Not your usual kind of tea, Bubble Tea or Boba Tea is often blamed for being excessively sweet so we attempted a healthier twist to the favourite

How could a drink conceptualised as late as the 1980s in Taiwan become a sensation across the world? No, we’re really not getting into that in our blog today. Instead we are looking at the fun that comes with the bubbles in this exciting tea.

Bubble Tea or Boba Tea has many other names including Pearly Tea and also Tapioca Tea. The tea is supposed to have been the result of an accident — at least that’s one of the interesting stories behind the origin of this tea.

It is rumoured that one of the executives had accidentally slipped a tapioca pearl dessert into her brewed black tea. Since she did not wish to excuse herself from that important meeting, she took a sip from the dessert mixed tea and was quite surprised by how good it tasted. She shared the concept with her team and that is how Boba Tea became famous.

The most common form of the Boba tea today is as a milk-based slushie with tapioca pearls

When we started looking around for more ideas around Boba Tea, we discovered the common complaint against this otherwise popular form of tea, the sugar content. While some tea lovers complained of the liberal use of sugar which overwhelms the tea, others were not so happy about adding milk to their tea — bubbles or not.

As we set about looking for the perfect recipe to share without taking away the delight of this sweet drink and yet doing justice to the tea, we discovered that the process was anything but easy.

For one, we discovered that tapioca pearls that have not been boiled can turn out to be too chewy. Then, we discovered that if we do not get the measurement of sweetness right (I happen to have a massive sweet tooth), the tea will lose its taste.

Here’s a simple recipe that we finally mastered at work:
  • 2 grams of black tea
  • 1 cup of medium sized tapioca pearls (we got the white ones)
  • A medium sized pot (to boil water in)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 thick straw

By replacing the sugar with honey, a lot of unwanted sweetness can be cast away

The method:

Boil water and add the tapioca pearls to it. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. In another bowl, take the brown sugar and add it to 1 cup of warm water and mix until completely saturated, add the honey to this mix. After 10 minutes, remove the tapioca pearls from the heat and strain out the water. Add the pearls to the sweetening mix that you have set aside. Let it stand overnight in the fridge.

Next morning, cold brew some black tea. We have found Assam Second Flush teas to provide excellent results as it is a robust tea and doesn’t get lost when mixed with the sweetener.

Take a tall glass and add the sweetener soaked tapioca pearls to the base with as much of the mix that it comes with your spoon. Fill a third of your glass with the pearls and pour the cold brew tea over it. Relish the sweet tea with a straw to allow the chewy tapioca pearls through.

We tried using the Assam Second Flush tea (left) and a soon to be launched tisane (right) for our Boba teas

We found this version of Boba Tea quite tempting and satisfying without the guilt of the added sweetness. We look forward to hearing about your Boba Tea experiments as well.

Susmita Mukherjee


Vahdam Teas

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