History Of Thai Tea Boba
In Thailand, the locals call this drink Cha Yen. Traditionally, the base is just made of black tea and milk. The Thais likely invented this drink around the 15th to 19th century. This invention was probably when British and Chinese immigrants settled around Thai trading ports and brought their caffeine habits.
But the addition of ice and dairy milk is an idea from Thai military commanders who enjoyed the Western way of drinking tea. They popularised adding these ingredients to Thai tea boba, giving rise to the way it is drunk in many Western countries now.
Locals usually brew this drink from a homegrown version of the Assam plant, Bai Miang. The stall vendors will blend the plant with a mix of ingredients, including orange blossom water, star anise, and crushed tamarind seed. The beverage is then infused with red and yellow food colouring. As Thailand is warm all year round, you will see that the drink is always served with crushed ice.
What Is Thai Iced Tea
In its simplest form- black tea, condensed milk, and crushed ice .
But then Westernized cultures got involved
How is Thai Tea different from Regular Black Tea?
Unlike black tea, Thai Tea is bolder and more flavorful. So whats responsible for all this amazing concentrated flavor?
Thai Tea is infused with star anise and cloves and sweetened with sugar or sweetened condensed milk.
Thai tea can be made two ways-
- From a pre-made tea mix which includes the coloring and the spices mixed in with the black tea.
- Or from simple, plain, strong black tea .
That bright orange color and all those spices? Those were added when Thai tea became more and more popular in Westernized cultures in order to set it apart from regular, plain black tea . In fact, in the early years of westernized Thai iced tea, chefs would add orange food coloring to really give it a bright orange hue.
The Thai boba recipe I am sharing here today was made using a mix. After all, Im American and this is what I know best.
What Is Thai Tea Made Of
Thai tea is made with strong black tea, hot water, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and sugar. It can be served hot or iced. Thai tea can be made in different ways, from different ingredients. Traditionally, its made with spices such as star anise, cardamom and cinnamon, but you can make it with pure black tea leaves as well. Tea used for making Thai tea is a special Thai tea mix made with black tea leaves, vanilla flavoring and yellow food coloring. But rest assured, even if you dont have the mix or want to make a 100% natural Thai tea, it will still taste delicious and refreshing.
The base of Thai tea is a cup of strongly brewed black tea. You will usually need to use about 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves per cup and steep them for at least 10-30 minutes. Since Thai tea is made with a lot of sugar, any potential bitterness from over-steeping the tea leaves will not be noticeable at all. Choose broken or CTC tea leaves to get the best flavor. Lighter black teas wont be suitable for making Thai tea.
You May Like: Renu Herbs Organic Tea Leaves
Why Make It At Home
You might be wondering why you should make bubble tea at home. After all, there are dozens of vendors in Southeast Asia, and many chains in North America and Europe. Why would you need to make it at home? Well, there are many good reasons to do so!
For one, store-bought bubble tea may contain many harmful ingredients, such as hydrogenated palm oil and dangerous chemical sweeteners. Even traces of chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have been found in some store-bought boba tea.
Another reason is saving money! Making boba pearls and the drink as a whole at home is much cheaper than buying them from shops.
In addition, homemade tapioca pearl drinks can be more versatile in flavour and type than those bought from shops.
However, we think that the most convincing reason is that you can control the calorie count that is in your cup of boba drink. When you are your own bobarista of your bubble tea drink, then you can fine-tune the ingredients and their amounts to best fit your taste buds, but also your current diet plans!
We at Honest Food Talks think that homemade is better than store-bought, which is why we have written this ultimate guide!
Whats The Difference Between Milk Tea And Bubble Milk Tea
Different areas of the world have different forms of milk tea. In its most basic form, milk tea is just tea with milk. Its frequently black tea, but it can be any type of tea with any kind of milk. And it can be served hot or iced.
Bubble milk tea is iced tea served sweetened with milk or cream and boba pearls.
Read Also: Who Makes The Best Earl Grey Tea
What If Thai Tea Is Too Bitter
Sometimes the thai tea mixture can be too bitter for some peoples taste. Everyone has a different level of taste sensitivity and thus, the astringency of the tea can be overwhelming. So how to make thai tea less bitter? Its easy. Heres a few suggestions:
- Perhaps you over-steeped it. This means that the leaves were soaking in the hot water for too long. We suggest steeping the leaves for about 30 minutes but not longer than 1 hour. Most of our readers have had lots of success with this recipe and timing!
- If youve already made the mix, then add a little more water to the mix until it tastes more balanced.
- Or if youre going to brew the mixture, use about 30% of the tea leaves.
- You can add a little more of the half/half or cream to soften the astringency. Youll have a creamier thai tea drink, but thats still quite delicious.
- Add more ice to water down the drink.
Thai Boba Tea From Scratch
To make a Thai boba tea from scratch you will need black tea, which you can find anywhere and use your preferred type. You will be adding spices to the tea to get the right flavor for a Thai tea.
You will need sugar or some type of sweetener in order to get the right flavor profile for the tea.
Star anise, whole cardamom, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, turmeric and vanilla or almond extract will finish out the flavor profile to turn your standard black tea into a Thai tea.
Sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are going to give you the creamy texture that your tea needs to be a true Thai boba tea or milk tea.
Read Also: What Is The Best Green Tea For Health
How To Make Thai Iced Bubble Tea
If you like sweet and creamy bubble tea, you will love this recipe. The key to getting Thai style bubble tea just right is to let the tapioca pearls soak in syrup for at least 2 hours so that they absorb the sweetness. It is also essential to use number one brand Thai tea leaves we have tried lots of different tea blends but this is head and shoulders above the rest.
So if you have been struggling to find bubble tea just like the one you had in Thailand, give this simple recipe a try!
Cant Find The Ingredients At Your Local Store? Click The Links To Buy Online
- 2 tbsp Thai tea leaves
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp condensed milk
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh milk
- 2 tbsp evaporated milk
Step 1: First we need to make the syrup for the bubbles. Add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a saucepan, and heat on a high heat. Keep stirring and heating until the sugar dissolves in the water, then set the syrup aside.
Step 2: Next we need to make the bubbles. Bring about 1 litre of water to the boil, then pour in about 2 tbsp of tapioca pearls. Let them cook for about 10 minutes whilst stirring occasionally to stop them sticking together. Once they are done, drain them from the water, and add them to the syrup we just made.
Step 3: Let the bubbles soak in the syrup at room temperature for at least a couple of hours, as this will sweeten them.
Step 6: Next add 1 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of condensed milk, and 2 1/2 tbsp of fresh milk to the jug of tea, and stir thoroughly.
Why This Is The Best Thai Bubble Tea
- Authentic recipe: I learned how to prepare Thai Milk Tea many years ago when visiting Thailand, so this recipe is as authentic as it gets.
- Fragrant aroma: Thai Tea is incredibly rich and fragrant, so this drink is an absolute joy! The condensed milk and evaporate milk add extra creaminess, making it one of the best milk teas out there.
- Easy to make: Although it sounds complex, Thai Bubble Tea is very easy to make and only takes minutes.
- Perfect with spicy food: Thai Milk Tea is great for soothing your tongue after eating spicy Thai food. The cold and milky drink is the best combination for soothing your taste buds after eating flaming hot food.
- Great for hot summer days: If the weather gets as hot as Thailand wherever you are, this Thai Iced Tea is guaranteed to cool you down.
- Looks amazing: The vibrant orange colour of the tea makes a really beautiful milk tea!
You May Like: Does Detox Tea Work For Alcohol
Does Thai Iced Tea Have Caffeine
A lot of our followers ask us if Thai iced tea has a lot of caffeine, and that answer is yes and no. It really depends on the type of method used to make the tea.
For example, if you were to use decaffeinated tea then there will not be any noticeable caffeine. In other words, decaf teas or coffee still have traces of caffeine but not enough to experience its effects. Its very difficult to achieve 0% caffeine in an already caffeinated beverage.
On the other hand, if you were to use regular black tea leaves, then there is likely caffeine in the Thai iced tea. But there wouldnt be as much as coffee. Generally, boba shops will use regular black tea leaves, so its safe to assume your Thai iced tea will have caffeine.
What Is Thai Milk Tea Made From
Thai milk tea is made using Thai Milk Tea Mix which should be differentiated from Thai Green tea Mix which is for a totally different drink.
Thai Milk Tea Mix contains a blend of herbs and spices and coloring that make Thai Tea somewhat unique. It is ready mixed tea with herbs and spices which makes it easier to make the drink and there are several brands with slightly different taste profiles.
After the tea is brewed a mix of evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk is mixed together and added to the brewed tea together with sugar and creamer into a glass filled with ice. On top of that, frothed evaporated milk is added!
For an added twist you can also replace the condensed milk with coconut cream or part coconut cream and coconut milk for a different tasting, but equally creamy tea.
Don’t Miss: Kung Fu Tea York Pa
What Is Boba Thai Tea Made Of
Just like any other bubble tea, this one is also made of tapioca pearls, milk, sugar, and tea. But for this recipe, you can’t use just any type of tea the main ingredient in this recipe is Thai tea.
Of course, the ingredients can be changed to different ones depending on what you like. For example, you can use whole milk, almond milk, oat milk, or even swap it for cream.
How To Make Boba & Bubble Tea At Home
To make boba and bubble tea, you need bobas. My family and I often buy our bobas at Woo-Ri Mart, a Korean grocery store in Princeton Junction, NJ.
The bobas/bubbles are also available on Amazon.
To make the bobas, we first put them in boiling water and cook them according to the packages directions. We usually make a whole bag at once my daughters have no problem with eating up the leftover boba.
After we cook the boba, we drain them and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of sugar you can add as little or as much sugar as you like. If you have more time, the Numi Tea Blog suggests soaking your boba overnight in a simple syrup or in honey.
We brew Thai tea from teabags for Thai bubble tea. For a glass of Thai tea, I let the teabag sit in boiled water until it cools.
When I make my Thai boba tea, I use about 2-3 tablespoons of 2 % milk. I pour the tea into a glass filled with ice and then add the boba. How much boba you add is up to you I tend to like fewer boba, while my daughters like more boba in their tea.
I also stir in 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how decadent I am feeling!
For matcha boba tea, we fill about 1/4 of the glass with ice. We then fill the glass to about half way with cold milk. We add cold water, leaving some room for boba. We mix 3-4 tablespoons of matcha tea powder in. . This green tea powder is already sweetened, so theres no need to add sugar.
Check out the full recipes and the recipe video at the end of this post!
Don’t Miss: What Does Detox Tea Do
What You Need To Make Peach Bubble Tea
This Bubble Tea is made from only 6 simple ingredients: black or green tea, sweetener, peaches, vanilla extract, tapioca pearls, and milk. I chose to make this recipe with maple syrup so its naturally sweetened, but you can also use cane sugar or brown sugar see the recipe notes for more info. I also like to add a little ground ginger to the peach syrup to add a subtle spice, but thats technically optional!
You can find all of these ingredients at your favorite grocery store with the exception of the tapioca pearls, or boba. I purchased mine online, but you can also probably find them at an asian grocery store or market near you.
Finally, you will also need a few other kitchen tools:
- Fine-mesh metal sieve: I prefer to strain my peach syrup through a sieve instead of using a blender this makes a silkier syrup with less fiber. You could blend the syrup as well see the recipe notes for that variation
- Dont forget the straw! Bubble tea is traditionally served with a wide straw that accommodates the size of the tapioca pearls. I bought a set of these Reusable Metal Bubble Tea Straws and use them all the time, even when Im not drinking boba!
Popular Types Of Bubble Tea
Since each ingredient has a bunch of choices, it can be overwhelming the first time you decide to try a bubble tea.
Im not an expert in statistics, but it seems like there are almost an unlimited amount of combinations of ingredients!
There are almost an unlimited combination of bubble tea flavors.
The first time I went to a tea shop, I had my friend order for me because there were SO many choices and options.
If youre new to boba, Id start with this classic choice:
- Milk tea with tapioca pearls sweetened black tea with milk and tapioca balls.
But if youre adventurous, there are many popular bubble tea flavors to try.
The recipe below is for this classic kind of tea drink.
Read Also: What To Mix With Long Island Iced Tea
How To Make All
Using organic black tea bags instead of the Thai tea mix: We also tested another version with pekong black tea bags and the flavor was still great. Only thing missing was the brilliant orange color and the subtle hint of sweet vanilla. If you want an all Natural Thai tea blend, heres one weve found.
Either way, find your way into the kitchen to make yourself a batch of this restaurant style thai iced tea thats homemade. Make yourself a big batch asap. Were not joking. Make this now and let us know what you think. And remember, make it your own and play with the different levels of sweetness and creaminess.
Thanks Auntie Chung for the homemade Thai iced tea inspiration.
Soak The Tapioca Pearls
The first thing that you need to do is soak the tapioca pearls. If you bought the pearls in a bag, take out the amount that you want to use and put them in a bowl of cold water. Let them sit for about an hour.
If you are making your own tapioca pearls, put them in a pot with water and let them soak overnight. The longer they soak, the more plump they will be when you cook them.
Also Check: What Is The Best Brand Of Green Tea To Drink