How to Enjoy Your Favorite Boba Drinks at Home

Boba can be found in cans, made in the microwave, and even enjoyed in popsicles.

boba diy homemade costco pearls tapioca pearl milk tea
Design by Chineme Elobuike for Thrillist
Design by Chineme Elobuike for Thrillist

In the ’90s, boba was mostly found in Taiwanese enclaves speckled across America—a perfect post-dinner treat or refreshing snack for those in-the-know and among the neighborhoods that house boba spots.

Now, boba is everywhere—including in canned drinks, among the aisles of Costco, and in frozen dessert form. If you want to stock up on boba products so you can enjoy the chewy tapioca balls in the comfort of your home, at any hour of the day, here’s what you should buy.

Boba Bam is an instant boba kit you can find at Costcos across the nation—from Alaska, to Hawaii, to North Dakota—so even if you don’t have a local boba shop in your area, you can still enjoy the bounciness of a tapioca pearl drink. Preparation is easy: simply microwave the brown sugar boba packets and pour the hot tapioca into your favorite drink (or over a cake!). With 12 sleeves per box, Boba Bam is vegan and gluten-free, and it even comes with boba straws for easy sipping.

Tea Drops describe their teas like bath bombs—they easily dissolve and infuse hot water with tea, no bags or straining required. In partnership with Copper Cow, the Vietnamese pour over coffee brand, Tea Drops has rolled out a collection of different boba tea kits to prepare from home using their signature compressed teas and Copper Cow’s sweetened, condensed milk. You can select from matcha, ube, Thai tea, or a deluxe kit that has a sampler of different flavors. Each pack comes with vacuum-sealed boba you can boil from home. Prepare teas hot, iced, or mixed and matched.

If you don’t want to microwave or boil your boba, Inotea is one of the most low-lift options to still have boba at home. This milk tea comes in flavors like brown sugar, matcha, honeydew, banana, and more with precooked boba pearls in each can. Of course, the texture of the boba in Inotea is not as spectacularly chewy as the freshly made pearls you might find at your local tea shop, but the flavor is still entrenched in classic, syrupy brown sugar.

If you’re a fan of Boba Guys, the Bay Area boba chain that has expanded to Los Angeles and New York, then you can replicate their boba at home with this DIY kit. The kits come in different flavors of tea like hojicha and matcha and include 10 servings of boba, a jar of sweetener, a bamboo whisk, a metal straw, a teaspoon, and written instructions on how to prepare everything.

O’s Bubble is commonly found at Asian grocery stores, but you can also buy packs online. Similarly to Boba Bam, all you need is a microwave and a minute of your time to get chewy boba at home. Unlike Boba Bam, these kits come with different tea flavors: strawberry, taro, classic black tea, and brown sugar are some of the many varieties. Additionally, O’s Bubble also carries popping boba, the tropical pearls that burst like gushers and pair well with fruitier drinks. You can find flavors like passion fruit, lychee, and mango for your next pitcher of iced tea.

When boba popsicles first launched, I was hesitant. Anyone who has ever put leftover boba in the fridge knows how damaging the cold can be to the pearls; they end up like hard BB gun pellets. Fast forward to now—some genius food scientists figured out how to maintain the chewiness of boba in a frozen brown sugar popsicle. The result is the perfect ice cream to satisfy any boba craving. Eat them whole or blend them up for a boba frappe. You can find these at any Asian grocery store, but Costco also carries them.

Boba Straw

Not every kit out there comes with a boba straw, which is necessary for getting the full boba experience. Sure, you can always spoon the pearls out, but using a straw is so much more satisfying. There are so many variations of boba straws to choose from: glass, metal, and plastic. The best part is reusing the straw to bring a bit more sustainability into your life. Make sure to buy the sort that has a pointed tip so you can continue to use your straws to pierce the film that seals drinks when purchasing boba at a shop.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.