Tea Additives for the Daring Drinker

Ahhhh, tea…the traditional British drink that early American settlers brought across the ocean. Who would have thought that this traditional tea drink would become such a daring and novel flavored treat on both sides of the Atlantic?

The tea drink, also known as as Boba, Bubble and Pearl Tea, originated in Taiwan where the staunchest of tea drinkers live. In the 1980s, Taiwanese workers would plan to drink a refreshing cup of tea after a hard day at work. Tea concessions were plentiful and each competed for business. To make their tea more refreshing, the tea sellers added fruit-flavored infusions into their teas. In 1983, Liu Han-Chieh added a distinctive twist to the fruit infused teas. He added juicy ‘papioca pearls’ (tapioca) to the bottom of the drink. Thus, creating the first Bubble Tea (Boba, Pearl Tea). The Bubble Tea name came from the froth at the top of the drink that occurs after shaking it. Boba means tapioca.

To try different tea flavors, here are a few recipes that make teas with unique additives, but without the preservatives that one gets in the specialty Boba Tea Shops. The recipes given are healthier and cheaper than

Make the tapioca ahead of time – remember that those small pearls double in size when cooked.

Milk Tea Boba

2 cups boiling water
1 teabag of strong English black tea, or Earl Grey tea
Sweetener of your choice or use sweetened condensed milk instead of
Milk or cream
Prepared tapioca pearls

Preparation: Prepare the tea as if making a cup of hot tea. Steep the tea until it is unusually strong. Place the sweetener of your choice and the milk or cream. Pour the hot tea over the sweetener and milk or cream mixture. The drink can be served hot or cold. To make the cold version, add ice or put the cold tea mixture in the freezer.

Green Tea Boba is made the same way as the Black Tea Boba. Use green tea instead.

Blender Fruit Bubble Tea – 5 -6 drinks

Brew green tea ahead of time, then add the sugar (or sweetener of choice) and prepared tapioca.

2 cups green tea and 1/3 cup sugar add prepared tapioca and refrigerate until needed.
4 cups of melons of choice: cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon, cut into chunks.
4 cups ice cubes
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup coconut milk or milk or cream.

Using a blender or food processor, combine ice cubes, melons, orange juice and coconut milk (cream or milk, if preferred). Process until smooth. Add the green tea and tapioca mixture in a glass and serve with a straw.

Variations: Instead of melons, use pistachio ice cream (omit the sugar), with a black tea base.

Tea has changed over the years and with daring new additives a flavorful tea drink emerges.