Have you ever made bubble (aka boba) tea? It’s easier than you might think! Most bubble tea is packed with sugar from condensed milk, tons of caffeine and dairy. This homemade version gives you options by using honey (which is an undefined sugar), herbal or decaf tea and other options below. 


My family is obsessed with bubble tea! If we drive by a bubble tea shop my kids will scream “can we please stop to get one!?” They all have different preferences when it comes to ordering — Chloe loves ceylon tea, I’m a black tea girl, while Kenya and Gemma love horchata (which thank goodness is naturally caffeine free). Since we’ve been at home during this time, I’m trying to make some of their favorite restaurant and snack shop treats myself. It’s a win win because I learn something new and usually making a lot of our favorites we normally go out to get saves us time, money and we can customize them more (like dairy free for Gemma)! 


There’s one universal ask by everyone in our family when ordering bubble tea — extra boba! Hence why I add 1/2 cup to each glass when I make my own bubble tea. Part of the fun is sucking up the boba as you sip away. 


There are a few tricks to prepping bubble tea which will make you want to whip it up time and time again. Here goes:

* The boba/tapioca pearl package says that it take 5 minutes to boil until soft, but I find that it’s more like 8-10 minutes. 

* You want your tapioca balls to be nice and chewy after boiling them. That’s the key to perfect boba.

* Crushed ice is key. Take a few handfuls, toss it in your blender and pulse until it’s crushed resembling ice chips. 

* Make sure to steep your tea for as long as possible. I put my tea bags in a large jar, fill with water, cover and refrigerate overnight or leave in the sun to brew. 

* Don’t have honey on hand? You can take 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water and boil it to make simple syrup to pour over the tapioca pearls after they boil. 

* Want your tea even sweeter? You can add more honey or simple syrup. If that’s still not sweet enough, add a few tablespoons of condensed milk. 

* You need a stainless or biodegradable straw that’s meant for bubble tea to suck up your boba as this is part of the fun!

* If you have leftover boba keep them at room temperature. When you place them in the fridge they harden up which for bubble tea aficionados is a no no. 


You and your family will be Boba Tea obsessed once you make this recipe! 


How To Make Bubble (Boba) Tea

4.50 from 4 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes


  • 3 tea bags*
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup boba / tapioca pearls
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 cup milk of choice


  • Pour boiling water over tea bags and steep until dark. Refrigerate or place in the freezer until cool or cold. This step general takes 30 minutes, but can also be done overnight. 
  • Follow package directions for tapioca pearls. I bring 10 cups of water to a boil, add the pearls. When they rise to the surface, turn the heat to medium for 3 minutes. Lower the heat to low and cook another 3 minutes or until the pearls are soft and chewy. Pour the pearls into a colander to strain water. 
  • Place the tapioca pearls while warm in a bowl and top with honey. Stir the pearls and honey to thoroughly coat. 
  • Place the ice in a blender and pulse until crushed if desired. 
  • Divide the tapioca pearls and honey between 2 glasses. Add half of the ice, tea, and milk and stir to combine. 
  • * you can use any tea you enjoy. I use rooibos, decaf chai or other decaffeinated tea so my kids don’t get a mid day caffeine spike.
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About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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