Why go out for boba when you can just make it at home?

Sparking a craze in 2019, boba tea took over Japan in a storm with amusing culinary fusions, a theme park, and even a temporary boba crash so to speak. And while headway is being made for the current pandemic with the quickened rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, it’s not necessarily the best time to go out and enjoy boba at your local cafe. However, Muji, known for its minimalistic design, has stepped in to change the tea game by now offering a boba tea kit for folks to the make the popular beverage at home, and naturally, we decided to try it out for ourselves.

Officially called Handmade Tapioca, each kit comes with two packets: one with the drink base and another with tapioca mix. Besides these two packets, folks who’d like to try their hand making homemade boba with Muji’s kit will need milk, water, and ice.

▼ Each kit is enough for four servings.

▼ Clockwise from top: milk, ice, and water.

The first step in making homemade boba is to combine the tapioca mix with water. As we mixed both ingredients together, we were surprised to see how solid as well as squishy the powder became. After kneading it for roughly six to eight minutes, left behind in the bowl were sizable but malleable bits of tapioca.

Next we combined the tapioca into one mass and rolled it into a longer length. We then proceeded to cut the tapioca into smaller, bite-sized pieces, and within our palms, rolled them into a more spherical shape. The act itself, both nostalgic and fun, reminded us of playing with clay or Play-Doh from our younger years.

▼ If you plan on making boba later, make sure to cover the tapioca with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

▼ For funsies, we made a mega tapioca ball.

Once we finished forming the tapioca into round, petite pieces, it was time to cook everything. We dropped the boba in boiling water, and after 10 minutes, deposited the finished tapioca in a bowl of iced water and waited for them to cool. All in all, the whole process took 20 minutes, which we figured was roughly the same amount of time it takes to wait for boba at a cafe when the drink was at its peak popularity in Japan.

▼ Naturally, it took a little more time to cook the massive hunk of boba.

▼ And voila!

With the tapioca done and now retaining a more glutinous look, it was time to add the rest of the ingredients. We first put the tapioca in a cup, then a portion of the drink base packet from the Muji kit, and lastly topped it all off with milk. After combining everything thoroughly with a spoon, we were left with our boba tea!

▼ Of course, depending on your preference for how sweet or milky you want your boba, the amount of milk can be adjusted to your liking.

▼ We did the same process for the gigantic ball of boba, and the resulting drink had two clearly visible divisions in the liquid.

Now for those who are observant or very familiar with boba in general, you’re probably wondering: how does one eat the boba exactly? After all, at tea stores, they typically give you a thick straw which helps you suck up the tapioca, but at home, we realized we didn’t grab any extra boba straws ahead of time. For now, we made do with a spoon, and chewing on the boba between sips was as close to the experience as we could get. Between the fragrant tea and the chewy tapioca, overall we found the boba to be satisfying and tasty.

▼ Consuming this one by spoon, on the other hand, is a totally different story.

While the homemade boba kit is not the same as lounging at a cafe with friends while sipping at some tea, in terms of cost, Muji’s kit was only 390 yen (US$3.55), which is quite a steal considering how one kit is enough for four servings of delicious boba, or perhaps the equivalent of Tokyo’s biggest boba offering for the ambitious.

Photos © SoraNews24
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