Boba Thai Tea Shooters

A few months back I received an email from my blogger friend Lan over at morestomach. Lan had messaged me to ask about making Thai Iced Tea, that much-loved sweet orange concoction that Thai food lovers can’t seem to get enough of.

In our chats, I shared with Lan a few tips on making Thai tea and some ideas on where she might be able to find some (you can find it at Asian markets, Amazon, or Teavana). We then discussed how the tea gets that strange yet inviting bright orange color. Lan’s food style is pure, clean, and elegantly composed, so I had to break it to her gently…that neon coloring is artificial.

I put this recipe together to use up the last of my Thai tea stash that’s been hanging out in the back of my tea cabinet over the last year. Since it’s Halloween this week, I figure I should put that orange brilliance to good use and make some festive Thai Tea Shooters in test tubes, complete with a few boba balls for an extra spooky effect.

Today I’m using plastic test tube favors to make these shots. I found them on sale at my local craft store (Michaels) over the weekend (part of the Martha Stewart line), and can’t get over how adorable they are. Glass tubes would be so much classier, but hey, it Halloween, so a bit of tackiness is allowed right!?

There’s really nothing to making Thai Tea. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down so that it doesn’t melt the ice that you serve it with. Luckily, that’s not an issue here because these shots are made with well-chilled tea. This way, there’s no need for ice and the tea keeps its strong flavor and creamy appearance.

Another tip for making good Thai Tea is to boil the tea for a long time. This type of full flavored tea isn’t sensitive to heat like traditional brews are, so it’s fine to boil the tea for up to 15 minutes instead of just steeping it. A darker, more concentrated brew will be tastier than a lighter one, since you can always adjust the strength of the tea with the stronger version.

What character are you planning to be this Halloween? If you’re having a get together and know that your guests are Thai tea fans, be a Mad Scientist and make some ghastly Boba Thai Tea Shooters! These curious little treats will be the delight of any creepy bash!

Boba Thai Tea Shooters

Makes 12-15 test tube shots.


1/2 cup loose leaf Thai tea

1 quart of water

1/2 cup sugar, or to taste

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup boba tapioca balls, prepared according to package instructions


large pot

large heatproof pitcher

a double layered piece of cheesecloth

fine mesh strainer

test tube favors (I used Martha Stewart brand)

tall basket or test tube holder


1.)  Boil the water in a large pot, add the tea, then lower the heat to a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes. After 15 minutes, strain out the leaves by pouring the tea through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof pitcher.

2.)  Add the sugar to the tea just after boiling. Feel free to play around with the amount of sugar to suit your taste. Let the tea cool to room temperature. Mix in the half-and-half and vanilla extract, then place the tea in the fridge to chill completely.

3.)  Pour the tea into test tubes until they are 3/4 full. Just before serving, add a few boba balls to each tube, then cap with the corks and place the test tubes in a test tube holder. You’re done!

*** Entertaining Tip: It’s a good idea to have some fat boba straws for your guests to use for drinking. If the boba sits around at the bottom of the test tubes for a long time, they may tend to stick there. The straws will allow for easy drinking if you happen to need them, especially if you are wanting to make the shots ahead of time.

31 thoughts on “Boba Thai Tea Shooters

  1. You are very creative and talented, these shooters are fabulous. Are boba balls naturally black? Oh, also, thank you so much for the link to Lan’s blog — I really really like her style.

    • Lan is awesome, so glad to lead you to her! As for the boba balls, they look black from a distance but are actually are a very dark brown. They get that color from a dark caramel base mixed with tapioca starch. Thanks so much Sue! 🙂

  2. This is so creative! I love it! I’m continually amazed by how you manage to incorporate tea into so many things, yet each recipe is completely unique! On a side note, what exactly are boba tapioca balls?

    • Thank you so much Chaya! So boba tapioca balls are chewy little ball bits that come at the bottom of the beloved Taiwanese drink, boba milk tea. You drink them through fat straws and ideally, they have a toothy, glutinous, and slightly springy bite (kind of like the texture of a gummy bear, but a bit starchier and less sweet). Where do you live? You should really try it at least once…it’s very possible you may like. 🙂

  3. Looks so yummy!!! I still find it interesting how in the US, it’s called “boba tea” (well, it makes sense due to it’s direct translation from Chinese) but it’s called “bubble tea” here in Vancouver!

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  5. Brilliant, Bonnie!!! The orange thai tea, boba and test tubes definitely bring in the Halloween! Really cool looking and fun to drink! They would be a hit in a Halloween party!

  6. Hi there! I write for POPSUGAR Food ( and we would love to include a photo of these adorable shooters in our Halloween recipe roundup. We will clearly attribute you and link back to the site for the recipe. Would this be possible? Thanks 🙂

  7. this is so adorable, not at all tacky. I love love love this so much. We still have this tea and my husband loves boba, we’ve been experimenting w cooking them. Will have to attempt again soon.
    Thanks so much for your shout out and kind words!

  8. Oh I love thai tea and the colour combination of the black tapioca pearls with the neon orange of the tea is just perfect for Halloween! I really like the look of the shots in those long test tubes! The drinks just needs a scary name but I am quite uncreative at the moment unlike you 😉

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