Homemade Boba (Bubble Tea)


Ella Henry

Pictured: Homemade boba with black tea and almond milk.

Ella Henry, Food & Culture Editor

There are many boba shops in Cambridge that CRLS students are familiar with, including The Boston Tea Stop, Kung Fu Tea, Bon Me, and many more. I missed boba during early quarantine when all of the restaurants were closed, so I learned how to make my own. 



Boba pearls:

1 cup tapioca starch + 2 tbsp for dusting and coating 

6 tbsp water

¼ cup brown sugar 

Simple syrup:

⅓ cup water

⅓ cup brown sugar 

Tea of preference (I like black milk tea or Thai iced tea)



Slowly heat the 6 tablespoons of water and the ¼ cup of brown sugar together (don’t go too fast or you will lose too much of the water in the form of steam). The sugar needs to be dissolved. Allow the mixture to boil, and then stir in ½ cup of tapioca starch. This should be done very quickly and you should only stir for 6-7 seconds before turning off the heat. Add the remaining ½ cup of tapioca starch and quickly mix until gathered. Knead the dough on a floured surface. The dough should be very sticky at first, so you can use a pastry cutter to help with this process. Knead the dough until smooth. 

Roll the dough into 4 long logs and then cut them into little squares. Roll each square into a circle (it doesn’t need to be perfect). Be quick during this process; once the dough cools down, it becomes difficult to handle. Cover whatever dough isn’t being used so that it doesn’t dry out. Toss your boba pearls in the remaining 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch and toss the excess. 

Heat the water and brown sugar for the simple syrup until all of the sugar is dissolved. Set aside for it to cool down. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (at least 6 times the volume of the boba pearls). Cook the pearls for 20-30 minutes depending on what texture you prefer, and then strain the water out. Rinse the boba pearls under cold water for about 20 seconds and pour into the simple syrup. Allow them to soak in the simple syrup for about 25 minutes before serving; this will make them taste sweet. 

Pour some of your boba pearls into a cup with some of the simple syrup, pour in your tea, grab a big straw, and enjoy!