Boil water. Boil 2 ¾ cup of water. If using an electric kettle with a temperature setting, set the water to 208°F. Use filtered water if possible.
Steep tea in hot water for 5 minutes.Combine tea and 2 ½ cups hot water and steep. (The leftover ¼ cup of hot water is to make the brown sugar simple syrup.)
Strain tea leaves and let tea cool.Using a teapot with an infusermakesstraining the tea leaves super easy.
MAKE BROWN SUGAR SIMPLE SYRUP
Stir together hot water and dark brown sugar until sugar dissolves.Take the remaining ¼ cup hot water and stir in ¼ cup brown sugar.
COOK TAPIOCA BALLS
Boil water and add tapioca balls.Boil water in a saucepan on the stovetop then add tapioca balls. Cook on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.(Follow directions on your tapioca ball packaging if you're using a different brand than the one I’m using.)
Drain tapioca balls.
Combine tapioca balls and brown sugar simple syrup.Stir in dark brown simple syrup into the pot with the strained boba. Let cool slightly so it's warm but not boiling hot.
MAKE COLD FOAM
Lightly whip half & half and sugar. Use a handheld milk frother and whip until it starts to thicken.
Divide each component into two cups. Spoon tapioca balls in brown sugar simple syrup, add ice, then black tea, and top with cold foam. Stir together before drinking.
Do not make tapioca balls more than 1-2 hours ahead of time. After 4 hours, they'll start to harden. The drink is the best when assembled and served right before drinking.
Bubble tea can be made with all kinds of tea. All you need to do is add tapioca balls to a drink and it instantly becomes boba tea!
If you prefer weaker tea, use 2 teaspoons of tea per serving.
If you don't want the trouble of making the cold foam, just add 4 tablespoons of half & half to each serving instead.
The tea, brown sugar simple syrup, and cream froth can all be made ahead of time and stored separately in the refrigerator. The tea keeps for 4 days at the most, the syrup for up to 2 weeks, and cold foam for up to 2 days. Just the tapioca balls can't be made ahead.
To adjust the amount of sugar that goes into the drink, strain out the tapioca balls from the brown sugar simple syrup when assembling the drink. Add the simple syrup after the drink has been made to see how sweet you want it.