Sip on Bubble Coffee for a Sweet Summertime Drink

So you may have tried cold-brew coffee by now, right? You know, the smoother, less acidic cousin of brewed coffee. Well, it’s the perfect ingredient for another refreshing summertime drink – Bubble Coffee!

The ever-popular bubble or boba tea on many Asian menus or in tea shops is the inspiration for this make-at-home bubble coffee. According to many, bubble tea was born in Taiwan in the 1980s and first received its name after shaking together cold tea and added sweet flavorings, forming bubbles. Soon, tapioca pearl “bubbles” were added to the cold, sweet tea drink, too. After cooking, the sphere-shaped tapioca is chewy and much larger than the tapioca used for making pudding. Black-colored tapioca is the most popular color. It sits on the bottom of your drink glass, and because of the size, it requires an extra-wide-diameter straw to slurp and enjoy.

This Bubble Coffee recipe simply substitutes cold-brew coffee for brewed tea and includes the same fun, cooked tapioca pearls, along with your favorite milk and touch of sweetener. It’s all served ice cold. The black tapioca pearls and big straws are sold together online and ship for free with several retailers. Make your own Community® Cold Brew coffee – uber easy – or buy it already made. Finally, many purchased bubble teas include powdered flavorings, creamer and flavored sweet syrup, along with a fairly hefty price tag. But in this recipe, just a few ingredients – five – are required for amazing flavor and big summer fun!          

Bubble Coffee

Follow the simple notes below to prepare ingredients before assembling coffees … 

2-4 tablespoons cooked black tapioca pearls with added honey or sugar


½-1 cup Community® Cold Brew coffee, made ahead

½ -1 cup favorite milk (2%, almond, coconut, soy, etc.)

Simple syrup, condensed milk or honey to taste

Place tapioca pearls in the bottom of a glass; add ice. Pour in coffee, milk and simple syrup or other sweetener to taste (the amount of added sweetener you need depends on personal preference and sweetness of milk used). Stir with large straw to combine.

Makes 1 Bubble Coffee


  • To cook tapioca pearls:
    • Cook according to package directions. In general, boil 10 cups of water; stir in 1 cup tapioca pearls. (This amount is enough for about 6 Bubble Coffees.)
    • When tapioca pearls float, reduce heat to medium and cover pot; cook 3 minutes. Turn off heat; let sit about 3 minutes until softened but chewy. Drain.
    • Place in medium bowl. Stir in about ¼ cup honey or sugar to sweeten and keep tapioca pearls from turning hard. (Tapioca pearls are best used the day of cooking; they will be noticeably harder the following day but may be covered and refrigerated.)  
  • To make Community® Cold Brew coffee:
    • Open one Cold Brew Pouch. Drop both filter bags into a 2-quart (or larger) pitcher. Add 4 cups of cold, filtered water. Gently push down on filter bags to steep into water.
    • Steep coffee in fridge for 24 hours. For best results, use spoon to gently remove filter bags.
    • Enjoy! Add 3 cups of cold, filtered water to the pitcher.
  • To make simple syrup:
    • Combine equal parts warm water and sugar; stir until completely dissolved. Store in refrigerator.
  • For a blended-ice Bubble Coffee, combine all ingredients except for tapioca pearls in blender. Pour over tapioca pearls in bottom of glass.
  • For making “skinny” bubble tea, choose 1% or 2% milk and just a touch of added sweetener. It’s up to you how decadent to make your drink; condensed milk will add significant amounts of fat (and mouthfeel, too), along with sweetness.


Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee