Bubble (Boba) Milk Tea

Bubble tea – sometimes referred to as boba or pearl milk tea – originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, but has now become popular worldwide. It’s a refreshing and sweet drink that consists of black tea, milk, ice, simple syrup, and boba pearls.

What are boba pearls?

Made from tapioca starch taken from the cassava root, the small, dark-colored boba pearls sit at the bottom of the tea, adding a fun, chewy texture to the drink.

You can find quick-cooking boba pearls at most local Asian grocery stores. They will usually come partially cooked, and after boiling in water for a few minutes, the pearls will begin to soften. While bubble tea is often served with a wide straw to suck up the pearls, a spoon also works!

Bubble Milk Tea with Smith Brothers Farms

Bubble Milk Tea

Yields: One 16-ounce glass

What you need

Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


*Note: It’s best to use a robust black tea since the flavor can become weaker with the addition of milk. Try Ceylon or Assam, or a blend such as English breakfast.



Steep the two tea bags in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and put in the fridge to cool for at least four hours or overnight.

Simple Syrup

Combine ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water in a small saucepan and heat to boil. When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat off. Transfer to a jar once it has cooled.

Tip: Simple syrup can last up to three weeks if kept in an airtight jar in the fridge.

Boba Pearls

Follow the cooking instructions on the packaging.

Tip: The pearls are nearly finished when they start to float to the top.


In a large glass, add the boba pearls, ice cubes, followed by the tea and simple syrup. Stir in the milk, and enjoy!