Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba

October 20, 2015

On days that I’m baby-free, I like to escape the house and get some work done at a cafe. I’m lucky, given that Berkeley has about as many cafes as it does people. There are several characteristics that make for a desirable study/work cafe. Over the years, I’ve narrowed down the list to these five important factors: good coffee, reliable internet, available parking, plentiful electrical outlets, available seating. Generally, the order of importance varies. Some days I ride my bike, and parking is irrelevant.  Some days I’m only using Photoshop, and internet isn’t a factor. One thing’s for sure, good coffee always hovers at the top. That is, until the day Sarah took me to Asha Tea House. The minute I walked into the downtown Berkeley cafe, I knew I was in for a treat. Berkeley has always been a great boba tea town. Most of the time those places are more of a quick, take-out variety. Asha, however, has a slower pace to it. In fact, there’s plenty of seating, and many of its patrons are UC Berkeley students buried in their laptops. While there are plenty of different types of tea (at least for my liking) the emphasis is surely quality over quantity. Needless to say, I’ve become hooked on tea . . . it sure took me long enough!. I even know the difference between bubble tea, and tea with boba (bubble tea simply refers to the frothiness from being shaken). Anyway, I hope you give this recipe a go. I’d love to hear from all you more experience tea drinkers out there. What are your favorite methods of fancy tea consumption? Anything else I should try?

Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba | HonestlyYUM

Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba | HonestlyYUM

Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba | HonestlyYUM

Cooking Boba | HonestlyYUM

Black Tea | HonestlyYUM

Boba Tea Recipe | HonestlyYUM

Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba | HonestlyYUM

Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba | HonestlyYUM

Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea with Boba | HonestlyYUM


(makes ~1 large serving, or two smaller servings of tea)


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • two tea bags black tea
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend (ground)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls


  For the pumpkin spice syrup

  • Add pumpkin puree and 1/4 cup of water to a small saucepan over low heat and stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat and strain through a coffee filter. Be patient, as the mixture might take 10-15 minutes to pass through completely. Gently use your hands to squeeze any excess water from the puree. Try your best not to break the filter when doing so.
  • Add the pumpkin water back into your saucepan over medium heat, then add the pumpkin spice and the brown sugar. Cook at a low simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.

  For the boba

  • Add two cups of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add boba and quickly stir until the boba are all floating at the surface.
  • Decrease the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for another 15 minutes.
  • Strain the boba, then transfer into the pumpkin spice syrup until ready to serve. Use within 5-10 minutes while fresh, or keep them inside the syrup and refrigerate.

  For the tea

  • Add two tea bags to one cup of boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and let the tea cool to room temperature.

  For the drink

  • Spoon the boba to bottom of a tall glass.
  • Add the milk, tea and 1 1/2 oz of the pumpkin spice syrup to a shaker. Fill the shaker halfway with ice and vigorously shake for 5 seconds.
  • Strain into the glass overtop the boba. Add some new ice, a wide mouth straw, and serve!

(images by HonestlyYUM)


Oh! I really like your recipes and also the presentation! Really like the color tone of pictures, look modern! This is my first comment, definitely dedicate to my favorite thing: the boba tea! Instant tea culture is super popular in Taiwan that it’s interesting to see the delicate twist you did for this common drink in my country. I am personally very into fruity mix flavor tea, such as lemon green tea, kumquat oolung tea…, or grapefruit black tea. Usually it’s just tea mix with fresh fruit juice, and sometimes you add in herbal jelly or boba so will give it more interesting texture and multi layers of flavor of sweet and sour. Another interesting one is green cap tea, which is normal green tea but put a thin layer of salty milk foam on top, so when you drink it they instantly mix like milk tea but with salty and sweet flavor. Hope these will give you some inspiration and definitely look forward to see you try some summer tea mix. Cheers! Din!

I just made this and it’s sooo delicious! I used homemade butternut squash puree and coconutsugar instead but what a treat!

Also yummy when served warm

Oh my gosh! What? Pumpkin spice bubble tea with boba? I soo need this in my life, right now.

Where do you buy your tapioca?

Hi Ivy – I bought mine at a small neighborhood Japanese market called Tokyo Fish. Most Asian markets will have them, but be sure to by look at the ingredients and get a kind that has 100% tapioca starch, not potato starch, etc.

This looks too good, all the stuff on this website looks too delicious, it makes me worried that I am not living the kind of life I should be living… the food and drink is just so delicious looking… And given that I know that you prepare all of this yourselves… la vita bella.

Haha – thanks Deana!! Sucking down a quick boba tea between diapers changes certainly helps me keep my sanity. La vita bella!! 😉

I didn’t know the difference either!! I actually have a packet of boba pearls in my pantry from my favorite Asian supermarket in DC and I have YET to do anything with them (travesty). Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, as always!

These are so pretty I could cry, and I’d imagine they taste even better, if that’s possible. I’m OBSESSED with tea, and Asha is so amazing, huh? Sarah’s a one-woman ambassador for that place. Bring me next time! Actually, scratch that. Just bring me one of these.

Aww, thanks Alanna!! Yes, can you please come with next time!? Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about what I should order 🙂

Love this, I recently bought a bag of tapioca pearls from my Asian market and I had been making milk tea nearly everyday (then I found out each tapioca pearl is something like 15 calories so had to slow my roll a bit).

Will have to try out the pumpkin spice version, that’s definitely not a flavour you normally see at bubble tea shops 🙂

Thank you J.S.!! Yes, pearls can be quite indulgent (I found out the hard way). I should be the one coming to you for milk tea inspiration. Any particular flavor you normally drink?

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