four cups of bubble tea from left beige, yellow, beige, orange in colour all standing against a white background.

How to make vegan bubble tea at home


Over the past few years, bubble tea has become extremely popular. Are you a big fan of this unique drink? Or perhaps you are hoping to try it for the first time. Either way, this is your comprehensive guide to making bubble tea at home. Let’s take a look at the origins of bubble tea, the equipment you will need to make it and an easy to follow recipe. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

The origins of bubble tea

Although its exact origins are unknown, bubble tea is believed to have started in Taiwan in the 1980s. Since the 1990s, it has gained popularity in East and Southeast Asia. Today, as it spreads more widely around the globe, its popularity is only increasing. This is understandable given how refreshing it is, combined with its unique nature.

The popularity of this beverage, also known as boba tea, is probably due to its unusual flavours and the strangely appealing texture of tapioca pearls. These days, bubble tea shops are popping up in the UK. One opened in my local area recently and there were queues outside the door from day one. 

photo filled with multiple white tapioca pearls
White tapioca pearls

What you will need to make bubble tea at home

If you don’t fancy queuing to try bubble tea, why not have a go at making it yourself? Specialist bubble tea equipment is available to buy online which will make the whole process easier. However, if this is your first rodeo, you might want to start off by using equipment you already have in your kitchen. Here are the essentials:

  • Saucepan with lid
  • Rubber spatula
  • Sieve
  • Drinking glass for hot drinks
  • Large straw

Recipe for vegan bubble tea at home

If you’re making bubble tea at home for the first time, you’ll probably want a super easy recipe to start with. However, if you’re like me, you might not be loving the idea of the amount of milk that goes into it. That’s why I’ve gone for a vegan recipe. The first time I tried bubble tea, I suddenly panicked that maybe it wasn’t vegetarian because the tapioca pearls tasted so gelatinous, I wondered whether it contained gelatine. As a vegetarian family, we were all pleased to realise that this is not the case. In fact they are made from cassava root, which is totally plant based.

So to make this recipe vegan, it’s simply a case of using your favourite vegan milk to replace the dairy product that would usually be used. I have gone for oat milk but if you have another preference, by all means use that instead. However do be aware that bubble tea contains a lot of sugar, so you may want to go for an unsweetened milk to avoid ending up with a drink that is overly sweet.


  • 100 ml freshly brewed tea, cooled to room temperature
  • 30 ml sugar syrup
  • 50 g quick-cook tapioca balls
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200 ml oat milk
  • Crushed ice


  1. Bring 500 ml water to the boil in a saucepan and add the tapioca balls
  2. Use a rubber spatula to stir it while you bring it back to the boil
  3. Turn off the heat, put a lid on and leave for 2 minutes
  4. Drain the tapioca pearls into a sieve under cold running water
  5. Keep under the cold running water for about 30 seconds, gently moving them around with the spatula
  6. Coat the tapioca pearls (boba) with the sugar syrup
  7. Put the sugar-coated pearls into the bottom of your drinking glass
  8. Move it around gently to make a marble effect on the glass
  9. Add some crushed ice
  10. Half fill the glass with the cooled tea
  11. Top up with the oat milk
  12. Serve with a large straw, big enough to suck up the tapioca pearls

How to make sugar syrup

If you want to make the sugar syrup yourself, you will need:

  • 50 g caster sugar or brown sugar
  • 60 ml water

Stir the ingredients together in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave it to cool before using it in your bubble tea.

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