On the night of April 21, hundreds of bubble tea lovers queued outside the many popular outlets for their last drink before Singapore’s strict circuit breaker measures forced all non-essentials to stop services for at least two weeks. If you love this refreshing drink, now is a good time to learn how to make it at home. Originating in Taiwan , this sweet drink goes by many names, including “pearl milk tea” and “boba tea”. Created by accident in the 1980s, it reached American soil in the ’90s and has been gaining popularity since. A combination of tea, milk and tapioca pearls, at its most basic form, there are multiple variations of this sweet drink . Bubble tea has stayed popular by adapting to changing interests and aesthetics, with varieties very different from the original creators, Liu Han-chieh and Lin Hsiu-hui. Bubble tea madness everywhere now #Singapore #ExtendedCircuitBreaker #CB #DunBeCB #Boba #BubbleTea pic.twitter.com/kRlD7Opq9p — All Singapore Stuff (@allsgstuff) April 21, 2020 Deconstructing bubble tea We know bubble tea is a drink with tea and bubble beads – any basic bubble tea will have these fundamental ingredients with variations on offer. The standard bubble tea has: Tea : this is the main and the healthiest ingredient. Any robust tea such as black, green or Oolong, according to your preference is fine. The longer you steep it, the better. Bubbles or pearls : traditionally, you make pearls with tapioca flour. Ready-made pearls are available in select grocery stores or can be ordered online. Variations include fruit jellies, egg pudding, tapioca noodles, taro balls, basil seeds, sago pearls and lychees. A synthetically made popping boba is also popular. These are roe-like squishy spheres prepared using fruit juice with other ingredients through the method of “spherification”. Milk : whole milk, half-and-half, almond, soy and walnut are all good options based on your preference. Low-fat milk does not contribute to the creaminess of the drink and double cream makes bubble tea too thick. Sweetener : the original, and also the easiest, choice is sugar. At home, you can decide the quantity to suit your taste. Granulated or brown sugar taste the best. Feel free to try alternatives such as honey, stevia, agave. Ice : the amount of ice depends on how cold you want it. If you prefer to have your bubble tea hot, you may do that too. How to make bubble tea at home Now that you have the ingredients, let’s make bubble tea at home from scratch. The pearls : if you have pre-packaged pearls, wait till your tea is ready to prepare the pearls. If you make them ahead, they may dry out and stiffen. Boil the water 15 minutes before you want to serve the tea, put in the pearls and boil for five to seven minutes. Cool and keep ii cold water to prevent the pearls from clumping. If you plan to make your own pearls, mix tapioca flour with hot water and food colour and knead into a smooth dough. Roll into small balls and cook them in boiling water for 15 minutes or more. Cool in sugar syrup or water, according to preference. Your tea : prepare tea by steeping tea bags or leaves until the tea cools down. For bubble tea, don’t worry about over steeping. This should take between 15 to 25 minutes. If you are using sugar, add it during the steeping process. If you want to speed up the cooling, steep in the refrigerator. The milk : you may add the milk in your glass or prepare a milk tea to pour on your ice. Assembly of bubble tea : drop the pearls into an ice-filled glass. Pour in your milk and tea, or milky tea. Stir and check sweetness. Adjust, if you want. Serve with long spoons and bubble tea straws. Alternatively, put ice, tea, milk and sweetener in a shaker, shake well and pour over the pearls in your glass. Other options Fruit teas are equally refreshing and popular. They are easier to make, too. 1. Brew and steep green tea for more than 10 minutes. 2. Chill in the refrigerator. Add fruit syrup of choice and mix. 3. Serve over pearls and ice. Popping pearls are more in demand in fruit bubble teas. Ditch the sugar for healthier, natural options. Try fruit balls with fruit juices to increase the nutrition quotient.