Credit for this post goes 100% to Nathan. I don’t know where he got the inspiration from but when he mentioned the idea to make bubble tea I pretty much went crazy with excitement. I’ve only had bubble tea on a few occasions but I have fond memories of a bubble tea cafe just off my college campus that opened (and closed, unfortunately) during my Freshman year. When we started researching how to make bubble tea I realized that I had no idea what those mysterious black, chewy balls at the bottom of the tea actually are. For all I knew they could have been some sort of fish eyeball…eww. And yet I blissfully sucked them up along with whatever tasty tea they were nestled at the bottom of.
Turns out the enigmatic globules are pearls (or Boba) of tapioca and they are sold in black, white, or unnatural looking pastel colors. Bubble tea can be made with whatever tea base you prefer and then mixed with fruit or milk. Since we both love spicy chai and it’s the perfect season for it we decided to make our own chai blend and use it as the base for our bubble tea. I have to admit that the homemade chai is the star of this drink. It’s spicy, creamy, and perfectly sweet…and you have the power to adjust the flavors to your taste. The tapioca pearls are a fun and tasty addition but this tea is awesome on it’s own…either hot or over ice. And if you want to freak your kids out this Halloween just tell them the tapioca pearls are zombie eyeballs or something. Enjoy!
Chai Bubble Tea:
2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
8 allspice pods
2 cups cold water
6 bags of Darjeeling tea
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (packed) golden brown sugar
Approximately 1 cup tapioca pearls (we ordered ours from Amazon)
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan. Using mallet or back of large spoon, lightly crush or bruise spices.
2. Add 2 cups water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan, and simmer gently 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add milk and sugar. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Strain chai into a container or pitcher, cover, and chill approximately 3 hours.
4. Prepare tapioca pearls according to package directions. Allow to cool for several minutes. Divide the pearls between two glasses and pour chilled tea over top. Serve immediately.