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Butterfly Pea Boba Milk Tea is delicious and (obviously) gorgeous, it’s also easy to make at home! With a few simple ingredients and some foolproof instructions, you can make a drink at home that rivals your favorite bubble tea shop!
Now, is this recipe authentic? No it’s not, but it tastes a lot like the drinks that you can get at bubble tea shops. Bubble tea (or boba tea), originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. This tea contains milk, brewed tea, flavors, and tapioca pearls (these are the bubbles at the bottom of the drink).
- Boba - starchy tapioca balls that are basically the star of this drink!
- Caramel syrup - you can buy caramel syrup here or you can make your own salted caramel syrup (leave out the salt if you want “regular” caramel syrup.
- Butterfly pea tea - you can get butterfly pea tea here. This tea is gorgeous and pretty neutral tasting, it can be a little bitter so it definitely tastes (and looks) amazing in lattes and dessert-y drinks like this boba tea.
- Milk - I used whole milk but you can use any milk you like: oat, almond, 2%, or skim.
What is boba?
Boba (also known as tapioca) pearls, or simply “boba”, are small, chewy balls made from tapioca starch. They’re mainly used in bubble teas, mostly notably created in Taiwan and since then they’ve become famous worldwide.
Where do you get boba?
As we’ve discussed, boba pearls are delicious and they’re the star of bubble tea - not only can you have a delicious drink, but you can chew on tapioca balls as you do it. In my opinion, bubble teas are preferable to going out for ice cream or some other dessert because you can simply walk, sip, and chew – there’s no worry about messes or melting…
You can get boba online, right here.
Boba area meant to be sipped through a thick straw, so definitely pick up a pack of those as well. I like these straws because they’re reusable.
Cook your boba pearls according to the package directions. then rinse them under cold water.
Toss them into the caramel sugar syrup.
Fill your glass with boba and sugar syrup.
Then add your milk.
Fill your glass with ice.
Top with your brewed butterfly tea (discard the tea bag).
Give it a gentle stir and serve! Be sure to use a big thick boba straw, or a spoon.
Substitutions + Variations
Boba - If you're looking for a substitute for boba pearls in bubble tea or other beverages, there are a few options for you to consider:
- Sago pearls: Sago pearls are similar to tapioca pearls but made from the starch of palm trees. They have a similar texture and can be used as a boba substitute.
- Fruit jelly or popping boba: Instead of using tapioca pearls, you can opt for fruit-flavored jelly cubes or popping boba. Popping boba are small, juice-filled balls that burst with flavor when bitten into, creating a fun and unique experience in your drink.
- Chia seeds: While chia seeds won't have the same chewy texture as boba pearls, they can add a similar visual element and some texture to your drink. Chia seeds also have the benefit of being high in fiber and nutrients (read: a little healthier).
- Diced fruit: Adding small pieces of fresh fruit, like mango, lychee, or strawberries, can be a visual alternative to boba pearls.
Caramel syrup - you can use homemade or store bought caramel syrup. I like to use homemade salted caramel syrup in this recipe because it’s delicious, but regular caramel or even a brown sugar syrup will work here.
Butterfly pea tea - you can get butterfly pea tea here. You can also use blueberry tea, strawberry tea, or orange tea in this recipe and (while it won’t be that purple-blue color), it’ll taste great.
Milk - I used whole milk but you can use any milk you like: oat, almond, 2%, or skim.
Notes about this recipe
Bubble tea, while fun and versatile, isn’t a drink for children. The bubbles/boba can be a choking hazard for young children so I don’t think it’s worth it to even attempt giving it to them.
Also, this recipe (as written) makes one drink. If you’re making this drink for two, or more, please adjust the measurements in the recipe card.
Yes, boba tea and "bubble tea" refer to the same beverage. The term "bubble tea" is more commonly used in some regions, such as the United States and Canada, while "boba tea" is more commonly used in other regions, including parts of Asia, especially Taiwan where the drink originated.
The "bubbles" in bubble tea refer to the chewy tapioca pearls, commonly known as boba pearls, that are added to the drink. Tapioca pearls are made from tapioca starch, which is extracted from the root of the cassava plant. The starch is mixed with water to form a dough-like consistency, which is then rolled into small balls.
Butterfly Pea Boba Milk Tea isn't caffeinated, but it depends entirely on the tea used in the recipe.
Yes, you can adjust the chewiness of boba pearls when preparing them at home. The chewiness of the boba pearls depends on how long they are cooked during the boiling process. The longer you boil them, the softer and less chewy they will become. Conversely, if you boil them for a shorter time, they will be firmer and have a chewier texture.
No, I wouldn't risk it for a few reasons - the tapioca pearls can be a choking hazard and often bubble teas (depending on the tea used) contain caffeine.
More boba recipes you'll love:
Boba-obsessed? Try these boba recipes!
Level up your boba by adding these flavored syrups:
Switch up the flavor of your boba recipes by using these syrups:
Butterfly Pea Boba milk tea
- ¼ cup boba cooked according to package directions
- 2 tbsp caramel syrup homemade or store bought, see recipe notes*
- ¼ cup brewed butterfly pea tea
- ½ cup milk
- Cook your boba according to the package directions, then drain and rinse under cold water.
- Toss your boba pearls with the caramel syrup and set them aside to soak up some of the flavor.
- While your boba is soaking in the caramel sauce, brew your butterfly tea and let it cool off a little bit (it shouldn’t be so hot it’s going to break your glass when you pour it in).
- Add the boba pearls and caramel syrup to a glass.
- Fill the glass with ice.
- Add your butterfly pea tea, then top with milk.
- Serve immediately.
1 cup water,
1 cup white sugar,
1 tsp vanilla extract,
½ tsp sea salt (leave out the sea salt if you want "regular" caramel syrup) INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Put the water and white sugar into a small saucepan and whisk it together over medium heat.
2. Whisking continuously, bring it to a simmer for 2 minutes, it should change color slightly.
3. Immediately remove it from the heat. (Don’t continue to cook it further because then you risk burning the sugars, and the mixture will become gritty).
4. Whisk in the vanilla extract and sea salt.
5. Let it cool and store it in an airtight container.