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.

Tea of the Week: Adagio’s Candy Apple

Fresh back from the Windy City, I’m stocked up with cozy steeps to satisfy me through the end of fall. Deciding to take a break from my daily dose of chai, I decided to pick up a blend from Adagio Teas called Candy Apple. It sounded like just the perfect tea to celebrate Halloween with this year!

Candy Apple is a Sri Lankan black tea infused with the rich taste of sweet apples and dark caramel. There’s a definitive maple syrup like sweetness to the blend with warm undertones of cinnamon spice to finish.

A splash of milk and sugar would certainly be delicious additions to this tea. There’s a pleasant bitterness to the blend that makes it reminiscent of brown sugar or molasses. At first sip, it actually reminded me of drinking a sweet dessert wine or brandy.

I’ve brewed this tea with some thin slices of apple thrown in, steeped along with the tea. Despite the suggested brew time of only 3 minutes, this tea has a tendency to brew very dark, so fresh apple pieces help to balance the brew with some brightness and acidity.

Adagio Tea’s Candy Apple tea is dark and spooky, yet distinctively sweet. If you’re looking for a way to cut back on your candy intake this Halloween, it might be just the right tea for you!

Tasting Notes for Adagio’s Candy Apple Tea:

BREWING TIPS:  212 degrees F for 3 minutes. This tea brews dark fast so if you don’t like very strong teas, use a timer and steep for less than 3 minutes.

THE BLEND:  Black tea from Sri Lanka mixed with dried apple pieces, natural caramel apple flavor, and cinnamon.

THE SCENT:  Robust with the scent of burnt sugar. Reminiscent of pecan pralines or a sweet barrel aged brandy.

THE STEEP:  A brilliant reddish brown. Light baked apple flavor with a bold, malty maple syrup-like base. Slightly smoky and spicy from the cinnamon with a mildly bitter essence. As you can see from my photos, I think Caramel Apple is a more fitting name for the blend.

GET IT:  You can find this blend at Adagios Teas in Chicago and also online at the Adagio Teas site.

FOOD PAIRING:  Would be great with pancakes, Swedish Apple Pie Buns, or perhaps, a slice of Maple Brick Toast!