Thursday, 14 August 2014

Watermelon Bubble Tea

When we were in London recently I noticed a big rise in places serving bubble tea. I’ve been aware of bubble tea for a long time, but never tried it.

Well, due to the abundance of places I could buy it, this was obviously the time to give it a go. I had strawberry and coconut flavour which was lovely.

Hang on, some of you may be asking what bubble tea actually is?! Apparently its origins are in Taiwan, back in the 1980’s. It started out as a cold milk tea drink and somewhere along the line large tapioca pearls (boba) were added. The tapioca pearls are the bubbles! They are sooked up when drinking and add a nice chew to the drink. The popularity of the drink has since risen and risen – so if you haven’t heard of it already, you probably will soon.

The teas you can buy are very sweet and loaded with things like condensed milk and artificial flavourings. So I decided to make a slightly healthier version.

The bubble tea I tried in London had dark tapioca which I couldn’t get in my local Chinese supermarket. But the white ones work just as well.

I used green tea as the base, some coconut milk to sweeten it and half a watermelon. I whizzed this all up in my Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie. Because I did it in this, I didn’t have to worry about deseeding the watermelon as the blender made light work of these.

The fiddliest bit was prepping the tapioca, which actually wasn’t too bad once I knew what I was doing. The tapioca in bubble tea is sometimes flavoured, so I added a little lemon flavouring to the ‘bubbles’ whilst they cooled, ready to add to the tea.

It tasted very fresh and healthy and when sooking through the oversized straw, the bubbles pop up and provide a bit of chew. It’s strange but good. 

You will need very thick straws for drinking bubble tea. (I got mine in Tiger store).

2 green tea bags
150 ml boiling water
40 grams large tapioca pearls (white or dark)
500 ml water to boil
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon agave syrup
½ large watermelon (800 grams approx.) chunked
60 ml coconut milk

Steep the tea bags in the boiled water for 5 minutes, or longer, for stronger tea. Let this cool completely.
Prepare the tapioca pearls by adding to the 500ml of boiling water. Stir until they float and then simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover the pan for another 15 minutes. Add the lemon and syrup, stir and let the pearls cool completely.
To make the tea, add the cooled tea, watermelon chunks and coconut milk to a blender and whizz until smooth. Add some more agave syrup if you like it sweeter.

Place the cooled tapioca pearls into the bottom of glasses and pour on the watermelon tea. Place in your oversized straw and sook away! Great fun.

Disclosure Statement: I received the blender free to review. Any opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Stuart - Great pictures and post. The first time I had "watermelon juice" was in Taiwan on a trip to try out different bubble teas. They just put fresh watermelon in a blender and poured out the juice. Looks like your recipe adds a bit to that and it looks delicious. I noticed that your tapioca is clear/white. The traditional tapioca is black because of caramel color but we found that the white and colored ones are more popular in certain non Asian areas.


  2. I've been noticing bubble tea popping up all over the place (though not rural Lincolnshire surprisingly!) and it completely intrigues me! I want to try it and I think I'd like it. I certainly like watermelon so maybe your recipe is the place for me to start!

  3. Wow, that's new trend I've not come across, sounds like a fun and healthy drink though:-)

  4. Certainly looks more appetising than the tapioca I remember from school... Must get down to the Chinese Supermarket! And swing past Tiger too!

  5. Been itching to try this. Yours looks great. I even love the little rainbow ruffle ons on the jars, although I know this is not part of the recipe :)

  6. I don't know about this chunky tea idea.... but I'm willing to give it a go if it ever reaches Shetland!

  7. So strange you posted this now as I was talking about Bubble Tea at work today and we were all wondering what the 'bubble' element was. Now I know!

  8. I adooore bubble tea. I made some at a party once and most refused to try it, and dismissed it as frogspawn but I do love it!

  9. I'm not keen on tea at all, but maybe without the actual tea? I know that sort of defies the point, but the other flavours sound good!


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