Quick cooking boba (sometimes marked 5-minute boba) will take about 5 minutes once they're put in boiling water, so they're convenient, although these tend to have a lot of extra interesting looking ingredients, so I try to steer clear of them.
White tapioca pearls (http://www.eden-market.fr/en/preparation-for-dessert/476-tapioca-pearl-cock-brand-400g.html) will work, although they may fall apart slightly during the cooking process and they can take around an hour of boiling time to get fully chewy.
Tapioca pearls sold in a jar with syrup (http://filipino-store.com/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=39) don't have a great flavor. It's best to make your own simple syrup.
honey or 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 cup brown sugar
black tea bags
milk or almond milk or a few tablespoons (to taste) of sweetened condensed milk
Any additional flavorings such as syrups, frozen fruits (to be blended like a smoothie), flavored powders, or extracts
In This Recipe
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add boba and continue to boil, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 to 15 more minutes.
While the boba pearls are boiling, make a simple syrup: combine 1 cup of water with honey or sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring, over medium heat. Remove it from heat when it reaches a boil and set it aside until the pearls are ready.
Steep the 3 tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water for 4 minutes and let cool.
When the pearls are ready, drain them and then gently stir them into the syrup. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Distribute the pearls into two glasses and then combine the tea, the milk, and any desired flavorings in a cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice (this might be easiest to do one serving at a time-- 1 cup of tea and milk). Shake the tea vigorously and then pour it into a glass. While some say the name "bubble tea" is derived from the boba pearls, others say that the foam (or bubbles) on top of the tea that forms when shaking it is the real reason for why it's called bubble tea.
If you're wanting to use frozen fruit to make a smoothie, blend the 2 cups of tea, 2 cups of milk (or a few tablespoons of condensed milk), and about 3 cups of fruit in a blender until smooth. Pour over the pearls.