Bubble tea first sprang to life in Taiwan in the early 1980s. There’s debate over who invented the beloved beverage, but a man named Liu Han-Chieh seems to be the most widely credited creator. His variation was made with a base of tea, milk, ice and tapioca pearls; however, over the years, fruit-based variations were also introduced.
Sweet, refreshing, icy, and satisfying all at once. If there were such a thing as love at first sip, bubble tea would hold that title for me. And this berry-filled, fizzy twist is every bit as enticing. Tapioca pearls are nestled at the bottom of this smoothie, yielding a fun and refreshing treat that will keep you coming back for more. Cheers to love at first sip!
7 cups water, divided
1/4 cup large tapioca pearls
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup filtered water
4 pitted Medjool dates or to taste
1/2–1 cup lime sparkling natural mineral water
For the Tapioca Pearls
In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the tapioca pearls and stir to disperse. Allow the water to return to a boil. Once the tapioca pearls begin to float to the top, lower the heat to medium and cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan completely, and allow the tapioca pearls to steep for 25 minutes, or until translucent. It’s okay if their centers are still flecked with a tiny bit of white.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining 3 cups water into a large jar and stir in the maple syrup.
Drain and thoroughly rinse the steeped tapioca pearls with cool water. Transfer them to the jar of sweetened water and refrigerate until ready to use. They’ll keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
For the Berry-Fizz Smoothie
Combine the raspberries, blueberries, filtered water and dates in a high-speed blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Stir in the sparkling mineral water, adding 1/2 cup for a sweeter smoothie or 1 cup for a lighter, more effervescent smoothie.
Spoon a generous amount of the tapioca pearls into 2 glasses and pour the berry smoothie on top. Serve immediately with a wide, bubble-tea straw large enough to slurp up the pearls.