Lychee Bubble Tea

Have you ever had bubble tea? It's a super fun drink that you can find at some Thai restaurants, speciality shops and tea houses. I, personally, love it! It's a flavored tea with yummy squishy tapioca balls in it. You suck them up through a big fat straw and chew on them. I KNOW, if you haven't had it, it sounds crazy. But when you try it you may find that you're totally in love, if not obsessed with it!  

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I love going out for it but I have come to a few roadblocks recently. One: I was getting my regular and the lady told me that their non-dairy creamer stuff isn't vegan. But before the other person working there had told me it was. Ugh. Well, I shouldn't be drinking that crap anyway. I was looking at a few things of it in the store and it is full of fully hydrogenated palm oil. Which is basically pure POISON. Speaking of that stuff - it's also in the powered mixes that they use in the drinks.  Man, forget that. I can make it at home. And for a heck of a lot cheaper I found out. And without that death powder. Hooray! 

That's not me! It's the Mr. (hahhaha)

That's not me! It's the Mr. (hahhaha)

There are tons of potential flavor combinations but I decided to start with lychee! It's a super yummy sweet fruit that you can get in cans at your local Asian markets (or large grocery stores.) If you're SUPER LUCKY you can find them fresh. I never have. 

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This is my new favorite treat on nice summer days. I have a ton of flavor combination ideas and I can't wait to share those recipes with you too!  

If you want to make this but don't want to go out and find the tapioca pearls or you think that might be too WEIRD you can just make the tea base and serve it over ice! It's super delicious even without the bubbles!  

Lychees in light syrup - if you can find them in water grab that instead!

Lychees in light syrup - if you can find them in water grab that instead!

Lychee in syrup! Weird looking, maybe, but tasty!

Lychee in syrup! Weird looking, maybe, but tasty!

Let's talk purchasing this stuff, shall we? I found the things that I needed at my local Asian market.  You will need to buy tapioca pearls, bubble tea straws (they are really large so you can get the boba up the straw!) and lychee fruit there. If you can't find these things or don't have an Asian market close by you can always purchase online. I like Nuts.com because they list the ingredients. You can also buy the straws from them. Make sure you get tapioca pearls that are very simple and without unfamiliar chemicals and such. Make sure they are not "quick cooking boba" as they won't work for this recipe. I know it sounds a bit complex right now but it's not, and it's really worth it!

Dry tapioca pearls. These are black ones but you can find multicolored ones as well!

Dry tapioca pearls. These are black ones but you can find multicolored ones as well!

What the tapioca pearls (or boba!) look like when they are cooked. Kind of jelly like! 

What the tapioca pearls (or boba!) look like when they are cooked. Kind of jelly like! 

Making Bobas (bubbles, tapioca pearls, tapioca balls, etc! It's all the same!)  

makes 3-4 servings  

If you think that you will only have 1-2 servings within a 12 hour time period then feel free to halve the recipe. The bobas will turn hard and chewy as they sit so it is best to use them within 12 hours of cooking.  

  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (bobas)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup water

Heat the 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan until boiling. Add the tapioca pearls and stir for the first minute. Let cook uncovered for 15 minutes total. 

After 15 minutes take the pan off the heat and cover. Let sit for an additional 15 minutes. 

While the pearls are sitting make the simple syrup. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water in a very small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar is disolved. Take off the heat and let cool.  

Once the 15 minutes is up strain the pearls and pour into a heat proof storage container (I prefer glass.) Pour the simple syrup over them and make sure they are completely submerged. Let the tapioca pearls come to room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate until ready to use. Try to use them within 12 hours or they will become hard and unpleasant.  

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Vegan Lychee Bubble Tea

makes 1 LARGE serving (double, triple or quadruple this recipe as necessary!)

  • 1/2 cup canned lychee fruit in light syrup, drained
  • 1 bag of tea (black, rooibos or green tea works great)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or almond milk) 
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared tapioca pearls, strained from syrup (see recipe above on making boba!)  
  • 1-2 teaspoons simple syrup (that the bobas are stored in) 
  • ice if desired

Heat up the 1/2 cup water to just a simmer (or microwave for 1 minute) and add the tea bag of your choice. Let the tea steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. 

Meanwhile blend the lychee fruit and soy milk together until smooth. This works best with a high speed blender but I managed just fine with my immersion blender so use what you've got!  

Add the prepared tapioca pearls to the bottom of your glass and pour the lychee fruit mix over it. Add in the steeped tea (remove the bag first, of course!) and ice if desired. I usually taste it at this point and add some of the simple syrup that the tapioca pearls are stored in. Just a  bit will do. Drink up, eat up, and enjoy! 

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