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Chai Coconut Bubble Tea

I had my first bubble tea experience during my freshmen year in high school.  An upper classman (and yes, it was a boy…so a VERY big deal) took me to THE hip and happening place called Star Snow Ice located on Bellaire, a street in the heart of Chinatown in Houston.  And to tell you the truth, I was so preoccupied that I couldn’t really enjoy the cold milky liquid and the chewy orbs that were being suctioned into my mouth through the extra large straw.  Sure, the boy was pretty darn cute, but he wasn’t the only distraction.  Just being in a place where baggy pants (Jncos – you were coveted, but I don’t miss having to staple you to the right length) and dyed hair were the norm made me feel, well…pretty cool.  Oh how I’m glad those silly, insecure days are a distant memory..

From that point on, I became a loyal customer of Star Snow Ice.  I don’t even want to think about how much $$$ I “invested” in that place.  I deserve a plaque!  I tried a variety of flavors, but my go-to drink was the humblest of them all – milk tea.  Chai Coconut Bubble Tea

Why the trip down memory lane?  Because today is all about tea!  This month, the Recipe Reduxers were challenged to share a tea-inspired recipe in honor of the World Tea Expo that’s happening at the end of this month.  I mostly drink green tea, but I also have a soft spot for chai (my usual at Starbucks: Chai tea latte with soy milk).

So I’ve decided to share with you this simple and fun recipe for chai coconut bubble tea.  First thing’s first – Before you do anything else, let’s brew a strong cup of tea.  At first, I steeped 2 tea bags in 1 cup of boiling water, but that wasn’t strong enough.  So the next time I tried 4, and it was perfect-0!  Feel free to adjust to your liking.  You want to cover the cup or pot to allow for the tea to brew to its fullest potential.  After about 8-10 minutes, remove the tea bags and allow for the tea to chill for several hours.  A very crucial step.

Chai Coconut Bubble Tea

As for the boba (tapioca pearls), I’ve tried many different methods, but this one seems to work the best for me.  The challenge in preparing the pearls is ending up with a soft, chewy texture.  You don’t want to undercook nor overcook them because dry/hard or mushy pearls will just ruin the experience entirely.  I followed this wonderful guide by The Kitchn with some slight modifications.  I found that I had to boil and let the pearls sit with the lid on for a longer period of time than suggested.  Chai Coconut Bubble Tea

The pearls are not sweet so it’s important to add some kind of sweetener.  Instead of making a simple syrup, I chose the more convenient route –  sweetened vanilla coconut milk.  So there you have it!  Not difficult at all, right?  I like making bubble teas at home because not only are there so many flavor combinations you can play with, but you can control the amount of sugar that goes into them.  FYI – this chai coconut bubble tea is not very sweet, but I think you’ll appreciate the rich, warm, and comforting flavor of the chai tea that shines through.  Served on ice, it’s a light, refreshing beverage for the hot summer days to come!


About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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  1. Min!!! Omg, you just brought me straight back to my teenage years, where bubble tea was the fever and I’d drink it at least once or twice a week! I loved the chewiness and when cooked well, these pearls are super addictive!! If I ever feel like I need bubble tea… I will use this recipe!!

  2. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never had bubble tea! I loved reading about your first experience 😉

  3. Thanks for showing me how to make bubble tea at home! I love all of the flavors so I’m definitely trying it.

  4. So fun! I will confess to never having tried bubble tea before, but your chai version looks delicious, and I love the story behind this post too! BTW, I’m dating myself, but I had to google JNCOS just to see what you were writing about 🙂

  5. This is too beautiful!!!! I think it’s sooo awesome you found a way to make it less calorie-bomb-ish. And it’s so funny some people call it bubble tea! I just know it as boba, haha.

  6. i love bubba tea but making at home – kudos to you! i love the flavor profile here.

  7. I love bubble tea and I love how you came up with a healthy version! I am definitely trying this! 🙂

  8. Love tapioca pearls! Thanks for the simplistic and delicious recipe with beautiful pics, too!

  9. I’m still not completely sure how I feel about bubble tea. Sometimes I’m gung ho and then other times I’m kind of “meh” about it, but maybe that’s because I haven’t had yours yet!! I would definitely go the chai tea route too. When in doubt, always choose chai tea. Going to pin this for when the craving hits. P.S. I finally made your salmon cakes with mango sauce the other day (I had to push through the smell of the canned salmon but I made it out alive) and OMG. SO GOOD. I’m thinking I need to make them every week for my Sunday food prep!