Attempting to make our favorite drink

November 14, 2018 — by Ava Hooman and Esha Lakhotia

Boba tea, composed of tapioca pearls and flavored tea, is really simple, yet boba shops charge five times the cost to make the drink and get away with overpricing leaves and sugar. The average price of a boba drink seems to be more than $4 at most Bay Area shops.

So after years of buying store-made bobas (and watching hundreds of dollars go down the drain), we decided to watch a few tutorial videos and attempt to make the drink ourselves.

We first watched "How to cook BOBA from scratch | Step-by-step guide," where we learned the basics of making tapioca pearls. We placed a $20 Amazon order that included tapioca starch, water and caramel maple syrup flavor.

As the minutes ticked away in Ava’s kitchen counter, we soon learned the process of making the pearls is quite time consuming. Of course, even before beginning to make the drink, we had to wait a few days for our ingredients to arrive. Once we had our ingredients, most of our time slipped by waiting for our water to boil and letting all the ingredients cook together for 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, our first batch of pearls turned out too hard because we forgot to place them in an ice bath after cooking, a mistake that made the pearls extra soft.

So we tried the recipe again, this time following the ice bath instruction, and our boba turned out great. They were much more squishy and had a more similar texture to store-bought ones. It was now time to add them into different teas.

We first made milk tea, which is simply black tea mixed with milk, and then we added the pearls. The drink tasted similar to store-bought milk tea but was much less sweet. This suited us as we usually request lower sugar levels at tea shops anyway. But the conventional extreme sugar taste can be achieved by simply adding honey into the tea.

Next, we made peach green tea from ice green tea and $12 peach flavoring from Amazon. We also added a few tablespoons of honey for more sweetness. Since we both usually order peach green tea flavor at boba shops, we were excited that our DIY version turned out  similar to the one we often buy, even if the process of making it wasn’t very convenient.

Even though it took a few hours to make and required a lot more labor than simply going to one of the dozens of boba shops around, the boba tasted even better knowing we made from it scratch.