Blissful boba: homemade bubble tea in the dorms

Nehal Ajmal, Maya Berle and Gwen Ma holding their fruit tea boba. Courtesy of Gwen Ma.

Missing those chewy tapioca pearls and sweet milk tea? Craving boba but can’t go off campus to hit up Twisted Soul? It’s time to start making boba in your dorm! Making your own boba is cheaper, more COVID-friendly and considerably more fun especially during the pandemic. 

My friends Nehal Ajmal ’24, Maya Berle ’24 and I are here to teach you how to make delicious boba drinks that taste exactly the same as the ones you get from your local boba shop. 

To make fruity boba tea, you’ll need fresh fruits, tea bags, juice, lychee tapioca pearls and boba straws. Nehal bought lychee tapioca pearls and straws from Amazon, I got green tea bags and juice from the pop-up store at Express, while Maya searched for free fruits on campus. Fruit-gathering proved the most difficult, as we wanted pineapples to add a tropical flavor to our boba drink—but the fruit cups from the Deece (should be called honeydew cups at this point) gave us only about one pineapple chunk each. We ended up using a Del Monte fruit cup Maya brought from home instead. 

Procedure for making tropical lychee boba tea:

Step 1: Boil water and drop in green tea bags.

Step 2: Cut fresh fruits into small pieces. Make sure they’re small enough to be sucked up through a boba straw.

Step 3: Pour juice of your choice (we used tropical mango and pineapple juice) into a pot and add green tea to taste. I would suggest tasting the mixture while you add more tea so that the fruit tea does not taste completely like juice. 

Step 4: Boil water again and put lychee tapioca pearls in when the water begins to bubble. The pearls will start on the bottom of the kettle but rise up to the surface when they’re ready. 

Step 5: Put boba pearls in cold water for 20 seconds and stir the boba while adding brown sugar. It should melt in the heat. 

Step 6: Scoop the gooey boba into a glass bottle. Add fruit chunks and then pour fruit tea into the bottle as well.

Step 7: Insert a boba straw, take a picture, and enjoy! (Putting it into the fridge is always a good idea if you want it icy.)

Tropical fruit lychee boba tea was a triumphant success, so Nehal, Maya and I decided to make strawberry milk tea boba with brown sugar tapioca pearls. 

Procedure for making strawberry milk tea boba:

Step 1: Boil water and put in black tea bags.

Step 2: Pour the FairLife strawberry-flavored milk drink from the pop-up store into a pot and add black tea to it. I suggest tasting the mixture as you add more tea so that the tea doesn’t cover up the strawberry flavor and vice versa.

Step 3: Boil water and put in brown sugar tapioca pearls when the water starts bubbling. Again, The pearls will start on the bottom of the kettle but rise up to the surface when they’re ready. 

Step 4: Put boba pearls in cold water for 20 seconds and then add brown sugar. It should melt in the heat.

Step 5: Again, prepare a glass bottle and scoop the gooey boba into the bottle. Pour strawberry milk tea into the bottle.

Step 6: As with the other tea, insert a boba straw, take a picture and enjoy! (Putting it into the fridge is always a good idea If you want it icy.)

You can always be creative when customizing your boba drink. For example, you can use the cookies and cream-flavored milk drink at the pop-up store to make milk tea boba and experiment with other juices as well.

Isn’t it easy? Though it takes about an hour to make boba tea, the taste is still worth it. The whole boba-making process is so much fun, especially when you get to observe the tapioca pearls growing bigger in the boiling water and when your friends’ jaws drop as they take the first sip of your homemade boba. In fact, it’s not just about making boba but about bonding with friends and sharing what you like with them. After all, I not only became a boba-making pro but also felt that I grew closer with my college buddies through this fun experience. 

Juliette Pope/The Miscellany News.

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