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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. Okay, just tried this! The tea turned out totally delicious, the sweetness was just right and the steeping time you suggested was absolutely, just perfect. The only problem was the pearls. Keeping in mind I’ve never made tapioca pearls before now, so it was probably an error on my end, I think I didn’t turn the heat down far enough once I put the pearls in. I took one out after the initial 20 minutes and it seemed like letting them soak in the water for 15 more minutes was going to make them too soft, so I tried just letting them soak for 10, but they still came out too soft >.< I also would like to have the pearls soak up more sweetness from the honey. The initial flavor of them is good, but then the honey wears off and then not so much. Awesome recipe though, thanks so much! I'm just going to tweak the way I cook the pearls, but the tea recipe is perfect 🙂

    1. Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed this tea! Yes, cooking the pearls require some trial and error. The cooking time also depends on the brand that you purchase as well. Have fun experimenting, and I have no doubt that you’ll figure out the way to get perfect pearls everytime ;). Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know!

  2. I happened across this on FoodGawker. I’ve never had bubble tea but am seriously intrigued by the look, and now the sound, of it.

    And omg JNCO … I haven’t thought about those in years!! LOL Thank the gods they were a passing phase.

    1. Hi Nichole! OH bubble tea is really good and fun to eat! Can’t what for you to try it soon ;). It comes in many different flavors and the tapioca adds a nice, chewy texture. Haha..oh yes JNCO…I don’t know what I was thinking. Sorry, mom, for sweeping the ground everywhere I went.

  3. I love bubble tea – so fun to drink! Love the coconut milk you used in yours.

  4. Yes! I’ve got a pack of this boba in my cabinet right now – definitely going to make this tomorrow morning:)