Here we will cover why it is that your boba is taking so long to cook. There are some really important things to consider when cooking boba pearls, which usually involves the type of boba that you are cooking. We will cover why they are taking so long to cook, and how to fix the problem in various ways.
The main reason why your boba could be taking so long to cook has to do with the type of boba that you have. If you happened to purchase a package of boba pearls, thinking that they are all the same, then this is probably why they are taking so long to cook.
Here is a list of the boba pearls that are cooked, and the average time it takes to cook each type:
- Black tapioca pearls
- These take an hour of total time to cook.
- White tapioca pearls
- These take around the same time as black tapioca pearls to cook.
- Small tapioca pearls
- These take around or a little less than half the time as black tapioca pearls to cook.
- Crystal boba
- Crystal boba does not need cooking. They come already ready to go straight out of the bag.
- Sago pearls
- Sago ‘tapioca’ pearls take two to three times longer than black tapioca pearls do to cook. If they don’t take this long to cook then, it is because they have been soaked in water hours beforehand. This usually how people cook them. They are commonly used for desserts, not bubble tea drinks.
- Instant tapioca pearls
- These cook for around 10 minutes altogether. These are the precooked boba pearls, which is why they cook faster.
It is definitely possible for people to occasionally buy the wrong tapioca pearls. Some of the tapioca pearls aren’t actually made from tapioca, and take a long time to cook. Sago pearls are occasionally accidently purchased and cooked at the regular time for black tapioca pearls. To fix this, the sago pearls need to be cooked for a longer period of time.
Also, there is a possibility of purchasing the original black tapioca pearls as stated, instead of your usual instant boba pearls that cook in 5 to 10 minutes. The original tapioca pearls are more fragile texture before they are cooked, and can easily crumble in the hands if pressed too hard. This is how you can tell the difference.
Instant tapioca pearls finish in about a tenth of the time that original tapioca pearls do, but they aren’t as good of quality as the originals. If you happen to have either type of boba pearls, there is a guide available that will show you how to cook each type of boba. It will tell you the correct time for each type.
If your boba is still hard in the middle, then it means that they are not finished cooking yet and will need more time. Simply place them back in hot water and cook them for longer. You can occasionally test one to see if it is done to prevent it from overcooking and becoming less chewy once they are no longer hard.
Cooking boba again is a delicate process sometimes that has to be monitored. It is easier to deal with boba that is undercooked, then it is to deal with boba that has been overcooked.
Another thing that has to be noted is the temperature of the water that the boba pearls are cooking in. Just like any food, whether cooked in water or oil, they can take a long time to cook if they aren’t cooking at a high enough temperature. Make sure the water is boiling first before the tapioca pearls are placed in the water.
If you are sure that it has nothing to do with the type of boba that you have, then the second most common reason is the way you are cooking the boba pearls. Cooking the boba pearls in a different fashion than what is instructed, will result in them taking longer to cook.
Granted that some boba is bought in packages that don’t have instructions, but they can still be safely cooked to the desired textures by following the tips that are provided here.
For instance, one individual following the instructions for cooking the boba pearls skipped some of the information and cooked boba pearls successfully in the past by simply simmering them for 45 minutes. However, this doesn’t work for every (or most) type of boba pearls.
Doing this with every type of boba pearls can result in them being undercooked, and make them take longer than they should take to cook. It could even result in certain types of boba becoming overcooked.
With boba, you want to cook them at the highest heat possible, then simmer them afterwards for the specified time. The boba needs to finish its entire cooking process as fast as possible, else the quality of the boba afterwards could suffer. They may soften and become mushy in a drink faster than what they were supposed to. The goal isn’t to tenderize the boba like meat.
If the boba pearls are simmered for the entire time, then they will take twice as long as their normal time to finish, maybe even longer. The correct way to cook boba pearls usually involves cooking them by boiling them first, then simmering them afterwards. Usually it is done this way for half boiling and half simmering for their entire cooking time.
The temperature of the water needs to be atleast 350 degrees Fahrenheit before the boba pearls are placed in the water for most boba types that have to be cooked. Placing the boba pearls into simmering water will only make them take longer to cook.
Boil the tapioca pearls first, then simmer them afterwards, which usually is done off of the heat and left in the pot. The boba pearls are left in the pot with the hot water, which continues to cook and soften the hardened boba.