Looking for a homemade /diy bubble tea recipe? Keep reading to know how bad storebought bubble tea is. Scroll down for a step by step easy homemade bubble tea recipe.
What is bubble tea?
Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan and it is traditionally a milk tea shaken with ice in a shaker creating a bubble froth on top. Another thing unique to bubble tea is the boba pearls which is basically these large tapioca pearls cooked and simmered in sugar syrup.
Chain store version of bubble tea
The original concept is pretty clean. Milk+tea+sugar+flavors from fresh fruit, etc. But that has devolved with time to now include powdered drinks and artificially syrupy liquids.
Now, this is not true of all bubble tea, there are traditional shops that still stay true to the ingredients. But, most of the chain stores stop short of only brewing tea freshly. The rest of the additives come from a powder. Let us examine one such ingredient list from the flavor powder of a bubble tea supply store:
Honey Dew Powder:
Sugar, Stabilizer (CMC), Non-Dairy Creamer [Glucose Syrup, Refined Vegetable Oil, Sodium Caseinate, Stabilizer, Emulsifier, Anti-caking Agent], Lactose, Honeydew Flavor, Blue FD&C #1, Yellow FD&C #5.
I know you are getting mad reading this list. “Why do they do this?” you ask vehemently… “They don’t care about our health, they only care about money etc etc..” Yes, and you are right to an extent. BUT, let’s explore their business model for a second to understand why they do that.
Product line – are you impressed?
You walk into a bubble tea store. They offer 30 different line of products – mango, strawberry, banana, etc…What does your heart feel like drinking now? Watermelon in winter?…You got it!! Are you impressed? Maybe you shouldn’t be.
Are the fruits frozen? No – too much refrigeration costs.
Are the fruits fresh? No
Why not? Mostly because buying seasonally dependent produce, washing, peeling, cutting and managing fruits is complex. Can the company deal with fruit flies? Are employees making is it ripe/unripe fruit decisions? How about dealing with composting fruits as it ripens too much? All these issues eat into a chain’s profit margin.
The powder form is easiest to ship, maintains at room temperature, easy to measure out and the most economical option for a chain store.
Dehydrate – then rehydrate
“Alright”, you say,”no fresh fruit, fine…, but why the other crappy ingredients”? A fair question… Well, once you dehydrate and package the essence of the fruit into a powder, you need some sort of bulking agent to thicken the drink. You obviously can’t just drink ice.
So, you go for the cheapest and most effective fillers like sugar, thickeners, etc. Throw in a few colors to make it look pretty and vola! you have a standardized drink that anybody, even a new employee, with very little training can make and most people will love. Sold at $2.99 + tax!!
What should I do then?
Having store-bought bubble tea once in a while is perfectly fine. But, if you are addicted to bubble tea, maybe it is time you considered making your own. It is such a simple product anyway. You can easily make the real deal at home without much trouble.
Homemade bubble tea
Here’s an easy way to make the same delicious bubble tea at home with less sugar and all-natural ingredients. This is a really simple recipe. Thrown in freshly cut honeydew with frozen tea, milk cubes and sugar to make a creamy, delicious drink perfect for a hot summer day. Advantages:
- Fantastic fresh ingredients
- Just 2 tsp of added sugar (8g) per serving
- Boba Upgrade – Okay, so I substituted boba pearls with frozen blueberries….Scratch record…whaaaat?. Hear me out – blueberries when eaten frozen are quite chewy and weirdly satisfying. On the other hand, if you let the drink sit for a long time, then it stops being frozen, chewy and just a regular ol’ blueberry. But, here’s the kicker to put you over the fence on this decision.
1/4 cup boba pearls = 135 calories
1/4 cup frozen blueberries = 20 calories
Now remember, this is additional calories to the drink you are drinking. 135 or 20, you decide….
Step by step Pictures
Take a honeydew…
Chop into pieces..
Blend in high powered blender to get a thick puree
By the way, before that….The previous day, brew hot green tea
Freeze into cubes
Freeze soymilk (or any plant based milk) into cubes.
I am particularly proud of my freezing the tea and milk idea. Here is why I did it – Honey dew does not freeze well, it freezes in big chunks. By the time you separate these chunks out for blending, your fingers would be frozen. Dealing with frozen honey dew is a pain.
But, if you had all ingredients in liquid state, you will have to add a ton of plain ice cubes to get a frozen, creamy drink…And that WILL dilute the flavor. So, freezing the brewed tea and milk will make it cold and add flavor at the same time.
Throw in tea cubes, milk cubes, sugar, more ice cubes if wanted and blend.
Add 2 tsp of sugar (lesser if you want healthier), but 2 tsp makes the sweetness really pop and does not make it feel like you are sacrificing the taste from the chain store version.
Add frozen blueberries to the bottom of the glass.
Pour out your chunky, yummy drink and enjoy!!
Here's how to make healthy homemade honeydew bubble tea. DIY this vegan beverage at home for lot less calories and lot less sugar.
- 1.5 cups cut honeydew pieces
- 1.5 cups unsweetened soy milk (Or any plant based milk)
- 1 cup Frozen brewed green tea
- 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup ice cubes (optional)
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 2 green tea bags and let it stew for about 3 minutes. Take out the tea bags. Once the tea cools, pour into ice cube tray and freeze it overnight.
Freeze 1.5 cups soymilk (or any plant based milk) into cubes.
Chop honeydew into pieces. Blend in high powered blender to get a thick puree.
Add green tea cubes, milk cubes, sugar to honey dew puree and blend. If you want a more slushy drink, add more ice cubes till you get desired consistency.
Add frozen blueberries to the bottom of a glass. Pour bubble tea over. Slurp with a large straw!!
- Adjust tea and milk levels to your preference. If you love stronger tea add more, and if you are giving it to kids, reduce tea levels.
- The 2 tsp of sugar per serving adds a pop of sweetness to the drink.
- Adjust the thickness of drink by adding additional ice cubes.
I hope this inspires you to try making boba teas at home. Share your comments down below.
Here’s my question to you readers…What other chewy, healthier ideas do you have as a substitute for boba? Dazzle me, peeps!!