This is a step by step guide to making boba tea drinks with powders and syrups. We will go over two of the main ways to do this: for boba shops, and for home.
Making bubble tea drinks at home is a little different than doing it at a boba shop, but overall both are very straight forward and easy to do. I remembered struggling with this and really over thinking this when trying to figure out how to make a mango bubble tea with powder at one time.
Making drinks at home or at your Cafe, whether they are with powders or syrups is easy and quick once you get into the rhythm, and have all the right equipment.
The first thing we need to do to make our lives easier is prepare the tea and tapioca pearls. If you are making multiple drinks in a boba cafe, then we definitely don’t want to make the tea individually for every drink.
Tapioca pearls should always be cooked and ready beforehand. There is a guide to making tea with tea leaves and a guide to cooking tapioca pearls if you need help.
The tea leaves used commonly by boba shops as the base for all boba drinks is the black tea leaves. Of course, this can be changed if another tea leaf flavor is more desirable to use for any specific drink.
Tea urns are needed if you run a boba shop for better efficiency, and a teapot with an infuser or strainer is used for homemade bubble tea. A pot for cooking the boba is used at both. The size is the only thing that varies.
More boba will be cooked in bigger pots, while a regular household pot of sufficient size, that can hold the boba and plenty of water, is good enough.
If bubble tea is made with powder or syrups at home, then the equipment for making the drinks could be as simple as a cup, a spoon, and the powder/syrup.
For a boba shop the equipment has to be more than this. For the most efficiency, a cup shaking machine, cup sealing machine, a pitcher, and a cup shaker are used for making many drinks. Blenders may also be used, which usually comes with the pitcher too.
The cup shaker is still nice to have at home, as it has the measurement marks on the side of the cup to easily track how much of each of the ingredients you put in it.
The pitcher is still needed, because the boba will actually go separately into the drinking cup (not in the shaker) while everything else is mixed together. Pitchers are used to make additions later will be later added to the drink.
The equipment will save time and hard labor in the long run.
Now the fun part. Let’s get into making the drinks!
How to Make Bubble Tea At A Boba Shop With Powder/Syrup
Note: If you are lactose intolerant, or making drinks for the lactose intolerant, buy the non-dairy creamer and use this instead of milk in your drinks.
There are many ways to make boba tea drinks at a shop with the ingredients, that have been adopted by boba shops across the world.
The instructions will be based off making a 24 ounce bubble tea. Here are the easiest ways:
(This one is for using the cup shaker with a cup shaking machine.)
1. Place 1/3 cup of cooked boba, boba jelly, or bursting boba into the cup that the drink will be served in.
Make sure that you do not place the boba pearls, jelly, or popping pearls in the cup shaker.
2. Place 2.5 ounces of syrup or 2.25 ounces of flavored powder into the cup shaker.
This would be 5 tablespoons of syrup, or 4.5 tablespoons of the powder. In cubic centimeters (cc) this would be 74cc, or 67cc.
3. Add 7 ounces of tea into the cup shaker or pitcher, stir or shake mixture.
This works best with hot tea, especially if the powder mix is used, as it will help to dissolve the powder better. Stir or hand shake until mixed. When placed in the cup shaker, put the lid on the cup shaker, and hand shake it. (Or just simply stir it.)
4. Fill the cup shaker with ice.
Fill the rest of the cup shaker up with ice, all the way to the brim.
5. Place the cup shaker into the cup shaking machine.
Close up the cup shaker, making sure it is firmly sealed, and placed it in the cup shaker for 1 minute or more. The cup shaking machine will ensure that everything is mixed together properly with the ice, leveling the ice and creating a ‘smoother’ bubble tea.
If the boba shop doesn’t have a cup shaking machine, then shake it in the cup shaker by hand. Some boba shops use this method too.
6. Remove cup shaker from machine, and pour the mixture into the cup with the boba.
Open the cup shaker and pour all of the contents into the cup with the tapioca pearls, boba jelly, or popping pearls.
7. Place it into the cup sealing machine.The last step is to seal the cup for sale in a cup sealing machine.
It is not recommended to pour the contents from the cup shaker into the cup with the boba while it is in the cup sealing machine. It can spill on the machine and hinder the sealing process.
This works with all the bubble tea powder flavors and syrups. Some adjustments on how much you use may have to be adjusted since not every powder or syrup is the same.
To make a milk tea with powder or syrup, add non-dairy creamer to the cup shaker before placing it into the cup shaking machine.
This is done during step 3 when placing the tea into the cup shaker before adding the ice. Use 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) of non-dairy creamer powder and mix it into the tea.
(This one is with a pitcher and a cup shaker without the machine.)
The reason why pitchers are used for bubble tea is to allow further customization of the bubble tea by adding additional ingredients before putting them into the serving cup or cup shaker.
Puddings, creamers, milkshake and slush mixes can be made/placed in the pitcher and then into the serving cup with boba.
Whatever is mixed in the pitcher normally doesn’t go into the cup shaker too. Instead it goes directly into the cup with the boba as a ‘layer’ in the bubble tea. Also, using a pitcher can help to create beautiful boba tea drinks that include multiple flavors with rainbow features.
These are things that would be placed into a pitcher, which normally results from blended materials being placed into a blender first:
- Cream Cheese Foam
- Milk Foam
- Slush Mixes
- Smoothie Mixes
- Milkshake Mixes
This is not all of them, but good examples of what would be used in a pitcher. They end up in the pitcher from being blended in a blender or used as an extra container for holding prep.
The contents are then directly transferred over to the cup with the boba sitting at the bottom as additions.
Using a pitcher to mix other flavors separately, and then adding them to the cup with boba, is how beautifully layered bubble tea drinks are made. This can be done over and over to create more layers.
It may be easier to do it this way, than to use the cup shaker only to mix everything in at one time.
If you are trying to do this for your boba shop, then following the step by step instructions above is what you would do for a normal drink, then add the other additions in before or after adding the contents that are in the cup shaker.
(Making drinks without a cup shaker, cup sealing machine, or blender.)
Sometimes boba drinks are made without any equipment at all. This is done by using syrups and milk mainly to create boba tea, instead of powder mixes.
Most boba cafes use this method too, since some specific drinks don’t require bubble tea equipment at all to make these drinks.
An example of this is using premade juices, sodas, other beverages, or different types of milk in combination with syrups to create boba flavors.
Care has to be taken when using milks to make sure milk options for bubble tea are available for the vegan and lactose intolerant.
This is commonly done in small boba shops to add ‘secret ingredients’ into their signature bubble tea too.
Here are basic recipe instructions for making bubble tea drinks with syrups, milk, tapioca pearls (or other toppings). All of this will be made in the same cup that will be given to the customers (not a cup shaker or pitcher).
1. Put 2.5 ounces (5 tablespoons) of flavored syrup into the bottom of the cup.
The syrup can be poured down the inner sides of the cup to create visual effects for the customer to visually see on the outside of the cup once the entire drink is done.
Another way is to put the syrup into the bottom, tilt the cup diagonally, and twirl the cup until the syrup is on all the sides. This is how brown sugar bubble tea is made using brown sugar syrup.
This also tells the customer when they look at their drink which flavor it is. It isn’t just for taking selfies of your beautiful creations for Facebook you know..
2. Place 1/3 cup of cooked tapioca pearls, boba jelly, or popping pearls into the cup you’re serving to the customer.
Put your boba in after the syrup, not before the syrup to make things easier.
3. Pour the milk into the cup, filling it half way or almost all the way.
Pour the choice milk type into the cup. The types used can be special brands from certain companies not normally found anywhere else, or just basic whole milk from the local grocery store.
Almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and oat milk are good options for vegans and lactose intolerant. All these have different tastes too that can effect the boba drink all together.
4. Fill the rest with additions.If the boba drink was filled half way with milk, then a tea flavor can be used to fill up the rest and turn it into milk tea. (If it wasn’t it still can be filled with tea.)
Other additions to finish off your boba tea can be cream cheese foam, milk foam, sea salt cream, and puddings for example.
None of the boba drink will be stirred or mixed, but instead given to the customer (with a lid or sealed by a cup sealing machine), leaving that job to the customer to maintain the aesthetics of the drink.
Easy Way to Make Bubble Tea With Powders or Syrups At Home
Now we’ll cover how to make boba tea with powders or syrups easily at home.
Making them at boba shops with all the right equipment only takes seconds and minutes, so making them homemade is even faster. This can be done with any powder or syrup for making bubble tea. Having a cup shaker can make things conveniently easier, but it can be made with just a cup and a spoon/stirrer. A shaker is good if you drink boba tea regularly.
(This is for a 24 ounce drink.)
1. Prepare your tea and tapioca pearls/boba topping.
As given at the introduction to this guide, have your tea and tapioca pearls brewed and cooked for your bubble tea.
2. Place 1/3 cup of tapioca pearls into your cup.
Start by placing 1/3 of a cup of the boba type (bursting boba, jelly, regular boba, etc..) into the cup.
There is help on cooking the tapioca pearls to perfection if you need it.
3. Place 2.5 ounces of syrup, or 2.25 ounces of flavored powder into the cup.
Put 2.5 ounces (5 tablespoons) of syrup, or either 2.25 ounces (4 ½ tablespoons) of powder into the cup. Make sure your pearls are in the cup first if you’re using a spoon to stir.
4. Add 7 ounces of tea to the cup.
The general tea flavor is black tea, but oolong, and green tea are used often too.
5. Add 7 ounces of milk to the cup.
Add the milk of your choice to the cup. Soy milk is the usual go to vegan option. Whole milk gives the drink the best flavor. The best other options besides this is coconut, and almond milk. If you are vegan, avoid the powders as most aren’t vegan. Go with syrups instead.
6. Stir your drink.
Store well with a spoon to make sure everything is dissolved. Doing this before putting the ice in is recommended.
7. Add ice as needed.
Fill the rest with ice as needed.