Here's the Download on Making the Perfect Tapioca

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Those brown chewy balls or so called "pearls" that are in your boba tea are also known as tapioca, a starchy substance that is 100 percent full of carbs and gluten free (we see you paleo lovers out there, we see you!). It is extracted from cassava root and often used for its thickness, jelly-like texture in many dishes across the world.

But when it comes to a perfect cup of boba tea, one must also have a perfect batch of bubbly goodness. There's nothing like drinking your boba when the tapioca pearls are ripe and fresh, with just the right amount of chewiness and a hint of sweetness. If you ever got yourself into a case of bad, overcooked, sticky, icky tapioca...well, say no more. We felt your pain, too.

Four tips for making the perfect tapioca, in this order:

Great boba takes time

If you want to get the 411 on making bomb tapioca, then you need to make it homemade style. We are not asking you to buy store bought pre-packaged tapioca pearls though. While those are great, they are often dehydrated and likely to contain other gelatinous chemicals and preservatives in it to increase their shelf life.

All tapioca pearls really consist of is tapioca starch and boiling water. For this step, we will ask that you purchase the tapioca starch. P.S. The starch is colorless and tasteless so grab some activated charcoal and honey, brown sugar or agave while you're at it. Check out some of our favorite tapioca starches in the image below.

After adding a cup of tapioca starch into a bowl and 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal, pour in a 1/2 cup of boiling water, but very slowly. I repeat, take your time. Think of this as preparing your dough, or even pasta. Once you have kneaded your tapioca dough, let the pearl cooking process begin:

  • Take pieces of your dough and roll it into a squiggly, gummy worm-like shape. Remember these are the tapioca balls that will go into your boba tea, so do not make it huge!

  • Slice it piece by piece in pea sized shapes, ball it up into a circle and repeat x100!

  • Boil your tapioca pearls with double the amount of water based on the volume of your tapioca. This is an important step because you do not want it to stick together.

  • Pop them into your pot of steaming hot, boiling water and the tapioca's gelatin texture and shape will begin to form. (This is quicker than store bought boba).

  • Move them around as they boil for 7-10 minutes to avoid it from getting stuck at the bottom. Optional: You can add honey, brown sugar or agave at this step too as they boil to the top.

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Cold water after boiling is key

Once the tapioca pearls have been boiled, it is vital to remove the tapioca pearls and place it immediately into cold water.  This fully stops the cooking process and gives them that jelly-ness feel.

But the refrigerator ain't

Placing your boba immediately into the refrigerator is a definite no. This means mush and a whole big blob of tapioca, which is also a complete waste of nothing!

Sweeten it up

Add the tapioca pearls in a sugary mixed concoction to keep it tasty in your boba tea. Mix hot water with honey, brown sugar or agave for your tapioca to sit in and soak up. What's next? Well, let the tapioca pearls sit in room temperature setting as they are ready to be served. Also, try not to keep it soaked in the mix for more than 2 days.


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