Some people have coffee running through their veins and others have Bubble tea. The sweet beverage from Taiwan has made its mark in the United States. With an insane range of varieties and flavors, there is a combination for just about anyone who craves these fruity and milky beverages.
Miu’s Tea, located about five minutes from the University of Miami’s campus in Coral Gables, is a popular and convenient choice for UM students. Anna Timmons gets her fix at least three times a week. “There’s this intense feeling of calm when I walk into Miu’s,” she said. “Maybe I’m addicted, but it brightens my day every time I go.” This particular spot is notably customizable from base to toppings.
As a vegan, junior Caroline Whyte finds it difficult for most milk teas to meet her dietary preference. That’s why she goes to SpecialTEA Lounge & Café, located near Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. This spot flies under the radar of most University of Miami students, but offers an excellent study spot and diary alternatives such as coconut, almond and soymilk to top off your milk tea.
Sophomore Damaris Rojas Lopez’s personal favorite bubble tea spot is located in Dadeland Station at Lan Pan-Asian Cafe. She said she usually gets the “taro” flavor. “I think it has the best tasting taro,” Lopez said, complimenting the slightly coconut-like flavor.
Not only do bubble tea spots have their own cult following, but so do their flavors. Check out these yummy combinations you’re likely to find at your favorite bubble tea spot.
TOP SIX BUBBLE TEA COMBINATIONS
01 — Classic Milk Tea
Black tea is shaken with frothy milk, sugar, crushed ice and a few handfuls of marble-sized tapioca pearls. Tapioca comes from the starch of the cassava root. It gets rolled into balls, cooked and flavored with syrups and is most commonly known as “boba.” There are many versions of the drink with different milks and various teas, but this classic still satisfies the taste buds.
02 — Brown Sugar
Brown sugar boba puts a unique spin on the classic boba drink. While bubble tea is made traditionally with simple syrup or white sugar, this beverage uses brown sugar that has been caramelized into a syrup.
03 — Taro Milk Tea
This flavor is known for its purple-tinged brown to nearly lilac color and coconut flavor. In typical taro boba, the taro root is not actually used—the flavor usually comes in a powder form.
04 — Fruit-Filled
This might be the best option for someone who has never tried boba before, but wants to test the waters. Popular flavors include passion fruit, mango, kiwi, green apple and pineapple. If you want to be more courageous, you can try flavors like avocado, jackfruit and watermelon. They can come with boba pearls filled with fruit juice or other toppings like AIYU jelly, watermelon cubes and crunchy passionfruit seeds.
05 — Mousse Boba Tea
Macchiato boba is a bold flavor, especially popular among the more adventurous foodies out there. This two-layer drink contains different types of pure tea at the bottom, sweetened with sugar and topped with a whipped mousse. Mixing the two layers makes for a creamy, sweet and savory flavor combination.
06 — Cheese Tea
I know what you’re thinking. Cheese tea?! This beverage is made by combining powdered cheese and salt with whipping cream and milk to form a foamy, tangy layer on the top of a cup of cold tea. The drink is popular in many parts of Asia and has gained a following in the U.S. as well. Cheese tea goes by other nicknames, such as “milk cap,” “cheese mouse” and “milk foam.”
How To Make Bubble Tea At Home
Yield: 4 drinks
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- 3 tablespoons of loose-leaf black tea
- 4 cups of hot water
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls
- Whole milk or milk alternative
- Simple syrup or sweetener alternative
- Prepare tea by steeping leaves in boiled water until completely cooled.
- Boil the four cups of water in a pot and add the tapioca pearls to cook them.
- Stir the pearls and wait for them to float to the top of the pot.
- Cook for another five minutes.
- Test a pearl to see if it has reached the desired texture. Cook the pearls another two minutes, if soft.
- Use a spoon to remove pearls from water.
- Rinse pearls with water and transfer to a bowl to cool down.
- Mix pearls with a few tablespoons of simple syrup or sweetener alternative.
- Strain the tea into a pitcher.
- Equally divide the cooked tapioca pearls into four glasses.
- Add a few ice cubes to each glass and pour one cup of tea into each glass.
- Add milk and simple syrup to each glass. Stir and add more milk or simple syrup to your preferred taste.
Tip: For anyone looking for Asian ingredients, you can purchase many from Amazon. But if you don’t want to wait for delivery, PK Oriental Mart is a close alternative only a couple of miles from University of Miami’s campus and carries ingredients that are harder to find online.
PK Oriental Mart
9501 SW 72nd St., Miami, FL 33173
words_alexis masciarella. photo_tiana torkan. design_katrina schmidt.
This article was published in Distraction’s winter 2020 print issue.