Monday, May 10, 2010

Chai Latte Bubble Tea

My first experience with bubble tea was a few years ago in San Francisco. I was curious about it.  Gummy balls mixed with tea? It is not for everyone.  My first taste was loaded with anticipation. The tea was good and then I'd slurp up a ball. The balls in bubble tea are tapioca, so it's nothing truly exotic or gross. The balls are basically flavorless, so sipping the tea and chewing was novel.  Justin and his brother had fun shooting them at each other and nearby things.


Bubble tea sometimes goes by other names like tapioca pearl tea or boba tea. I found some tiny tapioca pearls at the market on Oddie when I last went to buy glutinous rice.  They were so cute!


You can also make juice drinks or plain teas with these tapioca balls.  Eric loved them, so I may end up sneaking them into soup just to get him interested in soup (I'm kidding. Sort of. He really doesn't like soup. Weird kid? Probably.)

There happens to be a pho noodle restaurant close to my house that serves bubble tea and awesome gigantic filled crepes. Justin doesn't really like to go there, so I decided to make the bubble tea at home for myself. I already have a great crepe recipe, it's just nice to have someone else do all the work cooking them sometimes.

Ingredients
For the tapioca pearls
1/2 cup tapioca pearls
1 quart water
For simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
For the Chai tea
equal parts: Tazo chai tea concentrate or cooled chai tea brewed from a tea bag, per serving
equal parts: milk per serving

Method
1. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Add the tapioca pearls.  Cover and let simmer 20 minutes.


2. Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Let boil about 3 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool and pour into a bottle. This is your simple syrup.


3. Remove tapioca pan from heat and let the tapioca pearls soak about 15 minutes.

4. Rinse the tapioca pearls under warm running water using a mesh colander. Let drain.


5. To make drinks, spoon 3 tablespoons of tapioca pearls into bottom of a glass. Add 2 tablespoons simple syrup. I let them sit about 3-5 minutes so the pearls aren't stuck together.


6. To the glass, add the chai tea and the milk. You will probably want 1/2 to 3/4 cup each. Mix. Serve with a thick straw.

7. Refrigerate leftover tapioca pearls and simple syrup.

Note: I recommend Celestial Seasonings Chai teas if you want to brew tea from a tea bag. I love the Decaf Sweet Coconut Thai Chai and the Honey Vanilla Chai. Also if you want a shortcut on the simple syrup, just skip step 2 and use a bottled vanilla syrup, like Da Vinci or Torani.