Coffee boba is a refreshing cold beverage on a sweltering hot day. You need to try this easy-to-make drink if you cannot do without your usual morning cup of joe. Continue reading this article to try our foolproof recipe for this caffeinated bubble tea - an excellent drink option for this summer!
What is coffee boba made of?
Coffee boba is made of freshly cold-brewed iced coffee, tapioca pearls, milk or creamer. Additionally, you can add extra sugar or syrup.
What does coffee boba taste like?
Coffee boba tastes slightly bitter, yet at the same time very sweet and creamy. This unique contrast is because the usual cutting taste of the caffeine brew is musked with thick milk or sugar. Besides, this drink usually uses cold brew java.
When the beans are soaked overnight, they leave behind the compound that makes your regular cup of joe sour and bitter. As a result, only a tepid sweetness remains.
This coffee and boba drink may taste less sweet if you add chewy tapioca balls. This is because tapioca has a neutralising effect, lending a sticky, flat texture. So if you are not very fond of caffeine drinks, this might be a good alternative. Besides, the tapioca starch balls are fun to chew.
Coffee boba is around 128 calories without sugar. However, the figure can go to 340 to 400 calories if you include sugar, whipped cream or additional syrups.
Coffee boba Ingredients
This coffee boba recipe's main ingredients are coffee, milk and boba, as well as sugar and ice. Let's break down each ingredient!
You can use any plain ground beans for your bubble tea. Just brew it as you want, and then add ice. Of course, you do not have to use coffee beans. We recommend that if you do not want to use beans, you can also try ready-made blended ice coffee powder.
Add tapioca balls to complete your bubble tea and coffee drink. You can buy the pearls ready-made in any grocery store or online. Extra ice is optional!
There are a lot of dairy alternatives you can use if you are lactose intolerant or prefer not to use whole cream milk.
You can choose almond or oat milk if you need a vegan option. If you want a healthier choice, there are other alternatives, such as skim milk, 2% or half and half milk.
Whole milk is high in fat and gives the caffeinated sweet drink a creamy, dense and smooth texture. This type of milk is the main one used in bubble tea shops. Therefore, if you choose to use 2% or half and half, you will not get the rich beverage you usually drink at bubble tea shops.
This taste difference is due to the lower fat content. For skim milk, as there is no fat content at all, the stronger acrid taste of the caffeine will cut through. There are other creamer options. So, you can try and see which one suits you best.
For a plant-based alternative, you can use oat milk which is sweeter, but your drink will taste less thick due to the lower fat content. Alternatively, almond milk can give the glass a wholesome, nutty taste.
You can also add sugar and honey or make a simple syrup with coconut sugar for those who prefer the drink sweeter. Of course, you may use other sugar alternatives as well.
Coffee boba pearls
The boba pearls are made from tapioca starch from the cassava root - a popular component in boba tea. Contrary to popular belief, nobody uses gelatin to make these chewy, delicious balls. Instead, it is entirely plant-based and is therefore vegan-friendly.
Try popping boba if you want to substitute tapioca with something less sticky! It is a fun bubble tea topping made from water, sugar, colourful fruit juice and alginic acid, causing them to burst with fruity deliciousness!
Moreover, if you are making them at home, the cooking can involve the whole family and is a lot of fun! You can educate yourself about food science while creating a delightful beverage.
If you wonder where you can taste popping pearls before you try to make them, you can head over to your nearest Starbuck to try Starbucks boba. The company has tested several boba drinks with these fruity, light balls and launched them at the start of 2022. As a result, you should be able to find these new drinks in many of its outlets worldwide.
Coffee Boba (Iced Coffee Bubble Tea Recipe)
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup black tapioca pearls (store-bought)
- ¼ cup cold brew coffee
- ½ cup milk
- Boil water in a small-medium saucepan. Add the boba pearls and stir until they float to the top. Stir for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat, cover them, and let the pearls rest. Next, drain the water and move the boba into a small bowl or container. Let it sit until the pearls are at room temperature.
- Combine the cold brew coffee with milk and ice cubes. Adding sugar is optional, and if needed, add water. Finally, add the tapioca pearls.
- To make cold brew, ground your beans. Add water, then let them soak overnight. The final result is a strong caffeinated drink, as the slow infusion of beans in water pulls the flavours out thoroughly. If you feel that it's too much or too little, you can adjust the amount of ground coffee or powder.
- You can make a simple syrup from coconut sugar by boiling coconut sugar and then letting it cool. After cooling, you can add this caramelised syrup to your pearls in Step 1. This extra ingredient makes your drink even sweeter.
- Also, note that while you can keep the tapioca pearls for a few days in the fridge, they will turn hard and lumpy after a few days. Therefore, it is best to use them when they are fresh.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Kris Trismo on Youtube has a simple video recipe on how she made the drink to be Instagram-worthy! Check out her video on how she beautifully presents the bittersweet drink.
Variations To Try Next
You might be wondering if there are any variations for this drink. Let's take a look at some:
Coffee milk tea boba (yuen yeung)
Coffee milk tea boba is the first variation. The combination is called “yuen yeung” or “yuan yang” in Cantonese, which translates to Mandarin duck. It's a romantic notion as the Chinese believe that Mandarin ducks are faithful lovers.
Yet, a quick Google image search reveals that male and female ducks do not resemble each other. So just like the ducks, the name suggests a beautiful pairing of these two caffeinated beverages despite being very different. But when you drink this beverage for the first time, you might feel confused.
Unlike the name, the two flavours do not sit well with each other. Instead, the flavours are incredibly distinct and layered when you taste the drink.
We think that it's an acquired combination. You can savour the creaminess of the milk, but it does have the bitter black tea aftertaste to it. So for most people, it's either you love it at first gulp or never try it again. You can order this when you are unsure of which caffeine type you want!
Dalgona coffee boba
The second variation is dalgona coffee boba. This drink is a frothy ice variation, which uses whipped-thick cream to enhance its experience. It originated from South Korea and was a Tiktok craze for some time in 2021 as many people tried to make the beverage at home.
Usually, this drink uses bitter Arabic beans as a base for sweet, dense cream. However, the technique does not stop at making the cup of java. It's also about knowing how to whip the cream. Most cafes will whip the milk thoroughly until there is a foamy layer that floats atop the drink. You should also have a look at our dalgona candy recipe for a fun sugary treat!
If you've headed to your neighbourhood Starbucks, you might notice that they have started selling what looks like coffee boba. However, their rendition of the drink, namely Starbucks boba, uses juicy popping pearls rather than tapioca pearls.
While the Internet has plenty of recipes for making these fruity pearls, the company has not released an official recipe. The chewy pearls with your usual cup of joe are a nice spin on the creamier boba drinks churned out by bubble tea shops. However, If you want something lighter to start your day, perhaps this drink version will be more to your liking.
We hope you've enjoyed reading this article on coffee boba. If it's hot where you are, it is a perfect beverage to serve at pool-side parties.
Why not post pictures if you've tried making the recipe? Follow and tag us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks. We would love to see what you've tried!