Do you know what ‘bubble tea’ is?
Maria decided that, for her birthday, some boba balls (the ‘bubbles’ in the bubble tea) would be the perfect birthday gift!
We discussed the merits of popping boba versus the large tapioca pearl boba. I prefer the popping boba, especially after having been served a drink (once only, thankfully) where the tapioca boba weren’t properly cooked and the consistency was off.
I did some research. Popping boba come in small expensive tubs that don’t last for more than a few drinks, but I could buy the ingredients to make them (this is a fairly time intensive project), or I could buy the tapioca boba.
I decided to put the popping boba project off till fall, and buy tapioca boba now.
After reading the customer reviews, I discovered that not all tapioca pearls are created equal. Some have a better success-rate at plumping up into boba balls. I also discovered that the ‘rainbow’ boba are rainbow-colored thanks to dyes. I wasn’t able to find any plain white boba. Apparently that isn’t a thing?
Because of the chemical sensitivities, I wish it was…
I ordered a bag of black boba and a packet of bubble tea straws. I wanted fewer straws, but I couldn’t find the translucent straws in a smaller package, and–for that number, they were fairly cheap, so–150 fat bubble tea straws later…
They arrived on Thursday. On Friday we had time to play, so we experimented!
I wanted to see if we could cook the boba in apple juice instead of water, or water with added syrup.
Here’s our recipe:
- 1 cup tapioca boba
- 3 cups apple juice
boil on high for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn temp down/off for last 5 minutes, put on lid. Don’t forget to stir! (this is not a project you can walk away from the stove and ignore).
Allow to sit/rest off the burner for about 5-10 minutes more.
Drain/rinse using cool filtered water, then drop the plumped balls into more cool water, swish around, and rinse again. Drain thoroughly, add to the tumbler of your choice, add ice, tea (sweet tea concentrate works best), and milk or coconut milk, add a straw and serve.
A few notes: this package of boba balls has a hint of a smoky fragrance about it that reminds me somehow of molasses. Maybe that was the caramel flavoring?
Boiling in the apple juice didn’t diminish this odor or the flavor as much as I’d hoped. I want to try again with a conventional recipe, boil in water, and store in the fridge overnight in water and alternatively, a much stronger flavored syrup to see if either one makes a difference.
On the plus side, these boba were, however, as fresh and soft as guaranteed coming out of the vacuum pack, and they plumped up very quickly in the boiling juice.
You may not notice the flavor as much as I do, because I’m hyper-sensitized to flavors as well as everything else, but I do need to mention that I also had a very unfortunate reaction following drinking that glass of tea, and I’m not sure I want another one any time soon.
And these are Maria’s boba… I think I need to purchase more for me, and see if I can’t find some without that smoky flavor to them, even if I do have to boil them for longer.
Epilogue: last night the cats had a party in my cupboard! They found the straws, trashed the opened pack (72 remaining in it), and strewed them across my kitchen floor! I’ve had to hide the rest in a high cupboard they can’t get into…
Ah well… everyone’s had their fun now!
Turn off your ad blocker to view the Amazon links below for the tapioca boba and straws I bought, if you’d like to try them: