Recipe: Bubble Tea


It’s no secret. I have a bubble tea addiction.

One of my favorite things to do while visiting Portland is to visit Fat Straw with my little brother and sister. When I was visiting them during my college breaks, we used to go to Fat Straw with their nanny. But I think my aunt, Chrysanne is the real person to blame for my bubble tea addiction. For my birthday in 2011, she gifted me ingredients and a recipe to make bubble tea at home, and let’s be real, it was downhill from there.

Last semester one of my favorite places to study was Zero Degrees in Bloomington. It was a great study spot, but when I did some math, I was embarrassed at how much money I was spending on bubble tea. It’s okay every now and then, but three-four times a week adds up quick at almost $5 before tip. (I had to study outside of the house while Ries watched Gus at home, so you usually have to buy something.) The other issue I encountered with their bubble tea is that the flavored teas have a lot of junk in the (flavor) syrup, and being someone extremely sensitive to sugar, corn syrup, etc. I almost always experienced an eczema flair up after my bubble tea indulgence.

So after a few years of only buying bubble tea, I went back to making my own, and I thought I would share my recipe with you so you could save a little money! I do include the flavor syrup in the recipe, so you can choose to include it or omit it based on your preference. If you want to tell your friends you don’t use it, but hide it under your kitchen sink, I’m not judging.




(Because this matters to me.)

Cost estimates per serving:

  • Flavored syrup $18.47/64 servings = $0.29

  • Green tea $ 10.38 for 32 bags/16 servings = $0.65

  • Boba $ 5.50/4 servings = $1.38

$34.35 total, $2.32 per 24 ounce serving

(To put something in perspective, in Bloomington it costs $4.81 for a 16 ounce bubble tea. So you’re getting almost twice as much for half the price.)

Ways to reduce this price: I don’t use flavor syrups when I make my own bubble tea at home because they have a lot of unhealthy ingredients in them. I like using flavored teas and sweetening them with sugar, so that would cut the initial cost in half. You can also purchase cheaper tea.



  1. Boil the water and steep the two tea bags in 12 ounces of water. (Find the steep time on your tea bags.)

  2. Once you remove the tea bags from your tea, pour the tea into a larger cup (this recipe makes about 24 ounces,) add the syrup to the tea, and mix well.

  3. If you would like iced bubble tea, place your flavored tea in the freezer while you prepare the tapioca pearls.

  4. For the tapioca, boil 5 cups of water in a large pot. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium, add the tapioca to the pot, and stir.

  5. Wait until the tapioca floats to the top and cover for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  6. Add the tapioca pearls to the cup.

  7. Fill the cup 1/3 of the way with ice or add water to dilute the tea to your liking.



I really like Steaz organic teas (they are flavored and unsweetened or lightly sweetened) and I have been able to purchase them for about a dollar each. While this doesn’t save you money, it may be more convenient or a healthier alternative to the flavor syrups. You would just make the tapioca pearls and add them.

Don’t forget you’ll need a fat straw! I purchased these reusable straws and love them.

Hope you love this recipe.


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