Boba Tea is a delicious drink made with water, tea, milk, and chewy tapioca pearls, originating from Taiwan. There's a lot to love about boba tea, including the fact that it is naturally gluten free and extremely versatile - you can make and enjoy it with any set of flavors, including different fruits, spices, and teas! In this blog, we'll make Boba Tea with our own favorite tea - masala chai!
The earthy, spicy, and smokey notes of masala chai blend perfectly with the tapioca pearls. If you're craving this drink today, read along to find out how to make boba chai tea from scratch!
Homemade Masala Chai Bubble Tea Recipe (From Scratch)
Part 1: Making Brown Tapioca Pearls
Feel free to skip this part if you're store-buying your tapioca pearls!
- 100 grams Tapioca Starch
- 30 grams Dark Brown Sugar
- 75 ml Water
A small note: The darker the brown sugar (e.g. muscovado), the darker the tapioca pearls! If you'd like to recreate the almost black pearls found in-stores, you can also add in about 5 grams of cocoa powder.
- Boil 60 ml or about 3 tablespoons of water along with 30 grams of brown sugar in a small saucepan. Stir to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Sift the tapioca starch into a bowl, ensuring there's no lumps.
- To make green tapioca pearls, mix in 2-4 grams of matcha powder at this step.
- For black tapioca pearls, mix 5 grams of cocoa powder.
- For blue pearls, add about 3-4 grams of butterfly pea powder.
- Once the water is boiling (it should have a slightly caramel-like consistency and be bubbling), switch off the heat and let it cool for about 3 minutes.
- Once the liquid has cooled slightly, pour in about half of it into the bowl of tapioca starch.
- Wait for about a minute. During this time, a starchy, stretchy mixture should begin to form as the water activates the starches.
- Hand-whisk the starch and water.
- Add in the rest of the sugar-water, and using a spatula or spoon, fold the starch and water together repeatedly until a dough forms.
- If your dough is too dry and crumbly at this point, add in a tablespoon of boiling water.
- If the dough is too sticky or slimy, add about a tablespoon of starch.
- Transfer the dough to a smooth surface that is lightly covered in tapioca flour, and begin kneading it.
- Once the dough is uniform, split it into two equal portions.
- Roll out the dough-pieces into about 1cm sticks.
- Cut the sticks into 0.5 to 1 cm long pieces using a knife.
- Using your palms (along with a bit of tapioca starch to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers), roll the pieces into small ball shapes.
- Ensure all the tapioca pearls are well-coated in the starch.
Part 2: Cook the Boba Pearls
Note: To cook store bought bubble tea/boba pearls, we recommend following the steps listed on the packet to ensure that you're getting the right boba consistency. Boba chewiness can vary with different brands, different heating times, ingredients, and more.
Follow the steps below for cooking your freshly handmade boba pearls. Only cook as many boba pearls as you'll need at a time. Boba pearls don't last too long after cooking and tend to lose their texture, so it's best to cook them fresh when you want to prepare a drink. You can store the remaining tapioca balls in a dry, air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3a week.
- 8 Cups of Water
- 20 grams of Brown Sugar
- 10-15 Ice Cubes
- Boil about 6 cups of water in a saucepan.
- Add in the tapioca pearls prepared in the previous part and allow them to soak.
- Cook the boba pearls for about 5 to 8 minutes, depending on softness, on medium heat.
- Now on low heat with the lid on, allow the pearls to cook for another 5-8 minutes. You can let them cook for longer as well - up to an hour or two, with the heat turned off.
- The pearls are ready as soon as they start floating in the water.
- In a separate bowl, create an 'ice bath' with about 4 cups of water and 10-15 ice cubes.
- Using a slotted spoon, collect the pearls from the pan and add them to the ice bath. This is the step that gives the boba their chewy texture.
- Now, to sweeten and preserve the pearls, we need to make a brown-sugar syrup. Begin by boiling about 15 ml of water, and mixing in 20 grams of brown sugar.
- Reduce the water and sugar to a syrup by heating it on medium high heat for 5 minutes.
- Let the syrup cool for 10 minutes.
- Drain the pearls from the ice bath and add them to the syrup. Let the syrup soak into the boba pearls for 30 minutes.
You can choose to drain the pearls at this stage again, removing the syrup and transferring the pearls over to a tall glass.
If the amount of sugar syrup is less and you'd like to use it as a sweetener for your chai tea boba recipe, you can keep the syrup in and simply transfer the boba and syrup to a tall glass.
Part 3: Making the Masala Chai Base
- 1.5 Tablespoons of Loose Leaf ChaiBag 11 Spices Chai Blend or 2 Tea Bags
- 2.5 Cups of Water
- 1 Cup of Milk (Cashew, Oat, Soy, Dairy, or any Plant Based Milk)
- Sweetener of choice - 1 Tablespoon of Brown or Granulated White Sugar, or 1/2 Tablespoon of Honey
- Boil the water in a saucepan or kettle.
- Once the water is boiled, transfer it to a glass and add in your ChaiBag masala chai blend. This blend contains 11 different chai spices and the highest quality black tea from the Darjeeling region of India - and makes for a flavorful and luxurious cup of Indian masala chai. It is also vegan and gluten free.
- While the water is hot, add in milk and your sweetener of choice (you can also add in a tablespoon of the boba brown sugar syrup you made previously.
- You can choose to make a dark masala chai boba with no milk as well! The taste of the spices will still be present, but the milk can help thicken the overall texture of the drink and often goes well with boba tea.
- Let the tea brew for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags. If you're using the loose leaf blend, strain the brewed tea into a separate cup.
- Let the masala chai cool completely.
Part 4: Assembling the Drink
Once you've made both your key ingredients, it's time to reward your hard work! You can now make your very own cup of chai tea boba!
- For this part, you'll need a glass with the cooked boba pearls from the previous part of this recipe, and the cup of cooled masala chai tea.
- Simply pour the masala chai over the boba pearls and slowly stir. This completes the masala chai boba tea recipe!
- To enjoy the final beverage, you'll need a large boba tea straw that is both long enough to get the boba pearls at the bottom, and wide enough to fit the pearls.
Pumpkin Chai Bubble Tea
Chai spices can be elevated with pumpkin spice - to make a pumpkin spice variation of this drink, you can add half a teaspoon of pumpkin spice powder to your tapioca starch before you prepare the boba pearls.
Vanilla Chai Bubble Tea
Vanilla chai tea is a delicious drink to enjoy in fall - and you can customize this recipe to make vanilla chai boba tea by adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the masala chai while its warm (not hot!)
Dirty Chai Bubble Tea
Dirty Chai refers to a mix of coffee and masala chai. To make a Dirty Chai Boba Tea, we recommend using ChaiBag's Dirty Chai blend when preparing the chai.