*This recipe makes just over 1 cup of boba pearls, enough for 4 to 6 drinks. Leftover pearls can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days in the brown sugar syrup. To use leftover boba pearls, add a small amount of water to the pearls being used and microwave until just warm (approximately 30 seconds).
*If drying boba pearls for extended storage (freezing), allow pearls to completely dry out for at least 4 hours. Shake the baking sheet every so often during those 4 hours (bigger pearls will take a bit longer to dry) to keep the pearls from becoming flat on any one side and ensure even drying. Once completely dry, store in an airtight container, preferably in single layers, layered between parchment to prevent possible sticking. Place into the freezer; up to 6 months. Cook from frozen, adding 5 minutes to the boiling time.
*If not boiling all of the boba pearls at once, use 6 times the amount of water; for example, if using ¼ cup of pearls, boil 1½ cups of water.
*Cover any dough you are not working with plastic wrap to ensure the dough doesn’t dry out.
*Get an extra set of hands to help roll the dough into boba pearls; this will speed up the process.
*If dough begins to crack or feels dry, wet hands lightly with cold water before working dough.
*If dough is sticking to your hands or work surface, sift a tablespoon of tapioca starch over the dough and knead in until a tacky dough is achieved.
*Make sure the size of the boba pearl is close to ¼ inch and no larger than ½ inch. Boba pearls tend to swell in size as they cook, and many bubble tea straws are not big enough to fit pearls bigger than ½ inch.
*After boiling in the simple syrup, remove one pearl and test to see if it is completely cooked through. The centre should be chewy and have no hard bits. If the center is still slightly hard, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
*Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar or Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar can be used for the entire recipe if desired. Note that if using all Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, the syrup and boba pearls will have a deeper, earthy sweetness than if using all Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar.
*Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can be used for either the Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar or Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar; note that the resulting boba pearls or syrup will be much lighter in colour and have a less pronounced caramel-like flavour.
*To make this recipe vegan, any plant-based milk alternative can be substituted for the whole milk (e.g. oat, coconut, soy, cashew, or almond beverage).
*Hojicha powder or tea can be found in specialty tea shops and/or Japanese supermarkets. If using loose leaf hojicha tea, use twice the amount of tea leaves (5 teaspoons). If using tea bags, use 4 to 5 teabags. Use hot water heated between 176°F to 194°F(80°C to 90°C), and allow tea to steep for at least 3 minutes but no longer than 5 minutes. Strain or lift out teabags and stir into the cold milk. Discard tea leaves or tea bags.
*For the original brown sugar milk tea (aka “tiger milk tea”), instead of the hojicha milk tea, pour milk or nondairy milk beverage into the glass filled with the brown sugar boba and syrup.
*Stir the brown sugar boba hojicha milk tea with the straw to incorporate the brown sugar syrup into the drink before enjoying.