Popped boba tea (or “bubble tea”) is one of those drinks that everyone seems to love, but it can be hard to find in stores or even on menus.
So we decided to put together this guide to help you get started.
What Is The Difference Between Popping Boba And Regular Boba?
The most obvious thing about bubble teas like popping boba is that they are made from tea leaves rather than just being flavored water.
You can often buy them at convenience stores, which makes sense because people usually want something quick and easy when they go out.
You also have options that include milk and sugar as well as different flavors.
This means that there are many ways to customize the flavor depending on what you prefer.
However, some restaurants offer only a few choices so you may not always be able to order exactly what you want.
When you pop your boba, it will come out all soft and bouncy.
If you leave it too long, however, it will become dry and brittle.
The longer it sits, the less likely it is to stay fresh.
That said, if you keep it in the fridge, it should last up to three days before starting to turn brown.
But you don’t need to wait until then to enjoy it! Here’s how to make it now.
What Is The Recipe For Popping Boba?
It all starts with a basic boba recipe.
You will need some tapioca starch (also known as glutinous rice flour), water, sugar, and vanilla extract.
The amount of each ingredient varies depending on how sweet you want your boba to taste.
You are going to boil these ingredients until they thicken up and form into little spheres when dropped from a spoon.
If you were making regular boba, you would drop them into hot boiling water and stir constantly so they don’t stick together.
Instead, here, you want to let them set on low heat without stirring while waiting for bubbles to form around the sides.
When the bubbles start forming, you know that your mixture has thickened enough to keep its shape after being poured out onto parchment paper.
Once cooled down, you should have perfect boba!
How Do You Make Popping Boba?
The basic ingredients are simple.
You need some boba noodles, sugar, milk, black pepper, and sometimes lemon juice.
Some recipes call for condensed milk as well.
The most important part of making popping boba is how you prepare your boba.
You can use either fresh or dried boba.
If you buy it from an Asian store, chances are they will have both options available.
Freshly made boba has more flavor than dried out ones, so it should taste better.
But if you don’t want to wait around for them to make their product, then buying dried boba is fine too.
Just follow the instructions below for making fresh or dried boba.
If you’re going to make your own boba, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups tapioca flour (not starch)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Black pepper (optional)
- Lemon juice (if using)
- A small bowl of boiling water
Once you’ve got all of your ingredients ready, mix everything together until it forms a dough-like consistency.
Then roll into little noodle shapes about 1/8 inch thick.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles or squares depending on the size of your boba pieces.
Next, dip each piece into the hot boiled water just enough to soften up the edges.
Remove them when they start to curl back up.
Let them cool down completely before dipping again to remove any excess moisture.
Repeat the process two times to ensure every boba piece is dry.
When you’re done, place the boba onto paper towel to absorb any extra moisture.
They should not be dripping wet or soggy at all! Now you’re ready to enjoy your delicious popsicles.
Here’s how to make popping boba!
What Is The Best Popping Boba Recipe?
If you’ve ever had bubble tea, then you know how delicious it is.
The bubbles are so light and airy, while being full of flavor thanks to all kinds of different toppings and syrups.
But if you don’t have access to bubble tea shops nearby, you may not have tried it yet.
And when you think about it, popping boba isn’t really much more than bubble tea, just wrapped up into a convenient package.
Bubble tea has become popular because it offers an easy way to consume your daily dose of caffeine.
But there’s also something else going on here – many people associate bubble teas with childhood nostalgia.
You might remember them from your first summer vacation abroad as well as some of your favorite movies like Big Trouble In Little China.
So whether you want to try out bubble tea before you go backpacking through Europe, or you want to take some bubbly home for your kids, you will need to learn how to make popping boba at home.
How Do You Make Popping Boba Without A Machine?
If you don’t want to use a machine, there are plenty of ways to pop your own boba.
You could try making them yourself at home using an air popper, which will cost around $20-$30 depending on how many you need.
However, if you have access to a microwave oven, you can also buy a bubble maker machine for about $25-35 that does everything from making popping boba to creating other types of boba like milk tea or green tea bubbles.
The machines usually come with different sizes of molds so you can customize what size boba you would like to create.
An air popper is basically just a big bottle filled up with water and sugar.
When you shake the bottle vigorously, tiny air pockets form inside the liquid.
As these pockets grow larger, they burst through the surface of the liquid forming little foam bubbles.
These bubbles then float upwards as you continue shaking the bottle.
You can purchase an air popper online, however, some places sell them as well.
Bubble Maker Machines
These machines take care of all the work for you by automatically measuring out the right amount of ingredients into each cup and heating them up before adding the boiling water.
They typically come with several cups so you can easily make more than one type of boba at once.
Some models offer presets for different kinds of boba including milk tea, fruit teas, green tea, and even desserts! Just choose the appropriate preset when you order your machine.
What Is The Difference Between Popping Boba Balls And Regular Boba Balls?
The main difference between popping boba and regular boba is that the former has bubbles inside the ball while the latter doesn’t have any.
If you want to know how to make popping boba so your friends will think they are drinking bubble tea, then read on!
Popular boba recipes
If you like boba tea, chances are you also enjoy its little bubbles.
However, there are different ways to make them depending on what kind of boba you prefer.
Some people like boba with no bubbles at all, while others prefer bubble-filled boba balls.
Here are some common types of boba you may come across:
Regular boba: These are usually made from tapioca starch and contain only water and sugar.
They don’t have any air bubbles in them, which means they aren’t as tasty as other kinds of boba, and they tend to fall apart quickly if not stored properly.
Aqua Bubs: Aqua Bubs have been around since 2016 and were invented by an entrepreneur who wanted to create a healthier version of bubble tea that didn’t require artificial colors.
They are made from tapioca flour instead of tapioca starch, and they have less than half the calories compared to regular boba.
The downside is that the flavor isn’t quite up to par.
Still, these are great alternative choices if you want something more healthy.
Tapioca pearls: Tapioca pearls are basically tiny spheres that look and taste just like real pearl teas.
You won’t find them anywhere unless you specifically order them online.
You can use either white or brown rice flour to make them, and they’re often mixed into boba tea for added texture.
But because they’re very small, they take longer to cook and need to be stirred constantly.
Bubble tea pops: Bubble tea pops are made using gelatin, which gives them their distinctive shape and makes them stay soft for much longer than normal pop beads.
These are sometimes used to decorate desserts such as cakes and pies, but they can also be found in many shops selling boba tea.
It should go without saying that most of the time, they’re served plain and unadorned.
So how do you make popping boba?
To make popping boba, first mix 1 cup of boiling water with 2 tablespoons of powdered tapioca starch until smooth.
Then add 4 teaspoons of corn syrup and stir again until smooth.
Finally, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and stir well.
Once everything is combined, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let cool completely before adding in your desired amount of flavoring ingredients.
Next, combine 3 cups of cold water with ½ cup of instant dry milk powder.
Mix thoroughly and set aside for 5 minutes to allow it to thicken slightly.
When this happens, slowly pour the mixture into the cooled tapioca mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
Next, add in the remaining ingredients, including your flavoring ingredients.
When everything is ready, place the mixture in containers and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the mixture from the fridge and knead it for about 10 seconds.
Make sure to keep your hands damp when doing this step.
Once done, roll the boba into bite-sized pieces and serve immediately.
Alternatively, you could wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap and freeze them for later.
What Is The Best Way To Store Popping Boba?
Popular varieties are sold individually with a straw and usually come in small plastic bottles that hold about 10 ounces each.
They also come in larger containers like 16-ounce cans and 24-ounce bags.
These are great if you want to have more than just one pop at a time.
If you don’t need to keep these around very long, storing them in the fridge will extend their shelf life quite a bit.
A frozen version of popping boba will still taste good after a few months, so try using your freezer as much as possible.
However, if you plan to use them regularly, freezing may not work well enough.
If you’re going to eat some right away, it’s probably better to freeze them in an airtight container rather than keeping them out in the open air.
That said, there isn’t anything wrong with leaving them out at room temperature either.
Just remember they won’t stay fresh forever.
If you’d prefer to enjoy popping boba without having to buy extra containers, simply take advantage of how easy it is to pack up and go!
How Long Does Popping Boba Last?
Popularized by Taiwanese street vendors, boba teas are now available at most Asian grocery stores as well.
They are also sold online where they are often referred to as bubble tea.
The ingredients are similar to traditional green tea, although there are some variations depending on what type of boba you choose.
The main ingredient in all types of boba is tapioca starch which makes up around 30% of the total weight of the product.
You will also see other ingredients such as sugar, milk powder, lecithin granules, and natural flavorings like vanilla extract.
Most boba products include little bubbles of air inside the ball, although some varieties may contain larger bubbles.
As soon as you take your first sip, these tiny gas pockets expand and pop, releasing more air into the liquid.
In general, the longer you let the boba sit before drinking it, the less likely it is to burst.
However, if you want a strong and fast-acting beverage, then you should use smaller pieces of boba instead of large ones.
Also, the size of the ball will affect how quickly it pops so try different sizes until you find the perfect match.
If you plan to consume multiple servings over time, keep an eye out for expiration dates since many boba brands have them listed somewhere near the bottom of their packaging.
How Do You Know When Popping Boba Is Ready To Eat?
Popularized by Taiwanese street food vendors, popping boba has become extremely trendy over the past few years.
You will see these bright green packages all over your Instagram feed, but how do you know if they are safe to eat before you buy them? Well, here at Chowhound, we have learned quite a bit about the ins-and-outs of popping boba, so let us break down what makes each package different from the others.
The most obvious thing that separates popping boba from other varieties of bubble teas is its shape.
While many bubble teas come in round cups, popping bubbles are usually sold in tall cylinders made out of paper or plastic.
Each cylinder contains four individual boba pieces, which means there is only room for two people per serving!
Another key factor to consider is the length of time the boba takes to cook through.
The longer the cooking process lasts, the better it tastes, though not every manufacturer uses the same method.
Some pop their boba quickly while others take much longer, up to 30 minutes, to fully cook.
There are also variations among brands, like whether or not they use water instead of milk during the cooking process.
In general, the more liquid used to cook the boba, the less likely it is to stick together.
To ensure that your boba won’t clump together once cooked, try using just enough liquid to cover the top of the cup, then add water as needed until the desired amount is reached.
If you’re worried about the flavor, don’t worry — boba doesn’t need any additional flavoring since it already gets its sweetness from the sugar coating.
Now that you know the main differences between popping boba and traditional bubble tea, you should be able to decide if it’s right for you!
What Are Some Creative Ways To Serve Popping Boba?
If you have tried bubble teas before, then you may already realize how delicious they can be.
But what if I told you there was an entire category of bubble teas that uses popped boba as its base?
The most common way to enjoy these types of bubble teas is by adding them into your favorite beverage.
The easiest way to add bubbles to plain water is to simply use a straw.
However, since popping boba has more chewiness than normal bubble tea, adding it directly to your favorite beverage isn’t ideal.
Instead, try one of our ideas below!
Frozen boba pops
One of my favorite ways to enjoy popping boba is to freeze it first so it becomes easy to add into other beverages later.
To create frozen boba pops, pour about 1/4 cup of popping boba into each pop mold.
Place the molds in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from the freezer once all of the liquid has been absorbed.
You should now have perfectly shaped pops! Add to your favorite beverage and enjoy!
Another great way to enjoy popping boba is to use Popsicle sticks instead of traditional ice cubes.
This method works well because you don’t need to worry about melting the boba, which can happen easily with Popsicle sticks.
To create popsicles using Popsicle sticks, place about 2-3 tablespoons of popping boba into each stick.
Insert into a glass filled with cold water until completely submerged.
Place in the freezer for at least 15-20 minutes.
Take out of the freezer and let sit for another 5-10 minutes to thaw slightly.
You can also enjoy popping boba without any additional ingredients by just eating it.
One fun idea is spooning it onto a plate and serving it like cereal.
Another option is mixing it into yogurt and enjoying it straight up.
If you want to give this technique a shot, here’s what you will need:
- 1 tablespoon popping boba (or 4 pieces)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix everything together thoroughly and enjoy!
- 150 g fruit juice
- 5 g sodium alginate
- 50 g drinking water
- 6 g calcium lactate
- 1 litre distilled water
- 2 cups clean water
- food colouring
- In distilled water, dissolve calcium lactate. Allow to sit overnight or for 4 hours. After that, strain.
- Sodium alginate and water should be combined. Stir until smooth and thickened. After that, whisk until smooth while adding optional food coloring to the fruit juice.
- For up to two hours, keep the juice in the refrigerator. After preparation, prepare a bowl with 2 glasses of fresh drinking water to rinse the pearls.
- Drop little amounts of the juice mixture into the calcium lactate solution using a dropper or syringe. Give it five minutes to rest.
- The pearls should then be thoroughly rinsed in clean drinking water before usage.
- Serve your exploding boba with a cool dessert or as a topping for bubble tea!