Tantalizing tapioca
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Tantalizing tapioca

Mar 30, 2024

Known as the drink that brought the culture of Taiwan to the world stage, bubble tea has become a drink sought after by millions. Bubble tea is a tasty drink, featuring chewy tapioca pearls along with a rich tea base. Sweet and creamy, it’s also refreshing, as the boba provides a contrasting texture that brings it all together.

This version is dairy-free. Be sure to buy large tapioca pearls, available at Asian markets, or order online. Made from cassava starch, they come in two main varieties — plain white or sweeter black pearls (if using black, be sure they are sweetened with black sugar and not caramel, which is not vegan).


• 2 cups water to make tea, plus more water as needed to prepare boba

• 3 black tea bags

• 1/2 to 1 cup boba (large tapioca pearls)

Plant-based milk creamer (such as macadamia or almond milk)

Agave nectar or sugar, to taste

Ice (optional)


Bring 2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let sit until water has cooled.

In a large pot, cook tapioca pearls as per package instructions (in general, add 1/2 cup pearls in 3 cups boiling water, then lower heat and simmer until pearls are translucent; stir to prevent sticking). Turn off heat and let sit 25 minutes.

Drain pearls and divide between 2 large glasses. Fill cups 3/4 with tea and the rest with creamer. Taste and add sugar or agave nectar, as desired. Add ice if preferred.

Serves 2.

Approximate nutrient analysis per serving (based on 12 fluid ounce glass, 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls, almond milk and not including sweetener to taste): 160 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 1 g protein. Nutritional analysis provided by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is an international nonprofit with a local office in Kaimuki. Its mission of community service includes the promotion of a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. To learn more, visit facebook.com/hawaiitzuchi or call 808-737-8885.

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Ingredients:water black tea bagsbobaPlant-based milk creamerAgave nectarsugar IceDirections: