Boba has become increasingly popular in the past few years. People are always looking for how to make boba at home, or how to make boba without a machine. This post will help you learn how to make boba from scratch at home!
We will start by discussing how many types of boba there are and where they originate from. Then we will go over a simple recipe to make boba pearls for your favorite drink!
We will also talk about how to store your homemade boba pearls so that they last longer, as well as how long the average batch lasts before it starts deteriorating. Finally, we'll talk about whether or not boba is healthy for you, and more!
Depending on the context, boba can refer to the bubble tea drink, or the pearls that sit at the bottom of your drink.
For example, if your friend says "Let's go get some boba", that usually means you are getting bubble tea.
But if you are at the store choosing the toppings, you will notice that some of the toppings are called black boba, crystal boba or popping boba. In that case, boba refers to the chewy pearls that we all love!
To add to the confusion, there are many other names people use to refer to bubble tea, such as boba tea, milk tea, pearl milk tea, and so on. Check our post if you want to learn more about the differences between bubble tea vs boba.
So to summarize, boba can mean bubble tea, which is a drink usually made from a milky tea base (but not necessarily, such as fruit bubble tea or taro milk teas), some sort of sweetener, ice, and some sort of chewy or squishy pearls sitting at the bottom of your cup. Or it can mean the different types of boba pearls.
By the way, the most popular type of boba pearls are tapioca pearls made of dark brown sugar.
This will be the focus of this post.
Boba is originally from Taiwan, and since its introduction in the 1980s, it has grown in popularity over the years. Besides that, we don't know much about the origin of boba, because different people claim they invented it.
You can also thank the Dutch, as they brought tapioca starch (from the cassava root, a South American plant) to Taiwan in the 1600s.
Or maybe don't thank them, colonization was a horrible thing but tapioca pearls are a silver lining here!
Now that you know a bit more about boba, let's make homemade tapioca pearls!
In this recipe, we will make black tapioca pearls (brown sugar boba) featuring a heavenly molasses flavor. We will also prepare a brown sugar syrup to add to your milk tea and to store any remaining tapioca balls.
This is a recipe for 6 servings. You can proportionally reduce the ingredients, but we recommend larger servings because making boba from scratch is time consuming (and you want it to last for at least a few days!).
Also, this recipe is less forgiving for a smaller batch. For example, if you are making boba for a single serving, a small mistake in the measurements can make a big difference!
Now that you have gathered the necessary ingredients, let's get started. This is going to be a bit tedious but the results hopefully make it worth your time.
Phew, that took some time! The worst is over, and now it's time to cook the pearls!
Almost there, this final set of steps should be relatively easy!
Thankfully you can easily modify the above recipe to make clear tapioca pearls! Just swap the brown sugar with white sugar.
I'm not much of a sweet tooth so I would reduce the amount of sugar if using white sugar, since white sugar is sweeter than brown sugar. However, if you love sugar, by all means...
Well, this one will require a bit more work than the clear tapioca recipe modification. But it's still straightforward. Use these ingredients.
For the boba pearls
Then replace Step 1 from above by:
"To a small pot, add the white sugar, matcha powder and water, and heat over low heat. Mix well until the sugar is fully dissolved."
That's it, not too hard right?
First, making boba from scratch at home will give you more control. For example, you can set the size of the boba pearls, how sugar you want to use, and how chewy you want them to be!
Over time, you will be able to experiment and fine-tune the recipe above to make the best brown sugar boba for YOUR taste buds.
Another advantage of making your own boba is that you know exactly what goes into them. Some of the pre-made or store boba may contain additional preservatives and additives that we simply cannot pronounce.
The advantage of store-bought boba is of course convenience. You won't have to spend a big chunk of your day making these!
Another advantage is consistency. I'm not a chef by any means, so sometimes the boba pearls turn out to be really good, sometimes not so good.
If you want to simply make classic pearl milk tea without the fuss of manually hand-rolling the pearls, we recommend these pre-made boba pearls by WuFuYuan. They take about 5 minutes to prepare!
If you click this link & purchase, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!
There are two ways to store them. The first one is to let the uncooked tapioca pearls dry out first, then put them in the freeze in an air-tight container. Under these conditions they can last for 2 to 3 months.
However, if you already cooked your homemade boba pearls, and made the wise decision to not have them all in one go, you can still store them for a few days. Just make sure you store them in the brown sugar syrup and put them in the fridge, or even more appropriately, a boba mini fridge! They should last for 2 to 3 days.
Not really, we wish they were! Their main ingredient is tapioca, a starchy carbohydrate, packing lots of calories. They also pack lots of sugar. So make sure you consume them in moderation!
According to the USDA, 16 ounces of boba contain 299 calories, 38 grams of carbs, and 38 grams of sugar (1).
You can make your boba healthier by using less sugar. An alternative is opting to have crystal boba, which is made from Konjac and packs less calories. However, this is an entirely different recipe.
You can use instead crystal boba, which does not contain tapioca. Or you could choose popping boba instead. Check our popping boba recipe here.
We hope that you enjoyed this post and that you give making boba pearls from scratch a shot!
Let us know how they turned out. We are curious to see how our recipe stacks up to your favorite boba shop, and we are always looking to improve.
Happy bubble tea making!
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Do not consume any type of tea if you are allergic to it. The information in this article is not intended to treat serious medical conditions. Please seek professional medical advice before using home remedies.