Replicating the Perfect Bubble Tea
(this post has referral links)
Lately I’ve been enjoying some bubble tea. It’s really, really good, but:
- it costs me about 7$ per visit
- it’s two cities away (~25min drive)
- I have no idea what the carb content of the drink is (which is somewhat important)
So, in an attempt to save money and also have this particular tea whenever I want, I started looking around for how to make it myself. My first attempt was a huge success, so I’m currently reworking the math on how to make it make more sense, but, here’s a picture of it first:
(left: cold brewing tea, middle: current pitcher, right: my glass)
In order to start this, I wanted to first find out what went into it. The specific place I wanted to start was looking up what went into “Lychee Peach Jasmine Green Tea” which is staggeringly simple, but required me to find a recipe. That led me to here, where I found basically exactly what I wanted. This site, however, doesn’t let me directly order materials, but it has a recipe! That’s a great start.
Secondarily, I knew this was a cold drink, so I started looking around for “how to make cold jasmine tea”. I had never made cold tea before, so I wanted to figure out how best to do that, too. I found that it’s simply called “cold brewing”, and it’s really straightforward - drop the tea in water, leave it at room temperature for 4 hours, or refrigerate for 8 hours. I accidentally left my first attempt out for about 16 hours, and it turned out fine, so it’s more of an art than a science. So, this part is extraordinarily straightforward. Hell yeah.
So, finding out that the process of making it was easy, I set out to find the right stuff for the job. I started small, in an attempt to make sure I was doing it right. So I got the following:
- This green tea - I saw something about pearls and loose leaf being different, and I wanted to try the pearls. I like the result!
- This peach concentrate - it works
- This lychee juice - this isn’t what I wanted to start with, I was hoping to find something else (and I’m going to post my updated list below), but it worked and tastes fine. Proportioning it sucks, though. It’s also pretty costly.
I got the materials and got to work. I put 1L of water, and 15g (about 1tbsp) of tea on my table and let it sit for 16 hours (accidentally!). I tried it this morning and it tasted good. Next up was to add the peach and lychee. They wanted about 200ml of each, which came out to .85 cup (which was about 75% of the can). Unfortunately I do not have a convenient ml measuring tool right now, so rough conversions are what I had to deal with).
I tried it, and it tasted basically exactly like the tea a few cities over. So next I wanted to figure out the cost and proportions. Factoring this in, I figured I would get about 8 servings of the tea (0.5oz/serving), 5 servings of the peach concentrate (200ml/serving), and anywhere from 6 to 9 servings of the lychee juice (~1 can/serving). Cans suck. This means that a serving of this drink costs 1.87$ (tea) + 4.85$ (peach) + 3.00$ (lychee) = 9.72$, and each serving is about 4 glasses, which means a glass is about 2.43$. A monumental saving of almost 4.50$ / glass, not factoring in the travel and costs associated. However, this doesn’t factor in anything fun like bobas or jellies. Honestly, this tea tastes really good without them, but it would be fun to have those available, too. Also, I could really go for a better form of lychee concentrate.
So, here’s what I’m preparing for my next attempts:
- this lychee syrup - it looks a lot easier to proportion, although the reviews kinda suck, so here’s hoping it works
- these bobas - I want to try the different flavors, and this assortment looks good 😋
- these jellies - these look like the jellies I’ve had with other bubble teas, so it’ll probably work out well
Of course, this increases the cost a bit, but if I only use a teaspoon or two or ten of the jellies and bobas, the cost doesn’t go up by a ton, and the longevity of those materials ends up being pretty good. I could probably get away with ordering those every couple of months.
I’d also give a fair mention to these reusable bubble tea straws. I don’t want to waste a ton of straws, especially if I’m drinking this multiple times a day. I also recommend having two (or more, depending on your addiction level) pitchers like in the picture above so you can always have a batch brewing.
So, next steps? More flavors of fruit concentrate for different tea flavors (mango sounding pretty good right now), more boba flavors, and more jelly flavors. But this is a pretty good place to start!