Talk Boba

How to Cook Tapioca Pearls

Do you ever find yourself with a group of friends out for a great bubble tea in town and notice the same questions pop up around bubble tea? You know, questions like “is bubble tea healthy for you” or even “how do they make these bubbles?”

If you’ve heard the latter, “how do they make these bubbles,” then you’re in the right place. It’s actually quite simple and we’re going to teach you here, short and sweet! Like a small Thai tea with bubbles.

Cooking tapioca pearls for your favorite bubble tea isn’t as difficult as you may think it is. It’s really simple! There are just a few ingredients you need to get started. Read on for how to cook tapioca pearls for bubble tea. 

Cooking Tapioca Pearls with Store Bought Tapioca Pearls

There are three things you need to have before cooking your tapioca pearls. First, obviously you’ll need your tapioca pearls. You can find these in your local Asian supermarket, not your regular supermarket if you’re in America. (If you find tapioca pearls in a regular supermarket let us know of your rare find).

The second thing you’ll need is a pot of water. Any pot of water will work so long as you have enough water so that your store bought tapioca pearls can be submerged during the boil. Be sure that it is also a non-stick pot, this is what we use in the office a lot of time and it works well for us. There’s nothing worse than trying to clean boba pearls that have been stuck on the bottom of your pot. It’s way too tough! 

And third, you’ll need some sort of sweetener to add the flavor and overall taste of how your tapioca pearls will taste like. Generally, the sweetener is a mix of brown sugar syrup or caramel made from scratch. You can buy brown sugar syrup but if you have time and want to try a fun DIY project, you can learn how to make brown sugar syrup from Talk Boba. 

Tapioca Pearls in Bubble Tea

Like we mentioned before, you’ll need to find yourself a highly rated and reviewed tapioca pearl brand in your local Asian supermarket for the best tapioca pearls made at home. There are many brands out there as many suppliers create tapioca pearls that you can buy. We’d suggest buying these tapioca pearls based on some reviews and what mutual friends have told us.

Once you have your tapioca pearls handy, measure out a serving or two that you’d like to cook. Or simply measure out 100g of tapioca pearls to make things easy. If the package of tapioca pearls or boba that you bought contains a lot of excess tapioca starch or flour you can use a colander like this as a filter to wash the excess flour and starch off.

Just fill your 1-2 servings (or 100g) of tapioca pearls into the colander and run it under water for a few seconds to wash any excess starch off. We’d recommended using a baking sifter instead as we found that the holes of a colander can sometimes be too big and tapioca pearls can slip out. A great inexpensive sifter that works well (we tend to use this one a lot) is made from Neeshow. Once you have your tapioca pearls or boba readily prepared, let’s continue!

Pot of Boiling Water for Tapioca Pearls

Let’s begin preparing a pot of boiling water for your tapioca pearls to swim in. Any stainless steel pot that can hold up to at least 4 quarts or more of water is the perfect size. No need to get anything bigger, but anything smaller may be a bit too small.

This step is very simple as you can imagine. Simply fill your pot with water preferably to the amount of water that is necessary. You can typically find the exact amount of water required on the back of the packaging of your store bought tapioca pearls.

Once you have your pot filled with water, bring the water to a rumbling boil. Once your water is at a rumbling boil, which is typically at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius, turn the heat slightly (we mean slightly) down to a steady boil. From here you can add your tapioca pearls or boba that you bought from the store.  

Boil your tapioca pearls for about 20-25 minutes or however long the packaging says on the back of your tapioca pearl’s package. Some packages will take less than 5 minutes, so be sure to check your label. While your tapioca pearls are swimming in a very hot bath of water, we can begin the sweetener.

Sweetener for Tapioca Pearls

How do tapioca pearls taste? If you’re wondering how they have the sweetened taste usually, this is the reason why.

As your tapioca pearls are boiling for another 10-15 minutes, begin to prepare your sweetener to give your tapioca pearls the taste we all are familiar with. There are some different methods of sweetener you can utilize: simple syrup, brown sugar or even condensed milk.

Let’s stick with brown sugar for this one. If you have any brown sugar laying around the cabinets of your beautiful home, be sure to grab that. Otherwise, we’ll have to make a trip back to the grocery store and obtain some brown sugar. If you don’t want to trek back to the store, thanks to Amazon, you can buy anything and have it delivered the same day or next day. We really wonder how they can achieve this so well…

Once you have your brown sugar, mix a serving of brown sugar with a cup of water and bring it to a slight boil in a non-stick pot. Be sure to steadily stir your mixture as you slowly bring it to a boil. Once you start to see a slight boil occurring, turn down the heat to medium and begin stirring every so often for about 10 minutes.

The last thing we want is to burn the sugar and have it stick to the pot for the worst clean up ever… (we’ve been here before). 

After 10 minutes has passed, pour the mixture into your favorite bowl. Here’s one of our favorites, it reminds us of our child hood rice bowls. 

Bringing it All Together for Bubble Tea

Once the tapioca pearls have finished boiling and they have the right consistency we can begin mixing it all together. Strain your finished tapioca pearls and add it into the sweetener mixture that we just finished stirring around for 10 minutes.

Give the tapioca pearls and the sweetener a good stir when they’re both in the same bowl. Be sure to have the tapioca pearls submerged and completely covered with your brown sugar mixture too!

After giving it one last good stir, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes so that the tapioca pearls can settle and begin to soak up some of the sweetened brown sugar taste for each bite.

What’s the last step? You guessed it! You can begin serving right away with your favorite bubble tea flavor, we tend to like Thai milk tea and even taro milk tea. What about you?

Let us know what your favorite bubble tea flavor is and how you managed with cooking tapioca pearls or boba at home. If you enjoyed this and learned something new, be sure to let us know in our exclusive Talk Boba group where we share funny stories about our boba experiences good or bad.

Read other interesting boba and bubble tea articles here.

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