Cooking bubbles (or boba, for the precise!) ~

I made boba tea this week. A first for me! Growing up in Thailand, we called it ‘bubble’ or ‘fish eye’ tea (apt, I still think!). It’s one of my favourite ways to drink cold tea.

This first foray wasn’t an unqualified success: despite following the directions to the letter, my boba turned out crumbly, not chewy. Hmmm… I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I’m going to try again. Maybe soaking it/ boiling it longer…?

I also wasn’t happy with the tea I chose. I’d wanted to replicate my much-loved Thai tea. Since I didn’t have ‘authentic’ Thai tea, I looked up what it’s made from. Pretty much black tea, vanilla, and orange food colouring. So I used a vanilla tea I have (Harney’s now-defunct Vanilla Comoro, although they do still have a vanilla black tea), and made it extra strong. Still too weak, I think.

So I put the leftover boba in a lovely double-walled glass tumbler, with a huge square of ice, and poured my homemade fruit blend. This is the one I wrote about here, where I tried to replicate the much-missed Teavana Winterberry. That was much tastier!

But I’ve ordered ‘real’ Thai tea – the brand most of Google recommends, Pantai brand, which I hope will help with at least the tea portion of the equation. And I’m planning to boil the boba for longer. We’ll see how this all works out!

In Thailand, when I was a kid, street vendors sold Thai bubble tea in various sized baggies, complete w/ boba and a straw. They’d swarm the high school where I went, and you could buy a pint or so for a nickel or so. Then drink it on the way home, tossing the baggie before my mother saw I’d imbibed UNFILTERED ICE. Let me tell you – THAT was a sin, in my mother’s book. But to this day, bubble tea is a cold tea drink for me. And it’s almost always coupled w/ Thai tea – sweetened w/ condensed milk, and served over ice. Shades of my childhood!

This is common knowledge among my family, so it should have been no surprise (although it was) when my beloved bought me a lovely boba tea set for Christmas. It came complete w/ large metal boba straws, 2 tins of tea, and a package of do-it-yourslef bubbles! It’s taken me this long to work up the courage to mess up…😉 Anyone else get that way?

There you have it: the first chapter in what I hope becomes a a successful chapter on making bubble tea. Have any of you made boba tea yourselves? Any tips for me?

Published by: Britton Gildersleeve

Writer Britton Gildersleeve grew up in Southeast Asia, moved to the Middle East when she married, and returned to Oklahoma to raise her two sons. Now that they're grown, she and her beloved live in Virginia, where she can be closer to sons, daughter-in-law, & grandsons. Sometimes she hears voices, so she writes ~ And she drinks a lot of tea.

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