Sarah B’s Bubble Tea

Sarah B's Bubble Tea // My New Roots

I get some pretty interesting recipe requests from you, my readers, and although I receive far more than I could ever fulfill, I do like to rise to the occasion. I am especially inclined to answer the call if more than one person asks for the same thing: gluten-free vegan lasagna, healthy cookies, and easy breakfasts are just a few of the cravings I’ve tried to satisfy.

It seems that over the past year, bubble tea has become a popular item for health-ifying, and I’ve gotten several emails about this very thing. How can we take a pretty sugar-laden, artificially-coloured-and-flavoured beverage and turn it into something beneficial, light, and refreshing? Here I am to the rescue!

But can I make a confession? I’ve never actually tried it before. Most of the time I do my research in order to gear up before making something out of my wheelhouse, but this time it was just too much to swallow. I actually did go to a teashop though, with my best intentions to sample a bevy of bubbles. I walked in, saw all the crazy colours, dubious “juices” and syrups, pulled a 180 and headed straight to the health food store instead. I did leave with bubble tea straws, of course. That much I know is essential.

So, that all said, if I get this totally wrong, I do apologize. This is my version and I quite like it. Sarah B’s bubble tea is not pretending to by anything other than what it is – a bubble tea all its own.

Bubble Tea

Tapioca Pearls of Wisdom
What makes those darn bubbles anyway? It’s tapioca, in fact. Tapioca is the dried starch from the root of the cassava plant, a tuber native to South America. It has a naturally sweet taste, which is why it is so often used in candies and desserts, most familiar of them being tapioca pudding. Tapioca also the amazing ability to absorb and thicken liquid. Being naturally gluten-free, it is has become a popular gelling agent to use in foods, as opposed to fillers containing wheat. You can use tapioca flour / starch / powder in place of arrowroot or cornstarch in most recipes.

Tapioca is a staple food in many countries throughout the world due to its high concentration of carbohydrates, low levels of fat and dietary cholesterol, and its vitamin and mineral balance. Key nutrients in tapioca include calcium to support bone health, magnesium to help control inflammation, phosphorus for protein synthesis, and vitamin A for glowing skin.

You can find tapioca at most health food stores where it is often sold in powder, flaked, or pearled form. For bubble tea, look for large pearls instead of the small ones that are typically used to make tapioca pudding. Make sure that the only ingredient in the pearls is tapioca starch, and organic if possible. Many “novelty” pearls contain food coulouring and flavouring agents, and it’s best to avoid those for obvious reasons. Natural peals are pure white and are almost completely flavourless, except for a hint of sweetness.

Sarah B's Bubble Tea // My New Roots

Peaches and plums have just come into season, so I’ve decided to use those as the fruit base for my teas. You can use whatever is available where you are of course, and match the brewed tea flavours accordingly. I chose chamomile to pair up with the peach and green tea to go with the plum. These were really delicious combinations, but are by no means the only options. Rooibos would be tasty with peaches too, and maybe jasmine with plums? I’m just guessing here – get creative!

Sarah B's Bubble Tea // My New Roots

So what else do you want to know about? What other kooky experiments will you have me diving into? Bring ‘em on! If you are so inclined to send me an email, type “recipe request” as the subject line and I’ll squirrel it away for a time when I’m a bit stumped for what to make next. And you never know, I may just answer your call.

Hope you are all having a gorgeous summer! Sorry for the radio silence on my end – I’ve been giving the cookbook so much attention, it’s hard to keep the blog up to speed. I promise it will be worth the wait though. Good golly am I excited!!!

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Show me your bubble tea on Instagram: #MNRbubbletea

41 comments

  1. Pingback: FIVE FAVORITES | RACHEL IN FLIGHT
  2. Victoria Pierce

    I love bubble tea! I used to have it all the time at Uni as the shop was right by where I lived! They did really lovely combinations and the peach with passion fruit bubbles was my favourite. Brilliant for a summers day (and so soothing with loads of ice after a night partying!)

  3. Simone

    In Indonesia they make a drink called Tjendol, this has something similar to the tapioca pearls in it (for a recipe example: http://jackiem.com.au/2014/03/18/how-to-make-cendol/ our recipe is different to this one though) when I first drank it (many years ago) I found it the strangest thing I had ever eaten (I ordered it because of the strange colours and look hahaha) now I love it. So I “get” the tapioca pearls. This tea sounds delicious, even without the pearls.

  4. Alice

    hi sarah, i am just writing to let you know that ella of deliciously ella is pretty much copying some recipes and your whole blog/video style. it’s such a shame that she’s monetising on your hard work. please investigate

  5. Gabriela

    Hi Sarah,
    I am a big fan of your work, thank you for the time you put in every post.
    However I do have a question, trying to make some of the recipes I have used a converter for the measurement. But then I notice that CUP, TBSP and so on is used both in US, UK and Canada. And they are not the same converted to dl, ml and so on. Witch one do you use? I tried to find it in the “about” but could not find it anywhere.
    All the best,
    Gabriela

  6. Jocelyn

    I just made this. (Mango coconut flavour!!) I picked up some tapioca pearls at an Asain food store. They are black and contain xanthan gum, guar gum and caramel. I’m going to look for some better quality pearls and try again.

  7. Annie

    Taiwan, birthplace of the original bubble tea, has already health-ified this drink with many options such as basil seed, chia, bitter melon, etc. May be worth a research visit for those interested!

  8. Julia

    Dear Sarah,
    I must ask… It is the second time I notice your beautiful ring… By any chance, could you share where you found it ?
    Thanks a lot, and above all, thanks for this oh so inspiring blog !

  9. Jana

    how AWESOME-tapioca for bubbles, you rock our food-gourmet-world; sending u hot love+hugs from Greece&Sofia….cant wait for your book, tons of good vibes+bon courage and again MERCi b for all these gorgeous recipes!

  10. Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen

    Confession: I’ve never had bubble tea because all those colors seriously freak me out (I laughed as I read your description of visiting a teashop). BUT I’m absolutely in love with your take on this drink! It looks refreshing and tasty. Now the only challenge will be to find large pearl tapioca here in Finland…

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Sini

  11. Alexandra D

    I LOVE bubble tea, but it makes me sad that most bubble tea shops use lots of sugary syrups with so many artificial additives. Thanks so much for the recipe to make at home! Also, I adore your pinky ring in the first image (so cute!) Where is it from?

  12. Maritza

    What a lovely and easy recipe. I will give it a go.Thanks Sarah. Can’t wait to have your book.Keep enjoying your summer.

  13. Marieke

    I tried the coloured, sugary bubble tea from the tea shops once and I didn’t like it at all. My body just rejected all the artical flavours and I kept thinking this would be so much better if it were made from fresh, natural ingredients, but I never tried it myself. Thank you so much for the recipe Sarah, I’m going to try bubble tea again and I am sure I will enjoy it much more this time!

    As for a recipe request, I would love to see a healthier croissant, but maybe that is just not possible ;)

  14. Via

    Hi Sarah! So excited for the cookbook!! When will it be released? Will it have all new recipes or will it have a couple of your most popular recipes on the blog as well? Cant wait!! :)

  15. Prana

    Hi Sarah,
    This looks fantastic!
    I was wondering, do you discard the water that the tapioca pearls are cooked in before adding them to the sweetened fresh water, or do you just add them with the cooking water?
    Thanks!

  16. Helena

    Yay!! This year I’ve been craving all things..uh, gooey/slimy. Which includes bubble tea. But always drinking bubble tea from the chinese tea shops here in Montreal makes me worried about where their boba comes from.

    I’m having difficulties finding a brand of large white tapioca pearls, all I can find are the small ones. Mind telling me what brand you bought? I’m trying to figure out a way to buy from Frontiercoop as they have organic medium tapioca pearls, but they’re all sold out on their site! :(

    Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Claire

    Do you know how long do the pearls last for in the fridge? This looks delicious! Bubble tea is my daughters favourite treat, so I’ll definitely be trying this out at home!

  18. Emma

    This looks absolutely amazing Sarah! Living in Toronto, Bubble Tea was everywhere and it was amazing – finally a healthy recipe I can make myself here back in the UK!

  19. Renee H.

    This looks very refreshing! I love bubble tea but it usually too rich and sweet for me. I really like the teapot you have in your photos, where is it from?

  20. Medha

    In Vancouver, we have bubble tea shop in every corner though I never tried one. They look little intimidating to me with their funky colors! Thanks for your easy and healthy recipe – can’t wait to try!

  21. Tess

    When I visited my friends in Chicago, they took me to an authentic Asian noodle house. When we walked in, it was shoulder to shoulder at the tables! You could barely walk between the rows. The entire back wall was shelving filled with fresh fruits!!! It was more amazing than the best produce section!!! When we sat down, my friends gave me this huge menu filled with hundereds (literally) of different “bubble teas”. I had never heard of this, so they explained. The bubble tea there was like a fruit smoothie with tapioca pearls in it!!! You could choose your fruits, juices, & types of pearls. I had watermelon with the plain white pearls. When it came, it was pureed frozen watermelon with the pearls. It was the most divine thing I’ve tasted!!!

  22. Erin

    What a great idea! I’m hosting a garden party this weekend, and think I may just add this to the menu. Thanks, Sarah!

  23. Alyson

    This looks so yummy! I use to love bubble tea and would buy it all the time when I use to eat dairy and haven’t enjoyed it in years because of no longer eating that. I never thought to make it myself. I’m so excited to get to enjoy this again. Thank you Sarah!

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