With the Alley in my neighborhood releasing the Deerioca, a simple drink with brown sugar tapioca pearls and fresh milk, a while back, it’s been my favorite drink to get at any boba joints. The sweet, chewy sensation of the warm boba is the perfect companion for the light, refreshing taste of fresh milk. While to me, this drink is perfection, I can’t help but notice how much I’m being ripped off. Any brown sugar latte or their cousin variants are simply made of three ingredients: boba, milk, and a shit ton of sweetener. Being charged over $6 per drink considering what goes in is ludicrous.
So I decided to try to replicate my favorite drink at home, and through a few test runs, I’ve arrived at a somewhat-doable-with-practice-ish recipe in terms of difficulty and time, but the outcome is a definitely-very-delicious-drink-if-we-add-the-sugar. :)
For the pearls themselves, we’ll be using tapioca starch, brown sugar (packed), and water in a 3:1:1 volume ratio.
As for serving sizes, using 1 cup of starch will probably be enough for around 5 cups of boba.
Boil the water in a pot, and dissolve the brown sugar in the water. Once fully dissolved, mix in the tapioca starch slowly. This is part one of two of the hardest part of the recipe.
Once the mixture is starting to take place, take it out of the pot and begin kneading. The goal here is to make sure the starch is evenly distributed and there are no chunks of undissolved starch. This is part two of the hardest part, but it is important to be speedy, as once the mixture cools down it’ll be impossible to mold the mixture into balls.
Now, we can begin making our tapioca. Pull and roll the mixture into long cylinders (like noodles!), and begin cutting them into little pearl shaped chunks before rolling them into balls (optional). Since these little boys are going to expand when we cook them, it’s important to keep them at around half the 3/4 of the size of regular tapioca if you still want them to go up a straw. When collecting the individual pearls, make sure to coat them with a bit more tapioca starch to avoid sticking.
Finally, we can begin cooking the tapioca. In boiling water, drop in the pearls and cook for 25 minutes. At that point, turn off the heat and let rest for another 10 minutes.
Drain the water and collect the pearls over a strainer. To make them more saucy and sticky, put them back into a pan/pot and heat them with brown sugar or honey.
With the tapioca ready, simply put them into a cup and serve with fresh milk! While this process is lengthy, it’s certainly worth the treat!