Similar to a smoothie, Boba tea (or “bubble” tea) is a wildly popular drink originating in Taiwan.
The beverage is a mixture of tea, milk, sugar, and flavoring that often comes in aesthetic pastel colors. The boba refers to the chewy tapioca balls that are added to the drink and give it its uniqueness.
Boba tea is a staple of Asian cafes and restaurants. And whereas you can order this drink from Boba Guy’s companies, you can make it at home – too.
My recipe for strawberry boba tea includes fresh strawberries, green tea, dried tapioca pearls, and milk. It’s the perfect drink to make for friends and parties.
You’ll never go to a cafe again once you realize how simple it is to make this strawberry milk tea recipe. By following a few easy steps, you too can create Instagram-worthy bubble tea.
What Exactly is Boba?
Boba is the name for the tapioca balls found at the bottom of bubble tea drinks. Tapioca balls are made from cassava starch, and cassava is a South American root vegetable.
Boba was originally used as a topping in shaved ice desserts, which are popular in Asia. Milk tea is another popular drink in Asia, and eventually boba got added to these tea beverages. From there, bubble tea was born!
Sometimes, the whole drink itself is just called boba. But really, boba tea can have many different kinds of additions, not just tapioca balls. Some drinks include mango chunks, or coconut jelly instead.
Where Can You Buy Boba?
Boba is actually way easier to find than you might think. Boba is bought dried and is then rehydrated before use. Most Asian grocery stores will carry it, or you can find it on Amazon.
If you can’t get a hold of boba in either of these places, you can also make it at home yourself! Check out this recipe for making boba balls from scratch using tapioca flour.
Tips For The Best Strawberry Boba
- Choose the right tea. Since it is the basis for your strawberry boba, I like to choose a strongly flavored tea. A robust tea like jasmine is perfect, since it will eventually be watered down with milk and ice. In this strawberry bubble tea recipe we use green tea, but you can use whatever tea you like best.
- Only cook the amount of boba balls you need. Cooked tapioca stiffens up as it cools down, and it doesn’t store well. The only way to keep boba pearls soft is by leaving them in warm water.
- Don’t drain the hot water once you are done cooking the pearls. When you make strawberry milk tea, keep the boba pearls in warm water until they’re ready to be used. This way, the pearls retain their soft texture for a longer time. I use a slotted spoon to get them out of the pot easier. Keep in mind that boba pearls like to stick together, and sometimes stick to the pot!
- Add any sweeteners when the tea is hot. It’s easier to blend honey or granulated sugar in hot liquid. Even better is to use simple syrup, so you can adjust the strawberry boba sweetness more easily.
- Skip the sweeteners. Because everyone has different preferences for sweetness, I recommend having each person add however much sweetener they want into their drinks.
Strawberry Boba Recipe
- Prep Time10 min
- Cook Time20 min
- Total Time30 min
- Yield2 cups
- Make Tea
Boil water in a kettle or pot. Once it reaches a rolling boil, pour hot water into a mug with a green tea bag. Steep tea for several minutes until desired strength, remove bag, and set aside to cool.
- Cook Tapioca Pearls
Use a separate small saucepan to boil water. Add dried tapioca pearls and cook until pearls are soft. Check the package instructions for exact cooking time.
- Cut Up Strawberries
Use the fruit knife to trim stems from fresh strawberries. Cut strawberries into pieces and add to the blender. If you don’t have fresh strawberries available, frozen strawberries will work too.
- Add Ingredients to Blender
Pour 1/2 cup of creamer into the blender with the strawberries. Add sweetener, ice, and brewed tea. You can adjust the amount of tea, depending on how strong you want your strawberry boba.
Once ingredients are added, blend. The consistency should be smooth and slushy, with no big pieces of ice or strawberries.
- Assemble Your Drink
In a tall glass, add a layer of the cooked tapioca pearls to the bottom. Pour the blended strawberry mixture on top of the tapioca balls. Serve your strawberry boba tea with an extra big straw!
How To Store Strawberry Popping Boba Tea
Strawberry boba tea is one of those drinks that I find is best served immediately. If you want to store some for later, then keep the beverage mix and the tapioca pearls separate.
To store the beverage, simply pour it in a container and refrigerate. For the boba, it’s best to keep them at room temperature. Place the boba in a jar and cover with sugar syrup to prevent the pearls from sticking together.
Avoid keeping boba pearls in the fridge. They harden in the cold and won’t be any good later. Keep in mind that once cooked, boba pearls get mushy after about 8-10 hours.
Making Strawberry Boba Tea Ahead?
The tea for your bubble tea can be steeped several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Since the blended drink uses crushed ice, it can’t really be stored days ahead. The ice will simply melt and water down your drink.
You can also prepare the tapioca pearls in advance if you like. Cook as much as you need, and place into a Ziploc freezer bag. Make sure the bag is flat before it goes into the freezer.
When you need pearls for your drink, simply break off a piece of the frozen tapioca balls. Place frozen piece in boiling water until it softens. Rinse under warm water, then simply add to your drink.
What Strawberry Boba Recipe Variations Are There?
- Just tea: Boba drink tea can be made without any cream or blending. These drinks use black or green tea as their base, and then just add sweetener and boba.
- Strawberry juice: instead of fresh fruits, some prefer to add strawberry juice. It doesn’t taste as authentic to me – but it also works.
- Vegan creamer: Many boba tea shops are now offering dairy alternatives to go into your drink. Doing this at home is even easier, since most grocery stores now carry soy, almond and oat milk.
- Flavored syrups: There are so many different ways to flavor boba tea, including syrups. You can buy flavored syrups at most cafes and grocery stores. This recipe would be perfect with strawberry syrup!
- Sweet add-ons: Instead of tapioca pearls, you can also try adding jelly pieces or popping pearls. If you want an extra decadent treat, try replacing the milk with heavy cream!
- Unique toppings: I recommend setting aside some cut up fresh strawberries and adding them to your strawberry boba tea. For some extra fun, try adding a scoop of ice cream, with a sprinkle of cookie crumbs!
- Powdered boba tea: While fresh strawberries always taste better, you can buy boba tea powders that you blend with milk and ice. A pre-made mix like this strawberry bubble tea powder is easy to make but won’t taste as natural.
- 1.5g Fat
- 31.4g Carbs