What is TAPIOCA PEARLS (Boba Balls) A tapioca pearl, also known as tapioca ball, is an edible translucent sphere produced from tapioca, a starch made from the cassava root. They originated as a cheaper alternative to sago in Southeast Asian cuisine.When used as an ingredient in bubble tea, they are most commonly referred to as pearls or boba. The starch pearls are typically five to ten millimeters (0.2 to 0.4 inches) in diameter. By adding different ingredients, like water, sugar, or some other type of sweetener like honey, tapioca pearls can be made to vary in color and in texture. Various forms of tapioca pearls include black, flavored, popping, mini, and clear. Tapioca pearls are commonly soaked in sugar syrup to make them sweet and chewy. In teas, they are often added for their texture, with the flavor being provided by the drink itself.



Tapioca pearls are derived as baked tapioca products, which are obtained from heat treatment of the moist cassava starch in shallow pans.
tapioca pearls production machine
tapioca pearls production machine

Preparation of wet flour

To create pearls, tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch[13]) is mixed with boiling water until a kneadable consistency is achieved. The dough is cut and rolled into a spherical shape. One method of achieving the correct shape is called the gangsor method. The starch is inserted into a long, cylindrical twill cloth bag and a jerking motion is used to toss the starch lumps back and forth. The lumps will become more firm and gain a more spherical shape. The process is repeated until the pearls have roughly become the desired size, then sorted according to size.
Another method is to feed the moist flour into open cylindrical pans, which rotate for a certain amount of time and at a specific speed to form the pearls.[14]


Traditionally, during heat treatment, the temperature is kept moderate so that only the surface layer of the lumps of the moist starch begins to gelatinize, and this process is described as gelatinization. One process of gelatinization is performed by placing the pearls inside shallow pans, which are then placed inside a brick oven. The pans are covered with a towel soaked in oil or fat to prevent burning the starch. While the pearls are heated over a moderate fire, it is stirred continuously with large forks to prevent burning. When this hand-baking process is applied to manufacture pearls, irregularly shaped beads may be obtained, inferior in color and in other qualities.
tapioca pearls production machine
tapioca pearls production machine
In order to produce first-rate products, the starch beads are poured onto plates in a thick layer, and the plates are slowly drawn through a tunnel charged with steam. In this way, uniform gelatinization is ensured.[14]


During the gelatinization process, since moisture content does not change much, another drying stage is required to achieve the desired moisture content of 12%. Drying is done in a chamber dryer and when drying, it must have an initial temperature of below 40 °C (104 °F) to avoid further gelatinization.[14]
tapioca pearls production machine
tapioca pearls production machine


Other than drying, freezing can also be used to preserve pearls before consumption. After gelatinization, the pearls are soaked in ice water to decrease the viscosity and enhance chewiness. If stored, pearls should be frozen using a quick freezing device, such as an air-blast freezer, or through an individual quick freezing process to prevent them from sticking together.[15] One important note is that retrogradation happens quickest at near 0 °C temperatures, which would lead to tougher pearls, so it is best to minimize the time that the pearls spend in that temperature range and freeze the pearls to lower temperatures quickly.
4.7/5 - (3 votes)