Tea mixed with milk or a non-dairy creamer.
  • Fruit Tea: Tea mixed with fruit flavors or real fruit.
  • Smoothies or Slushies: Blended versions with ice for a thicker, cooler drink.
  • Flavored Variations: Including matcha, taro, chocolate, and more.

Boba tea is usually served cold with a wide straw to allow the pearls to be sucked up while drinking. It’s enjoyed worldwide and has become a trendy beverage in many countries.

Who Invented Boba?

Boba tea.
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Boba tea was invented in Taiwan, with two competing claims to its origin:

  1. Chun Shui Tang Teahouse in Taichung: The founder, Liu Han-Chieh, claims to have invented bubble tea in the early 1980s by experimenting with cold tea. His employee, Lin Hsiu Hui, reportedly added tapioca balls to the tea during a meeting in 1988, creating the first version of bubble tea.
  2. Hanlin Tea Room in Tainan: Another version of the story attributes the invention to Tu Tsong-He, who claims to have been inspired by white tapioca balls in 1986 and subsequently created a similar drink with black tapioca pearls.

What Does Boba Taste Like?

woman drinking boba tea.
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Boba tea typically has a sweet and creamy taste, thanks to the combination of tea, milk, and sweeteners. The tapioca pearls (boba) provide a chewy texture, which contrasts with the smoothness of the tea. The flavor can vary widely based on the type of tea, milk, and additional flavorings used.

bubble tea.
Image credit New Africa via Shutterstock.

Boba tea comes in a wide variety of flavors, with these being a general overview:

  • Traditional Milk Tea: Black or green tea with milk and sweetener.
  • Fruit Teas: Flavored with fruit syrups or real fruit pieces (e.g., mango, strawberry, lychee).
  • Matcha: Green tea powder with milk.
  • Taro: Made with taro root, giving it a purple color and unique flavor.
  • Thai Tea: Strongly brewed black tea with spices and condensed milk.
  • Coffee: Coffee-flavored with milk and boba.
Strawberry boba.
Image credit Carey Jaman via Shutterstock.

Here is a more complete list of the most popular flavors:

  • Classic Milk Tea: Made with black tea, milk, and sweetener. The original and most widely enjoyed flavor.
  • Taro Milk Tea: Made with taro root or taro powder, giving it a unique purple color and nutty flavor.
  • Matcha Green Tea: Made with matcha (green tea powder) and milk. Offers a distinct, slightly bitter taste balanced with sweetness.
  • Thai Tea: Strongly brewed black tea mixed with spices and sweetened condensed milk. Known for its vibrant orange color and rich flavor.
  • Honeydew Melon: Made with honeydew melon flavoring or real honeydew juice. Refreshing and sweet.
  • Mango: Made with mango syrup or fresh mango. Fruity and tropical.
  • Strawberry: Made with strawberry syrup or fresh strawberries. Sweet and slightly tart.
  • Lychee: Made with lychee syrup or fresh lychee. Floral and sweet.
  • Coffee: Made with brewed coffee and milk. A great option for coffee lovers.
  • Chocolate: Made with chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Rich and decadent.
  • Oolong Milk Tea: Made with oolong tea and milk. Offers a floral and toasty flavor profile.
  • Wintermelon Tea: Made with wintermelon syrup. Mildly sweet and refreshing.
  • Coconut: Made with coconut milk or coconut syrup. Creamy and tropical.
  • Rose: Made with rose syrup. Floral and aromatic.
  • Almond Milk Tea: Made with almond milk and sometimes almond syrup. Nutty and sweet.
  • Passion Fruit: Made with passion fruit syrup or juice. Tart and tropical.
  • Red Bean: Made with sweetened red bean paste. Unique and slightly earthy.
  • Avocado: Made with blended avocado. Creamy and subtly sweet.
  • Butterfly Pea Flower Tea: Made with butterfly pea flowers, which turn blue and can change color with the addition of lemon juice. Mild and herbal flavor, often paired with other flavors for a visual effect.

Boba tea’s diverse range of flavors ensures there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer fruity, creamy, or even floral notes. Enjoy exploring the different varieties!

How to Make Bubble Tea (Easy Boba Tea Recipe)

Photo credit Faith Gorsky.

Learn how to make bubble tea at home with this easy boba recipe! Chewy tapioca pearls make sweet and creamy milk tea feel special, or you can use them to make any flavor of bubble tea you like. Get the recipe.

Vegan Boba Tea Recipe with Oat Milk

Bubble tea.
Photo credit Kelly Jensen.

This vegan boba tea recipe with oat milk is a refreshing plant-based bubble tea that is made with homemade oat milk, tapioca pearls, and natural sweetener. Add any tea of your choice for a fun drink that doubles as a snack.

A light, refreshing, and tasty way to enjoy boba or bubble tea at home! Get the recipe.

Thai Bubble Tea

Bubble tea.
Photo credit Jessica Randhawa. 

A combination of Thai Tea and Bubble Tea, this easy Boba Tea Recipe is fun, delicious, and the perfect summertime drink. Learn all about Boba and How to Make Thai Bubble Tea right at home using just a handful of simple, delicious, easy-to-find ingredients like tea, milk, and sugar. Get the recipe.

Basic Boba Tea

Bubble tea.
Photo credit Jessica Randhawa.

Have you ever wanted to learn How to Make Bubble Tea? Here you’ll find everything you need to know to make creamy, delicious, and surprisingly simple bubble tea right at home using simple ingredients like black tea, tapioca pearls, and sugar. Get the recipe.

Watermelon Boba Popsicles

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These boba popsicles combine the refreshing flavor of watermelon with the creamy texture of coconut milk and a fun surprise of chewy tapioca pearls. It’s like sipping on a cool glass of bubble tea but in a refreshing popsicle form. They’re the perfect sweet treat for a hot summer day. Get the recipe.

CoCo-Inspired Egg Custard Bubble Tea

coco bubble tea.
Photo credit Sift & Simmer.

This CoCo-Inspired Egg Custard Bubble Tea is based on the popular Taiwanese bubble tea’s chain’s “3 Guys” featuring milk tea, homemade egg custard pudding and grass jelly, along with boba pearls. It’s a delicious drink filled with lots of textural elements. Get the recipe.

Lychee Bubble Tea

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This creamy lychee bubble tea is a refreshing drink that’s easy to make with simple ingredients. Save time and money making this copycat recipe at home! Get the recipe.

blueberry milk tea

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This tasty blueberry milk tea recipe is easy to make at home whenever you have a craving for a summery bubble tea. Made with blueberry simple syrup from real blueberries, so there’s no artificial flavoring. Mixed with green tea and milk. Then served over ice with boba pearls. Get the recipe.

No Churn Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream with Boba

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Vietnamese coffee ice cream with boba makes such a delicious treat. It’s rich and creamy, boasting plenty of coffee flavour and the chewiness of boba pearls on top. It’s an unusual no-churn coffee ice cream recipe which you are going to love. Vietnamese coffee ice cream is delicious with the flavours of coffee and boba. Ice cream with boba is a special treat to beat the summer heat. Get the recipe.

Taro Smoothie

Photo credit Corrie Cooks.

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to treat yourself in the morning or during snack time, then we’ve got you covered with this taro smoothie recipe. Sweet and creamy, this smoothie is as tasty as it is easy to make. Get the recipe.

Wintermelon Milk Tea

Photo credit Corriecooks. 

Wintermelon milk tea is a delicious drink that’s become popular in recent years. It’s made by blending wintermelon syrup with milk and tea to create a sweet and refreshing beverage that’s perfect for any time of day.

The wintermelon itself has a subtle flavor that’s complemented by the milk and tea, making for a tasty and unique drink that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Get the recipe.

Oreo Boba

Oreo boba.
Photo credit Faith Gorsky.

Oreo milk tea boba features delicious cookies and cream flavor with chewy brown sugar-sweetened tapioca pearls. It’s not as heavy as a milkshake, but it’s lusciously creamy and sweet enough to satisfy a dessert craving. And it’s easy to make at home with no special equipment needed! Get the recipe.

Brown Sugar Boba

Photo credit Corriecooks.

Brown Sugar Boba is a delicious Taiwanese drink made with chewy tapioca balls, also known as boba, and a sweet and caramel-like brown sugar syrup. It’s a popular drink worldwide and can be found in many bubble tea shops. Get the recipe.

Coffee Boba Tea

Coffee boba.
Photo credit CoffeeCppyCat.

This adventurous Coffee Boba is an ode to your inner creative, made with a sensational blend of textures and flavors that delights and inspires! The robust essence of cold brew coffee is blended with creamy milk, homemade brown sugar syrup, and the chewy pleasure of black boba pearls. Get the recipe.

easy strawberry milk tea

Photo credit Oregon Dietitian.

Looking for a refreshing and delicious drink to welcome warmer weather? Look no further than this Easy Strawberry Milk Tea recipe! With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up a sweet and creamy strawberry boba tea that will have your taste buds singing all season long. Get the recipe.

matcha boba tea

Matcha boba.
Photo credit Oregon Dietitian.

Matcha boba tea is creamy and sweet with chewy boba pearls at the bottom! Make this refreshing matcha bubble tea at home all summer long! Get the recipe.

brown sugar boba ice cream bars

Photo credit Oregon Dietitian.

Creamy, dreamy, dairy-free coconut ice cream is laced with sweet and chewy mochi-like pearls of goodness in these Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bars. Made with just 6 ingredients and naturally vegan & gluten-free, these are a summer treat you need in your repertoire! Get the recipe.

Honey Sweetened Boba Milk Tea

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No need to consume copious amounts of sugar or pay ridiculous prices for a fancy drink – make your own honey-sweetened boba milk tea! It’s easy, delicious, and healthy. Get the recipe.

20 Homemade Sorbets, Sherbets, Granitas, Popsicles And Ices For Summer Fun!

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Ice cream and gelato get a lot of love, but sometimes we want an icy treat that is a bit lighter. Enter the world of Sorbets, Sherbets, Granitas, Pops, and Ices! And trust us: if you think these cannot be as satisfying as ice cream, we suggest you try our Chocolate Sorbet right now. Dairy-free, yet rich and creamy. Twenty in all featuring pineapple, strawberries, espresso, papaya, lime, cherries, banana, coconut and all the flavors you crave.

READ: 20 Homemade Sorbets, Sherbets, Granitas, Popsicles And Ices For Summer Fun!

18 Healthy Summer Snacks That Help You Beat The Heat & Sustain Energy

child kid eating popsicle.
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We are big snackers around here, and in the summer, we do like lighter snacks – and they are even better if they help cool us down. Luckily, there are loads to choose from, both sweet and savory. Are your favorites listed? Or, which new-to-you one will you try first?

READ: 18 Healthy Summer Snacks That Help You Beat The Heat & Sustain Energy

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  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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