Thai Iced Tea with Boba [Thai Bubble Tea]

Chris and I love the Thai Iced Bubble Tea that we get at Hanco’s in Park Slope but the 45-minute trip isn’t always possible. Since we are snowed in tonight I decided to make some.

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Preparing the Boba (bubbles) takes a little over an hour but it’s worth it since you can prepare it ahead and keep it in a mason jar or storage container in the fridge for a few days.   Note 1/21/17: I’ve made it twice since then and it looks like you can’t make it ahead of time and store overnight, the boba lose their gummy chewy consistency and regain the grainy tapioca feel.

This is absolutely delicious and sweet and creamy. It’s really strong so be prepared to miss out on some sleep if you have it late at night! You can cut the ratio of tea to water and also shorten the steeping time if you prefer.

I get my Thai tea mix (actual tea leaves, not a powder mix) on Amazon, it’s Pantai Norasingh – Thai Tea Mix (Net Wt. 16 Oz.). It’s our favorite but I wish they made one without so much food coloring! We tried some organic brand but it just didn’t taste like Thai tea at all, more like chai spices. Thai iced tea has rich flavor, and almost a hint of chocolate flavor to it. It’s so good.

I get the boba (black tapioca pearls) from Nuts.com and the only unusual tools that you’ll need are a tea sock strainer and bubble tea straws.

Serves 6 (large glasses) or 8 (small glasses).  

Boba (Bubble) Preparation (can do this ahead)

  • Boil 8 cups of water (in a pot on the stove) for 1 cup of black tapioca pearls; if you like a lot of bubbles in your bubble tea then double this. I prefer it doubled; 12 cups of water for 2 cups of black tapioca pearls
  • When the water is boiling stir in the pearls (gently, the pearls are fragile before you cook them!)
  • Allow to boil for 25 minutes, uncovered, stir occasionally
    • While the pearls are boiling away you can make the simple syrup (to sweeten the boba and for storage)
      • Simple Syrup:
        • 1 cup granulated sugar
        • 1 cup light brown sugar
        • 2 cups water
        • Put water and sugars in saucepan and bring to boil
        • Turn off heat and let sit [we will come back to this after the boba are ready]
  • Back to the boiling boba pearls. When 25 minutes are up, turn off the heat on the boiling boba and cover the pot and let it sit for 30 more minutes
  • When that’s done gently pour boba into a strainer to drain the water
  • Pour the pearls into the simple syrup and let them soak for 15 minutes
  • Now the boba are ready for use or, if you’re making the pearls ahead of time, you can pour the syrup and boba into mason jars to store in the fridge for a few days.

Thai Tea Preparation (strong)

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 to 1 cup Pantai Norasingh – Thai Tea Mix (Net Wt. 16 Oz.) – depends on the strength. Note 1/21/17: They called for 1.5 cups and it was like a drug, we couldn’t sleep at all and felt crazy jittery! I think I prefer 3/4 cup but I have also tried 1 cup and that is good too. 
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 tea sock strainer
  • 2 pitchers (2 quart size)
  • 1  14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • Boil 6 cups (48 oz.) water in a kettle
  • Put 1.5 cups of Thai Tea Mix in a large pitcher (it will just fit in a 2 quart pitcher) and pour in boiling water. PLEASE be careful! Don’t use a glass pitcher unless you have one that is made to withstand extreme temperatures. If you don’t want your tea to be strong you can cut it down to 1 cup of tea mix for the 6 cups of water.
  • Allow it to steep for 5 minutes
  • Get a second pitcher (for serving) and a tea sock strainer (it catches even the tiniest pieces of tea leaves) and, while holding the strainer up in the new pitcher, pour the tea into the strainer.
  • Discard tea leaves
  • Pour in the full can of sweetened condensed milk and stir
  • Allow to sit and cool for a bit

Assembling the Bubble Tea

  • Put ice cubes in 16 oz glass (about 1/3 way up)
  • Strain prepared boba and scoop about 1/4 to 1/3 cup into each glass (the bubbles are my favorite part!)
  • Pour tea over ice and boba
  • Put a Boba Straw in the glass (they are thick enough to allow the boba up)

Enjoy!