Boba & How to Assemble Milk Tea with Tapioca

I still remember when my best friend Pam introduced me to boba. I was like 13 and we were in Chinatown. All she said was try it and my life changed.

And then a tea place opened 5 minutes from Mumika’s house and I’ve been going there for 12 years. 12 Years! It opened my senior year of high school. And it’s gone through an owner. When I lived in Houston, I literally went there once a week. I was there so much that I didn’t have to order and my drink was made by the time I ordered.

And then I moved up here, central Texas, where there’s only two places that make it. They make it wrong and charge an arm and a leg. $4.60 for milk tea with tapioca. Are you serious?!?!?!?! One place adds the weirdest stuff to the milk tea. It’s powdered creamer mixed with coconut milk or almond milk or something. I can never get through it because it tastes so rancid. And I get depressed because all I want is one good milk tea with tapioca. Is that so hard to ask?

Boba was created in Tawain in the 80’s. It then came to the states and launched into the greatness that is bubble tea. Boba is actually rather large balls of chewy tapioca also called black pearls. It is an acquired taste that not many Americans can handle. Especially if you are the texture eating kind of person. My husband hated the tapioca as well as my cousin from England and my other cousin from Puerto Rico. My uncle from Puerto Rico loves it and every time he’s in Houston, he goes there.

I am very particular about my milk tea with tapioca. It has to be the perfect amount of sweetness to chewiness to creaminess.

So when I moved up here, I had to learn how to make milk tea with tapioca. I’m not driving 30 minutes to pay nearly 5 bucks when I can do it at home. I went to the local Asian market and by a pure miracle, found black pearls. Only cost me $2.79 for a bag. And then one day, nearly 7 months later mind you, I got the balls to attempt to make it.



1/2 cup black pearl tapioca
5 cups water
simple syrup (1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar – heat water in microwave until boiling, add sugar, stir until dissolved)


Bring water to boil in a saucepan.

While doing that make simple syrup and cool it in the fridge.

Slowly pour black pearls into the boiling water, stiring as you pour.

Watch the pearls plump up and float to the surface.

When all the pearls float to the surface, lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. Cook for 7 minutes.

Uncover and spoon out pearls into a container.

Pour 1/4 cup of simple syrup over the pearls and use immediately.

Makes 3 milk teas with tapioca. Per milk tea. Calories: 113, Carbohydrates: 30 grams, Sugar: 8 grams. 

The first time I made it, I was so excited that I didn’t cook it all the way through. If you don’t use the boba immediately, you can refrigerate it until you need it. Microwave the container for a minute. So if you don’t cook them all the way through, the microwaving will do it for you.

The second time, I didn’t make the same mistake and it came out amazing. I feel like a pro now. Maybe I’ll open my own shop up here. We do need a cool smoothie, coffee, tea, café place.


Why do I make it, because I love it and like Dr. Pepper, I will not and cannot give it up. I’ll just have to fit it in my plan somehow.



Pour sweet tea in a pint glass.
Add boba (I do 3 tablespoons).
Add milk and stir.
Top with some ice.

Makes 1. Calories: 225, Carbohydrates: 52 grams, Sugar: 37 grams, Protein: 4 grams.

This is not diabetic friendly. AT ALL. However, if you are going through a low, this would bring your blood sugar up easily.

OMG. This is absolutely amazing. Why didn’t I learn how to do this years ago? Seriously? Why? Oh right, I lived down the street from the place I got it from and was perfectly fine with paying $3.25 for it.

But still.

I feel like I’ve accomplished something amazing in my life. The rest of my life could go completely wrong, but that’s okay, because I know how to make boba.

Pamina tried to make this years ago and said it was hard. So it must be the brand of pearls I found. The packaging is in yellow and on the back has the directions in English on it.

Now I can make this whenever I want and that’s sort of comforting in a way. Also, I’m controlling everything. I used to have to take a gamble with the amount of sweetness in it or ask to half the sugar. Even then, it would make my blood sugar soar. My blood sugar may still soar, but at least I know how much sugar and carbs I’m sucking down and chewing.

So happy.


3 thoughts on “Boba & How to Assemble Milk Tea with Tapioca

  1. Pingback: Italian Cream Stuffed Strawberries | The DIABETIC Kitchen

  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be
    actually something that I think I would never understand. It
    seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your
    next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!


  3. Pingback: Simple Syrup | The DIABETIC Kitchen

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