Young Coconut Bubble Shake

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The first time I had a bubble tea with black tapioca pearls, I’ll admit I was a little nervous.  Big black squishy…they looked too organic—like Roald Dahl’s vermicious knids or something. But research set my mind at ease: Black tapioca pearls are made from tapioca starch derived from the cassava root, just like tapioca pearls we knew in homey tapioca pudding.  But buying bubble tea smoothies can get pricey, so we’ve started making them at home instead. Our favorite Filipino ice cream store does a lovely ice cream made with young coconut. With that in mind, we mixed up this simple shake version combining a ½ can of sweetened Thai coconut water (young coconut  jelly bits included), vanilla ice cream and black tapioca pearl “bubbles.” Exotically refreshing.


Black Tapioca Pearls Ingredients

  • ½ cup black tapioca
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • Additional 1 cup water

Young Coconut Bubble Shake Ingredients

  • ½ cup sweetened coconut water with young coconut jelly (look for this in ethnic grocery stores—the Grace brand is good)
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • several Tbsp prepared black tapioca pearls (recipe below)


  1. Heat water to boiling. Add black tapioca pearls. Boil about 5 minutes stirring once or twice until they bob to the surface. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse briefly.
  2. Combine turbinado sugar with water and stir to dissolve sugar. Place tapioca pearls in sugared water until ready to serve the shake.
  3. Blend vanilla ice cream with coconut water to the consistency of a smoothie
  4. Pour into a glass and add several Tbsp of the prepared tapioca pearls. Enjoy!

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