This was so much fun. The first time I saw bubble tea was when I was in Bangkok when I was 16, visiting a friend. She was showing me around town and offered me a bubble tea. I tried not to screw up my nose. I never understood tapioca as a kid. It always looked like tadpoles to me. I didn’t understand these oversized tapioca ‘pearls’ either. They looked like oversized tadpoles. I remained sceptical for years. But one day I bit the bullet. A friend of mine ordered one, a simple black milk tea with pearl. I asked if I could try some. I was instantly hooked. The sweet milky tea was surprisingly good, but, o, the joy of silky black pearls sliding up the straw; chewy tapioca goodness. It’s really very bad, but you know, it’s just so good! When I lived in the country, the lack of a bubble tea outlet was one of the harder things to deal with; then too, when I moved to Canberra. But they finally opened one in the Canberra Centre. Anyway, this evening, oddly, I decided to try and make it myself. It turned out great! I feel much less guilty about it because I used honey to sweeten, real milk, and fresh brewed black tea. Essentially, knowing all the ingredients are real makes me feel much better about it. I used the seed tapioca commonly available from the supermarket. This saved me the trouble of having to find the pearl tapioca and meant I could use my ordinary sized straws to drink it.
Brew the teabags in a very small quantity of water. When you have a strong brew, remove the teabags and dissolve in the honey. Meanwhile, cook the tapioca according to packet directions. When they are completely transparent, tip into a sieve and rinse under cold water. Stir the sugar through the tapioca. Fill two glasses with ice. Divide the tapioca between the two glasses. Fill each with milk, saving enough room at the top to add the tea. Pour over the tea. Stir and enjoy with your favourite coloured straw.
Experiemtn with the recipe, using different types of tea, different types of milk, or fruit juice instead of honey or another sweetener.