Award Banner
Award Banner

No BBT during extended CB? Here’s how you can make your own

[UPDATED, April 21, 2020]:

With extended circuit breaker measures probably spelling a temporary suspension of bubble tea shops across Singapore, we thought this recipe may come in useful for die-hard bubble tea fans. 

We just can't seem to get enough of bubble tea. From the new Grab bubble tea subscription to trying convenience store bubble tea and checking out the Instagrammable Bubble Tea Factory, we'll never pass up a bubble tea opportunity.

We got a little excited when we found out that Jude, one of our colleagues, knows how to make her very own brown sugar bubble tea and proclaimed it's not that difficult to make from scratch — even the pearls.

Having spent two years in the US, she could not find a place that sold a good cup of bubble tea. She was also put off by raw 'bubble tea pearls' sold in supermarkets which contained many ingredients she didn't recognise. So, she decided to make it herself. 

After looking for recipes online and tweaking it, she shared with us the simple steps to making brown sugar bubble tea in the comfort of your own home. Don't even get us started on how much money you'll be saving after perfecting your own cup. Jude estimates that after totalling the cost of ingredients which could make about 30 cups of bubble tea, and depending on the quality of tea you use, each cup could cost less than 30 cents. Gulp.


You'll need one cup of brown sugar and tapioca starch, and half a cup of black tea leaves separated into different bowls. This recipe will yield three large cups of brown sugar bubble tea.

Prepare two pots of water, one with 900ml to boil the tea leaves and another with 500ml to make the brown sugar syrup.

While waiting for the water to come to a boil, mix three tablespoons of brown sugar into one cup of tapioca starch and mix evenly.

After mixing the brown sugar and tapioca starch, add boiling water into the mixture bit by bit while kneading it until it reaches a doughy consistency.

Add the remaining brown sugar into the boiling water to make the brown sugar syrup.

Word of caution: Be careful about adding too much water as a wetter dough will not be able to retain its round shape. To rectify it, simply add more tapioca starch. 

Shape the dough into small spheres to make the tapioca pearls and line them up on a tray.

Cook the tapioca pearls in the brown sugar syrup for 20 minutes until it is cooked through and chewy.

At the same time, strain the tea leaves and set the tea aside to cool down. Once the pearls are cooked, remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down for another 20 minutes.

Scoop the pearls into a cup with brown sugar syrup. You can customise the sugar level by adding or reducing the amount of brown sugar syrup. Then, fill the cup with tea and add the desired amount of evaporated milk.

A tip to make your bubble tea cold without adding ice cubes is to refrigerate the evaporated milk.

If you want sweeter pearls, soak them in the brown sugar syrup overnight in the fridge, and microwave them for 10 seconds before serving.


  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup of tea leaves
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 500ml of water to make brown sugar syrup
  • 900ml of water to make tea

Jude shared that it has been almost a year since she bought bubble tea from the stores because the boba she makes is chewier (just how she likes it), "plus I can control my sugar intake".

Not to mention you can rope in a few loved ones or bubble-tea loving friends to make light work of rolling out the tapioca pearls and treat it as a wholesome bonding sesh.

We tried the homemade pearls in office and they were delicious, with the added comfort in the knowledge that it's made without any additives. 

Try it for yourself and let us know how it turns out!

This article was first published on Oct 30, 2019.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.