DESIGNING THE WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE BUBBLE TEA.
SHAKE UP THE STATUS QUO.
It's Bubble Tea Reimagined.
QUESTION EVERYTHING. WE DID EXACTLY THAT. BUT, IN BUBBLE TEA.
Bubble tea (also known as “boba”, “PMT”, and “BBT”) is a common beverage of Taiwanese origin that first appeared in the 1980s, of which chewy tapioca pearls are poured into a glass of iced, sweetened tea.
Today, the drink has gained popularity around the world. However, many of the ingredients used to make it are questionable—from low quality tea using dust and fannings instead of whole tea leaves, non-dairy creamers, and corn syrup to artificial flavors—and has tarnished this beverage’s reputation.
The Birth of a New World-Class Beverage: The Boba Teashake
How do you make the ordinary, extraordinary? The art of culinary meets the art of tea in this exciting project by TEALEAVES x The St. Regis San Francisco that challenges design, technique, sourcing, and craftsmanship in the world of bubble tea.
Called the “Boba Teashake”, the World's Most Expensive Bubble Tea project is a fun, five-star twist to a popular beverage, using the highest quality ingredients possible to create something unforgettably delicious. It's a game of balance and blending—from color + aroma + taste + texture—to let the quality of each ingredient shine where the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
DEVELOP A DISCERNING PALATE LIKE A TRUE TEA CONNOISSEUR.
LEARN HOW OUR MASTER BLENDERS GRADE AND EVALUATE BUBBLE TEA WITH THIS GUIDE.
FOR PALATE + QUALITY CONTROL
At TEALEAVES we source our teas and botanicals from the world’s tier-1 gardens. The fuller the leaves, the more robust and complex the palate. All of TEALEAVES’ organic teas are herbicide, pesticide, and GMO-free. All of TEALEAVES’ decaffeinated teas use the Swiss Water Decaffeination Process.
Tea should be blended so that the weaknesses of each ingredient is mitigated by the strengths of another. At TEALEAVES we blend for color + aroma + taste to create the perfect palate for different contexts of which the tea is served.
Tea should be protected from moisture, air and light, as tea is porous and may absorb surrounding aromas. TEALEAVES’ opaque tin with an airtight double lid and layers of foil packaging ensures freshness and limits oxygen degradation.
TEALEAVES uses independent third-party lot testing for each botanical ingredient and strictly test for herbicides and pesticides. Following Japanese and EU standards and using US certified labs, we have become highly regarded by world-class chefs and mixologists around the world.
Made from the cassava root, tapioca pearls use starch extracted from the Manihot esculenta plant. Originally from South America and the Caribbean, the cassava plant is now cultivated worldwide.
The moist cassava starch is passed through a sieve under pressure to make the pearls. The dried starch is then rolled into balls.
Dry tapioca pearls should be stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dry area. Cooked tapioca pearls can be stored for up to six hours to prevent hardening.
WITH METHOD + TECHNIQUE
Infusing + Cooling the Tea
Heating (but not over-boiling, which leads to de-oxygenation) the water to the correct temperature ensures the best expression of taste (“terroir”).
Infusion times are the difference between a proper balance of flavors (as our blenders intend) and bitter tea due to the over-extraction of tannins. As long as the tea leaves are in contact with water, they will continue to infuse.
Using fresh, low-mineral filtered water allows for the more nuanced, delicate flavor profiles to emerge, while heavy mineral water can render the tea and herbs dull or “flat.” The tea-to-water ratio is critical to control for accurate infusion times, water temperature, and for optimal palate.
When preparing black iced tea, wait before adding ice to prevent clouding resulting from microscopic air bubbles. Our iced teas have been blended specifically for ice, to reduce the chance of cloudiness, with a clear liquor (reminiscent of scotch on the rocks).
Boiling the Tapioca
Tapioca should be cooked until transparent while stirring so they do not stick the pot and change shape. Serve tapioca pearls fresh to prevent hardening.
Tasting for Balance
Taste like a tea connoisseur – we evaluate our teas for character, body, aroma, finish, liquor, and leaf quality. For bubble tea, we evaluate the harmony between color + aroma + taste + texture.
WITH PLATING + PRESENTATIONS
In bubble tea, TEALEAVES blends specifically for color + aroma + taste + texture. The first taste is with the eyes and choosing a colorless Riedel glass, known to highlight the complex aromas of wine, allows the nuances of the tea to emerge.
Bubble tea is meant to be drunk cool for optimal taste, texture and refreshment.
Garnishing + Layering
A garnish is the finishing touch, while layering the drink not only creates visual appeal, but a layered, complex taste.
The Recipe Card
THE BOBA TEASHAKE — WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE BUBBLE TEA
BY EXECUTIVE CHEF FRANCK DESPLECHIN
¹ MOUNTAIN BERRY TAPIOCA PEARL
² LYCHEE PASSIONFRUIT TEA BASE
³ SALTED CARAMEL FOAM
⁴ PASSIONFRUIT COULIS
⁵ TO SERVE
Mountain Berry Tapioca Pearl
6 ozTapioca pearl
4 qtHot water
- Bring the hot water to a boil at 212°F, and then infuse TEALEAVES Mountain Berry on a coffee filter for 10 minutes. Press the coffee filter to extract the maximum liquid from the tea and discard the tea.
- Bring TEALEAVES Mountain Berry tea to a boil and incorporate the Tapioca pearl and bring down to simmer. Cook the Tapioca for about 1h15 until Tapioca pearls are cooked and transparent. Make sure you are stirring the pot often.
- Strain it, then cool down under cold water to eliminate the excessive starch. Reserve in the refrigerator.
Lychee Passionfruit Tea Base
4 cupHot Water (212°F degrees)
- Prepare 1 TEALEAVES x Royal Crown Derby Basic White T-Pot with the water and then infuse TEALEAVES Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea Black on a coffee filter for 3 minutes.
- Press the coffee filter to extract the maximum liquid from the tea and discard the tea.
- Add 1 oz of the honey and cool down on ice.
Salted Caramel Foam
7 ozHeavy Cream
7 ozWhole Milk
2 ozSalted Butter
¼ tspFleur de Sel
- Cook caramel to light brown, gradually add butter with fleur de sel, temper with warm milk, cream. Reduce to desired consistency.
- Cool down and reserve in the refrigerator.
17 ozPassionfruit Purée (Boiron)
- Mix all ingredients together and pour in a cream whipper canister (syphon) with one CO2 cartridge. Reserve in the refrigerator.
1 ozMountain Berry Tapioca Pearl
1 tbspPassionfruit Coulis + 1 Pipette
2 ozCaramel Foam
To tasteFleur de sel
- Store the «Riedel» glass in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- When glass is chilled, place the tapioca pearls at the bottom of the «Riedel» glass.
- Add the passion fruit coulis to the bottom of the glass.
- With a cocktail shaker filled up with ice cubes, shake the TEALEAVES Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea Black for a few seconds to chill it.
- Pour TEALEAVES Lychee Passionfruit Bubble Tea Black into the glass, leaving the ice cubes behind.
- Fill the glass to the top with the caramel foam.
- Top the foam with a little bit of fleur de sel and then place the pipette for decoration.
- Serve chilled with a wide straw.