HK Bubble Milk Tea （港式珍珠奶茶）
Bubble milk tea is great for a party. It is easy to make, and everybody loves it. You can serve it hot or cold, depending on the weather. Ideally, Ceylon black tea is the best. However, Lipton will work just fine if you can't get Ceylon black tea. Usually, the HK milk tea ratio is three parts of tea and 1 part of evaporated milk. I prefer mine to be extra milky, so this recipe's ratio is 2-1.
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add 12 tea bags. Simmer on low heat for 2 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the tea bags steep in hot water for 3 minutes.
- Discard the tea bags. Get another pot and pour the tea back and forth a few times. The purpose is to aerate the tea, so it becomes smoother, similar to wine tasting.
- Combine the tea with the evaporated milk, add sugar to taste, and chill it in the fridge until cold. If you ask me, can you use fresh whole milk instead? The answer is yes, but you will have to use milk to steep the tea instead of using water in order to get a similar taste and consistency. You can watch this video for the demo.
During this time, bring another pot of water to a boil, add the tapioca bubbles, and cook until they float to the top of the water. If you can't find store-bought tapioca pearls, watch this video to make them from scratch.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer the tapioca balls for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Sieve the pearls and shock them for a few minutes to get a nice chewy texture. An important note is that you should cook the pearls the day you serve them because you can't put them in the fridge. Although they need the ice bath to activate the texture, refrigerating them overnight will cause the tapioca starch to be retrograde, and you will end up with some hard rubber balls.
- Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and stir well to keep the bubbles lubricated. Leave it at room temperature until you serve.
When serving, add the tapioca pearls to the milk tea and stir well.