Boil water in medium saucepan. Add the tapioca; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Let tapioca sit 25 minutes in water, covered. Drain and rinse in a colander under cool running water. Pour Sugar Syrup over tapioca; use within 4 to 5 hours.
Variation for make-ahead tapioca:
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tapioca; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let sit 15 minutes, covered. Drain and rinse in a colander beneath cool running water. Add Sugar Syrup; place in sealed container. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For tea, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil (use a 4-to-1 ratio of water to tapioca), and add tapioca (1/4 cup per serving). Boil 1 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Rinse and cover with Sugar Syrup to taste. Add tea mixture of choice (see our recipe for Bubble Milk Tea at right).
Note: Precooked tapioca should be used within 3 days, or it will get mushy.