October 14, 2010

I was surprised to find bubble teas in several malls.  I saw it in the Woodbury Commons when I was there a few weeks ago.  I thought I could only find bubble teas from China Town.  Bubble tea is a funky thing. It’s basically regular English breakfast tea served cold with milk and sugar and some funky black starch balls in it.  I don’t know who invented bubble tea. It was really popular a few years back.  It could be some influence from Taiwan.  And they need to make new bigger straws because the black starch balls would not pass through regular skinny straws.  It’s really a weird drink but it got very popular.  I remember one time some of my Chinese friends were asking me to go out for a drink.  So I thought we were going to a bar. Wrong.  We went out for bubble teas.  Even though I wasn’t crazy about bubble tea, I thought it is something very simple that I can try at home.  So I bought a bag of starch balls from a Chinese grocery store.  Guess what?  It was completely my mistake that I didn’t read the cooking instructions on the bag.  I said 2 hours cooking time. I was like “WHAT?”  I didn’t believe it but it was really the case. Those starch balls took forever to get soften.  I think it may be fun to make it in a big batch for a party or something and have friends try out the funky tea, but making it just for one or two cups of tea, it’s not worth that effort.

Starch Balls for Bubble Tea
Boil starch balls in a big pot of water
Rinse starch balls in cold water
Brew tea
Add starch balls to the cold tea. Add milk or half and half

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Starch balls, 1/2 cup
  • English breakfast tea bag, 1
  • Half and half, 2 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 tbsp
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Water, 3 cups


  1. Read the cooking instructions of the bag of the starch balls.  Use a big pot of water, bring it to a boil.  Add starch balls in it.  Use medium heat.  Let the starch balls cook for 2 hours.  Not kidding.  Keep an eye on the water level.  Add more water if it gets drier.  Stir occasionally.
  2. In a separate pot, add 3 cups of water and ginger slices in it. After it is boiled, let it simmer for three or four minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Discard the ginger.
  3. Pour the ginger flavored water into a tea cup.  Add a tea bag, and sugar.  Let the tea brew for 5-10 minutes or.  Discard the tea bag.  Let the tea cool a little bit.  To turn that into a cold tea, you can either put it in the refrigerator and let it chill, or add a few ice cubes.
  4. When the starch balls are done, they should be completely translucent.  Rinse the starch balls in cold water.
  5. Add the starch balls to the cold tea.  Add half and half. Mix it well.  Serve cold.

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