bubble tea

Bubble tea: what is this drink and how is it prepared?

We have already talked about this in our article about trends of 2019: together with Bulletproof coffee and Cold Brew, Bubble Tea is one of the most fashionable drinks of the moment, which has only recently arrived in Italy, after its success in the US and many other countries.

With one point two million posts on Instagram (with hash tag #bubbletea), this cold tea really seems to be the drink of the moment; but what are its ingredients and where does the original recipe come from? In this article, we will be answering these questions and we will give you a recipe for preparing it.

Bubble tea, a trendy drink  

Bubble tea cos'è

The literal translation of this name would imply that it is a “tea with bubbles”, but actually it has nothing to do with bubbles at all, or rather, they are not its main feature. Actually,  Bubble Tea is a kind of tea with milk added, which forms little bubbles on the surface (since the drink is shaken before being served): nothing particularly strange up to now, right? The tradition of serving tea with milk is a long-time and consolidated one. But what makes Bubble Tea really special is the edible pearls of tapioca, which, in terms of their look and consistency are vaguely reminiscent of marshmallows. Tapioca is nothing other than a type of starch, extracted from the root of the Manioca plant, which is very common in certain tropical areas. 

What do the tapioca pearls look like?

perle di Tapioca

These pearls which enrich Bubble Tea can have either a darker, almost black color, or be  transparent, when they are raw. To use them in this preparation, they are boiled until they become soft: that way they absorb the various syrups that they will be immersed in before they end up in the tea cup! 

Indeed, the tapioca pearls, do not have a particularly strong taste, but they need something which gives them a little bit of flavor and sweetness: food syrups of all possible flavors and varieties that the tapioca pearls are immersed in up until the Bubble tea is prepared and served.  At this point, the pearls are arranged on the bottom of the glass that will contain the tea. The function of the pearls is not so much to give flavor, but to add consistency to the drink and give it a unique look. 

Bubble tea: la ricetta per prepararlo in casa

There are so many potential variations of this drink, because you can vary all of the elements that go to make it up and create new mixes. For example, as a base you can choose a green tea, a black tea or a white one, but there is no reason why you couldn’t also use a matcha tea , for example. One of the best things about Bubble Tea is its versatility, which gives you different and colorful (and instagrammable) results every time. Today we are bringing you the recipe for Bubble Tea using black tea and almond milk. 


  • 1.76 oz of white tapioca pearls 
  • 33.81 fl oz cold water 
  • 1 teabag of black tea 
  • 6.76 fl oz of almond milk (alternatively you can use oat milk)
  • 2 ice cubes 
  • sugar (to taste)


  1. Soak the tapioca pearls in cold water for around 1 hour.
  2. Rinse the pearls and cook them for 10 minutes in 16.91 fl oz of boiling water.
  3. Leave the pearls to cool and then drain and put them in the hot tea with sugar already added. 
  4. Add the almond milk and enjoy your Bubble Tea.
  5. For a more refreshing and summery version of Bubble Tea, you can add some ice or  fruit extracts. 

Bubble tea ricetta

The origins of Bubble tea

To tell you the story of the origins of Bubble Tea we can start with its name: as we mentioned earlier, “Bubble” refers to the bubbles on the surface of the drink, but it is also connected with “Boba”, the Taiwanese term for tapioca pearls. It was in Taiwan, in the 1980s that Bubble Tea first originated. At that time, it was created as an after-work drink, to refresh and revive after a long working day. It would also appear that it was created almost by mistake, when a typical Taiwanese tapioca-based dessert, “fen yuan”, was accidentally spilled into some cold tea.   

Bubble tea: where to buy it 

Seeing the success of this drink, it is also now possible to buy this drink in Italy in many places, some specializing exclusively in Bubble tea, especially in cities like Rome and  Milan. Obviously there is huge potential for personalizing these drinks: they can be made  with a wide range of different ingredients, both as a base and as syrups.  

Did you know about Bubble Tea? Have you ever tried it?

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Il team redazionale del blog “Laboratorio dell’espresso” è composto dagli esperti di Filicori Zecchini: tutti professionisti che mettono a disposizione la loro competenza nei vari ambiti di specializzazione, dalla formazione, alla consulenza, alla creazione della migliore offerta per la vostra attività.

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