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DIY Bubble Tea

Posted by Mandy / May 25, 2010

Picture 32.png Having exhausted most of Montreal's bubble tea joints such as Cactus, Magic Idea, and L2 in search of the perfect bubble tea, I decided to take matters into my own hands. This urge was mostly prompted by an ill-fated ordering of longan bubble tea, which happened at an unnamed Chinatown joint. I expected longan, which has a taste very similar to lychee, to be a unique choice for bubble tea, different from the honeydew or green apple flavours that are so often ordered. However, this longan bubble tea tasted like an Asian version of cod liver oil.

Swearing off undesirable bubble tea experiences and vowing to forever associate bubble tea only with happiness, I decided to make my own bubble tea.

tapi765172551047_13609377_43885511_4408709_n.jpg I bought tapioca pearls at the Japanese/Korean grocery store a few blocks east of Atwater on Ste-Catherine. There are a lot of different types you can buy. Traditionally, bubble tea is made with the large, brown tapioca. However, I decided to go with the more fun, multicoloured mini-tapioca pearls. You can even buy the thick bubble tea straws here.

Picture 2-2.png The rest is quite simple. You boil the tapioca for twenty minutes. You don't even need to stir it. You can put a tablespoon of sugar into the water for sweeter tapioca.

After boiling for twenty minutes, let it sit, covered, for about twenty minutes.

Then, 99.9% of the work is done. You have tapioca ready to use in any liquid concoction that you desire. You can go traditional, with milk tea, or do something that doesn't require any tea at all. Like an alcoholic cocktail.

29714_765172536077_13609377_43885510_1007721_n.jpg In an attempt to positively move forward from that longan misfortune, I opted for a sweet juice blend. I mixed one half aloe juice - my absolute favourite juice for the summer. Sweet and fresh with chunks of aloe, perfect for sipping up through those giant straws. This you can also buy at that same grocery store where you picked up the tapioca and the straws, but it is widely available at any Asian grocery store.

I mixed that with half Welch's white grape and pear juice. You could probably blend a bit of white or lavender tea in there too, if you really wanted that shot of tea.

Picture 4.png I enjoyed this baby in the late-spring sunshine and was more than satisfied.



Shawn Carpenter / May 25, 2010 at 11:58 am
Interesting. I saw this stuff on the food network the other day and I really want to try it!
filmbeats / May 25, 2010 at 02:09 pm
I've never been really impressed with bubble tea in Montreal. Everyone uses powered flavours. There was this one small place on Cote des Neiges that used real fruit and it really made the bubble tea taste a lot better (they have now changed to a mexican bistro).

Have you tried Glow? It's a new place in Chinatown that also has bubble tea and does Cactus even still exist? I thought Little Fat Lamb took over their joint years ago.
Mandy / May 25, 2010 at 04:53 pm
There is a Cactus next to Concordia on Mackay. Whether or not it has any relation to the original Cactus, I don't know.

As for Glow... I'm afraid to report that is where the aforementioned bubble tea mishap occurred. Not especially impressive, but friendly service, and a fun, different atmosphere.
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pat / May 26, 2010 at 05:36 pm
there's a little cafe in Place Vertu, that sells bubble tea it's right next to canadian tire. it's the only place I've known where to get bubble tea and it is pretty good.
filmbeats / May 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm
I'm not surprised about Glow although I never had the bubble tea there. Too bad though as it's a nice place to hang out at and it's open late on Saturday (until 3am).

As I type this I recall the bubbletease place in eaton center. There's also the magic idea near concordia on de maisonneuve and the other one whose name I forget across the street from it. I think I've been to all those places at one point but don't remember much about them.

Nice recipe you have here although I wonder what would've happened if you added the tea. I used to buy green apple flavoured tea which is one of my favourite drinks. However when I attempted to mix tea with apple juice, it turned out incredibly sour.
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