Homemade Boba is Here For You During Quarantine


Photo on the left by Andrea Alcantara, Photo on the right by Julia Garcia

Ever since the quarantine lockdown, it has been difficult for people to obtain their favorite boba drinks because many boba shops have closed. To satisfy their craving for boba, people have turned to homemade boba kits. 

Homemade boba has become a popular trend during quarantine. There have been videos all over social media such as TikTok and Youtube on how to make it. Many people have either loved or hated their homemade boba drinks, as it depends on whether they boiled the boba pearls correctly. However, most attempts end up in success if the boba is soft and chewy. 

Making boba at home has been trending on social media, but there are other reasons why people try it out. Andrea Alcantara, a junior at North Hollywood High School, has a strong love for Thai tea boba. Before quarantine, it was her go-to drink. “I got my boba late at night, so I had to go find other boba places once they started to close early. However, they weren’t that good.” Although Alcantara could not find a boba shop that could satisfy her late-night craving, she resorted to making homemade boba. Laura Kwak, a senior at North Hollywood High School, was not disappointed about boba shops closing. “I do drink it [boba] a lot but it is pricey, so I am not too sad.” Kwak began to make homemade boba when she received an instant boba kit that allows her to microwave boba. 

Some people might be intimidated by the boba making process, especially if it is their first time. There is no perfect way to make boba and it requires a lot of trial and error. “I thought it would taste bad because I didn’t know what I was doing…I just boiled the pearls and it wasn’t that bad.” When Alcantara made boba for the first time it tasted good enough to satisfy her craving. On the other hand, Kwak believed her first time making boba would taste close to the ones bought at boba shops, but it did not. “I was excited and told myself ‘I wouldn’t need to buy boba anymore.’ Sadly, that was not the case.” 

If the first attempt did not turn out well, there are different recipes or methods out there to try. “The first time I made boba, I didn’t know you were supposed to put sugar and honey.”  Crucial ingredients needed to make boba are sugar and honey, which give the boba pearls that sweet taste. 

When the quarantine order is lifted, many boba shops can begin to open, running at their regular times. Some people would prefer going out to buy already made boba for a delicious, stress-free dessert. On the other hand, some people want to enjoy the beverage after hard work. “It is labor-intensive but I feel the process of making it is so much better because I made it.” Since boba will continue to be expensive, Kwak will start to make boba at home often, allowing her to savor her drink even more. 

Making boba is a fun activity to try out during quarantine. Alcantara shares tips for those who want to make boba. “Know what you’re doing. Find a recipe because it doesn’t taste good when you don’t know what you are doing.” Kwak has shared additional tips as well. “Tapioca starch gets everywhere. Making boba is not a clean process, it gets dirty fast. Also, try to use dark brown sugar. Light brown sugar in markets doesn’t produce the same taste. If you want it to taste like ‘boba shop’ boba, you need to put in that much more effort.” 

It is okay to repeat this process multiple times because once the boba turns out perfect, it will be worth the time. 

How to make at-home boba (steps may vary depending on the packaging):

  1. Boil about 4 cups of water and add in the tapioca pearls
  2. Stir the pot until the pearls float to the top
  3. After 20-30 minutes, check the pearls to see if they are at your desired softness
  4. Once the pearls are done, place them into a bowl and rinse them with water
  5. Have the boba pearls sit for 10-15 minutes
  6. Place the pearls into a cup and done! 

Some extra tips are to prepare the tea and the syrup, which will add sweetness to your milk tea. Not sure about what boba pack to get? Some recommendations are “J Way Brown Sugar Bubble Tea Kits” and “Brown Sugar Milk Tea with Konjac Jelly” by the company 3:15 pm