Celebrating Tapioca Day with Pearl Milk Tea Recipes

Pearl milk tea (some call it “bubble tea” or “boba tea”) is a sweet concoction that originated in Asian countries. The main feature is the layer of tapioca pearls lurking in the bottom of the glass, just waiting for you to suck them up through the straw and enjoy their chewy goodness. On Tapioca Day, therefore, it is fitting to prepare some of this style of tea beverage and enjoy it to the max. So, we have gathered here some great recipes found around the Internet. Enjoy!

Some Recipes Using the Pearls, Syrup, and Flavorings

Click on the photos to see the details for each delicious combination (if no details showing, please let me know since WordPress is dropping them, usually off of last image in each group):

The Basic Preparation Steps

You won’t need a degree from a cooking school for this, but making pearl tea will be a bit more involved than simply steeping up a potful of tea or even doing a cold infusion and adding tapioca pearls, etc. Not to scare you, either, since it definitely won’t be rocket science.

Time saving tip: Having some pearls in syrup ready ahead of time (they should last at least a week in the refrigerator) will help you enjoy a refreshing glass of pearl tea any time the fancy strikes you. You can also make up the tea mix (tea, flavoring, milk, and sugar) ahead and keep it chilled in the refrigerator to have available at a moment’s notice.


Tapioca pearls are made of starch from the roots of the manioc (yucca) plant. They are chewy and usually black, clear, or various colors (scroll down to see some of the options). The size can range from a pea to a marble.

  • Bring about 1.5 to 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Add ½ cup large tapioca pearls.
  • Cover loosely so steam escapes.
  • Cook 5 minutes on medium-low until water reaches a low boil.
  • Place cover on saucepan all the way and remove it from heat.
  • Let stand 15 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse pearls.

A great article on making tapioca pearls from scratch.

Click on images for details (if no details showing, please let me know since WordPress is dropping them, usually off of last image in each group):


  • Bring 1 cup each water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Pour into a bowl and let cool.
  • Add prepared pearls (see above).
  • Let pearl/syrup mix sit 15 minutes so pearls absorb some of the syrup (or refrigerate until needed).
  • Save some of the syrup for use in preparing a tall glass of pearl tea.


A flavoring of your choice, such as fruits, coffee, almond, and — of course! — chocolate. The variety is as wide as your imagination. We even came across one that used pumpkin puree.

Tea Choices

Popular options are a darker Oolong or a green Jasmine tea. But you can use your favorite tea and see how it goes. Once you have the pearls and syrup made and stored, the fun begins with trying different combinations (we included some below to help get you started thinking of possibilities).

Tip: The tea can be steeped ahead of time and chilled. Don’t use hot tea, since it will turn the tapioca pearls a bit mushy instead of them being chewy.


Pearl tea is usually served in a tall glass. Putting the ingredients together is simple. Use enough milk and sugar so that they dominate the taste (amounts shown here are typical of recipes we found).

  • Put ¼ cup prepared tapioca pearls in a tall glass.
  • Put 1 cup cold tea, 3 tablespoons soaking syrup, ¼ cup milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, your flavoring of choice, and with ice cubes into a shake-able container or blender.
  • Shake or blend until fully mixed and smooth. (If you are using a blender, the ice cubes will be more chopped up, giving a smoother texture.)
  • Pour over the tapioca in the tall glass.

Be sure to use a fat straw to suck up a pearl now and then as you sip the delicious mix.

Where to Buy Ready Made

Don’t want to make your own? We don’t blame you. This is often the type of thing to have once in awhile, especially considering the high quantity of sugar in them. (Sugar is fine to have in moderate amounts.) Fortunately, this style of tea drink is getting better known here in the U.S., so you should be able to find a place near you, especially if you live in a larger city, where you can get that occasional “fix”!

A few we found, just to give you a “taste” of availability (click on image for details – if no details showing, please let me know since WordPress is dropping them, usually off of last image in each group):

Find more places in the U.S. on this web site.

About Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca pearls are made of starch from the roots of manioc (yucca) plant. They are chewy, range in size from a pea to a marble, and come in an array of colors (depending on if food coloring was added or not). They have various uses (click on a photo to read what some of these are).

Click on images for details (if no details showing, please let me know since WordPress is dropping them, usually off of last image in each group):

A Word or Two Before Ending

Some folks caution against pearl milk tea, claiming that it is so high in carbs, sugar, and fat that you will swell up like a balloon from imbibing them. True if you have one for breakfast, another for lunch, and a third for dinner for months, and if your metabolize tends to be on the sluggish side. But you have good sense and free will and can have these treats in whatever quantity suits you. If you notice you are packing on the pounds, refrain from having more pearl milk tea until you get those pounds back off (best diet advice is to weigh yourself daily and be sure to get off any pounds that sneak on over night). A bit of common sense goes a long way. So does a pearl milk tea. Sip it slowly, savoring each mouthful (another great dieting tip – slow down and enjoy) and chewing each pearl.

Above all, enjoy!

See our article here for more about this fascinating and refreshing Summer way to enjoy tea.

© 2016-2020 A.C. Cargill photos and text


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