Low in sugar and healthy enough to be enjoyed every day, this cold and refreshing, healthy boba tea recipe combines fragrant chai tea with the addicting creaminess and unique textures of bubble (boba) tea.
Making your own bubble tea pearls with gelatin or agar will save you all the carbs and sugar found in traditional tapioca boba pearls, while Mānuka honey adds a touch of healthy unrefined sweetness.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Active Time: 30 minutes
TOOLS Needed to Make the Healthy Boba Pearls
- tall jar (for oil)
- syringe, dropper bottle
- fine-mesh strainer or slotted spoon
For the Healthy Boba Pearls
- 1 cup prepared strong tea sweetened to taste* see notes
- 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin or 1 tsp of agar
- 2-4 cups of neutral oil (sunflower avocado, grapeseed, etc.) well-chilled in the freezer
For Chai Boba Tea
- 4 chai tea bags, may use decaf or herbal
- 2 cups of water
- 1-2 tablespoons of Flora Mānuka Honey, to taste
- 8 ounces of milk of choice (we used extra creamy almond)
- 6 tablespoons of prepared boba pearls (use the recipe below)
- cinnamon, for garnish
- boba straw (biodegradable)
For Healthy Boba Pearls
- Prep the Gelatin/Agar: In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin or agar over 1 cup of your prepared and cooled tea. Stir and allow to sit (5 minutes for gelatin/8 minutes for agar).
- Heat on medium heat until fully dissolved, stirring gently. Then pour into a heat-safe bowl to cool to just above room temperature. It should be slightly warm to the touch.
- Get Your Oil Ready: Remove oil from the freezer. It should be slightly cloudy and thick. Give it a stir before starting so the texture is smooth and even.
- Making the Pearls: With your syringe or dropper bottle evenly, slowly squirt drops at the top cold oil. Space out the placing of the drops so the pearls don’t stick together. Do a few test drops to get a feeling for size. ⅛ - ¼ tsp per drop is perfect. Continue with the rest of the gelatin mixture.
- Strain and Rinse: When you’re done, drain the gelatin “pearls” with a fine-mesh strainer or small colander, reserving the oil for later use. Rinse well under cold water to remove surface oil. Keep leftovers in an air-tight container until ready to use. For best results use within 4 days.
- This recipe should yield about ¾ cup of pearls.
- If the drops just sit on the surface of the oil, your oil is too cold. Let it sit out for a minute and give it a stir before continuing. If the drops “grow tails” as they fall to the bottom of the jar, your oil has become too warm. Pop in the freezer again to chill. Having a second jar to switch out can make the process faster. Placing the jar in an ice bath can also help keep the temperature of the oil cold.
- If the gelatin/agar mixture gets too thick to drop, pop it in the microwave for 5 seconds to warm slightly, stir and then continue.
- Experiment with different tea types (including herbal) to flavor the bubble tea gelatin pearls. For concentrated flavor, use 3-4 tea bags per cup of water, but be mindful of caffeine content.
For Chai Boba Tea
- Simmer Masala Chai Tea: In a small pot, add chai tea bags and bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Lower heat, stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. For more intense flavor, see notes.
- Sweeten With Honey: Remove the tea bags and any whole spices (if using) from the water and whisk in manuka honey.
- Assemble Boba Teas: In a 12-ounce glass, add prepared boba pearls. Then top with a handful of ice and ounces of milk. Drizzle in chai tea to top.
- Serve: To serve, garnish with cinnamon and pop in a boba straw. Enjoy!