Shooting through fat straws everywhere, the bubbles found in many refreshing iced drinks this year aren’t merely effervescent, but tangible spheres that you can chew. Known interchangeably as bubble tea, pearl tea, and boba tea, this Taiwanese import has even more flavors than names. Different varieties of tea are only the tip of the iceberg; additional fruit, milk, herb, and spice possibilities are endless. The unlikely textural contrast between milky liquid and toothsome tapioca makes for an irresistible treat, no matter the temperature outside.
Despite their proliferation, trips to Chinatown often end in disappointment. Most commercial offerings are prepared from powdered mixes with milk powder built in, with few options on tap. Luckily, it’s a snap to bypass all the questionable chemicals when you make your own boba-licious brew! Starting with more readily available clear tapioca pearls, the texture is slightly softer, but the experience is just as sweet and satisfying. Get ready for some serious refreshment; it will be hard to stop whipping up bubbling up once you start.