How To Make The Drink
- Strong brewed tea of your choice
- Powdered or regular milk
- Sweetened condensed milk or sugar
For the tea, you can use your favorite. We love oolong and sometimes I make this drink with green tea, too.
For the milk, you can a couple of choices. In Taiwan, they often use powdered milk and/or condensed milk. I prefer powdered milk, which I think makes the tea creamier without diluting it, and then condensed milk to sweeten. You can use regular sugar, too, but I prefer the condensed milk.
You can definitely experiment with the amounts of each ingredient to customize your drink.
- Mix the powdered milk into the hot tea. Add the sweetened condensed milk to taste.
- At this point, you can either stir the drink to combine, or transfer it to a cocktail shaker along with ice and shake it to combine.
To serve, divide the cooked pearls between two glasses. I used some cute lightbulb shaped glasses that I got at a Night Market.
Place some ice on top of the pearls and then pour in the milk tea. Add a wide drinking straw* and your boba milk tea is ready to serve.
Making it at home is fun and I like that I can customize it if you want more drink recipes to try, be sure to check out some of my other recipes.
What Are Tapioca Pearls
Tapioca pearls are small chewy balls made from tapioca starch. Typically, these spheres are black in colour and are used for bubble tea. Although boba has a gelatinous texture, no gelatin is used in the process of creation. Therefore, this makes these small chewy spheres vegan friendly.Boba are naturally translucent and white in colour. However, black food colouring or brown sugar is often used in the process. This is to achieve the familiar black colour. Black boba pearls were created for an aesthetic purpose to contrast with the colour of milk tea.
Brewed Black Tea Blend
Combine the tea leaves in a mixing bowl stir well to fully mix. Store in an airtight container.
Fill a tall glass with the ice cubes. Heat filtered water to 190ºF. Steep 2 tablespoons of the tea leaf blend in 5 oz. of the hot water for 4 minutes. Strain the tea over the ice, and set the glass aside to allow the ice to fully melt.
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Popular Types Of Bubble Tea
Since each ingredient has a bunch of choices, it can be overwhelming the first time you decide to try a bubble tea.
Im not an expert in statistics, but it seems like there are almost an unlimited amount of combinations of ingredients!
There are almost an unlimited combination of bubble tea flavors.
The first time I went to a tea shop, I had my friend order for me because there were SO many choices and options.
If youre new to boba, Id start with this classic choice:
- Milk tea with tapioca pearls sweetened black tea with milk and tapioca balls.
But if youre adventurous, there are many popular bubble tea flavors to try.
The recipe below is for this classic kind of tea drink.
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What Is Brown Sugar Milk Tea
This drink is made from 3 ingredients, tapioca pearls, caramelised brown sugar and milk.
The original boba drink from Taiwan does not contain any tea and is caffeine-free. It is called in Chinese, which translates to Brown Sugar Fresh Milk.
However, as the drink grew in popularity and was commonly referred to as a milk tea overseas, more shops started offering the drink with different leaf blends and topping combinations. This is called in Chinese.
Some people also call this drink a dirty brown sugar milk tea due the messy look from the syrup.
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How To Make Bubble Tea
Bubble tea is one of my favorite things to sip on during the summer. Originating from Taiwan, bubble tea usually consists of sweetened tea with milk and the characteristic chewy tapioca balls, also known as boba . Bubble tea comes in many flavors: plain tea flavors such as black or jasmine tea fruit flavors such as strawberry or honeydew and even taro, which is a root vegetable commonly used in Asian dishes. .
While I enjoy drinking bubble tea, I dont particularly like the ones sold in the teahouse chains because they contain too much sugar. The good thing is that you can make bubble tea at home easily! In this bubble tea recipe, all you really need is tea, tapioca pearls, milk, and a sweetener.
Notes & Tips For Boba Tea
- When preparing the black tapioca pearls, keep in mind they will only be fresh for about four hours. For best results, only make as much as you plan on eating in a short period of time.
- For the simple syrup, you can either use store-bought simple syrup, use a different flavor or syrup, or use homemade simple syrup.
- Not a fan of black tea? No problem! Feel free to use whatever flavor of tea youd like that pairs well with milk or creamy flavors.
- Feel free to use any type of milk or creamer that youd like.
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Caramel Milk Tea Cocktail
Turn your tea into a tipple with a splash of bourbon or whiskey.
Let us know if you try any of those variations above! With its minimal ingredients and quick preparation, its easy to make a delicious caramel milk tea any day of the week.
Thanks for reading with us here at Talk Boba. Have a recipe suggestion? Please comment it down below and well make it happen! If you havent already, join 42,000+ boba lovers on our page and join the conversations. We also have a group that people share recipes and tips.
Thank you Summer R. for contributing this article for Talk Boba. Have a look at her awesome blog Eat Something Go Somewhere. She has a big appetite for culture and different cuisines. If you like food, her articles are worth a taste!
Stick around and read other popular articles.
Thai Boba Tea From Scratch
To make a Thai boba tea from scratch you will need black tea, which you can find anywhere and use your preferred type. You will be adding spices to the tea to get the right flavor for a Thai tea.
You will need sugar or some type of sweetener in order to get the right flavor profile for the tea.
Star anise, whole cardamom, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, turmeric and vanilla or almond extract will finish out the flavor profile to turn your standard black tea into a Thai tea.
Sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are going to give you the creamy texture that your tea needs to be a true Thai boba tea or milk tea.
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What You Need To Make Peach Bubble Tea
This Bubble Tea is made from only 6 simple ingredients: black or green tea, sweetener, peaches, vanilla extract, tapioca pearls, and milk. I chose to make this recipe with maple syrup so its naturally sweetened, but you can also use cane sugar or brown sugar see the recipe notes for more info. I also like to add a little ground ginger to the peach syrup to add a subtle spice, but thats technically optional!
You can find all of these ingredients at your favorite grocery store with the exception of the tapioca pearls, or boba. I purchased mine online, but you can also probably find them at an asian grocery store or market near you.
Finally, you will also need a few other kitchen tools:
- Fine-mesh metal sieve: I prefer to strain my peach syrup through a sieve instead of using a blender this makes a silkier syrup with less fiber. You could blend the syrup as well see the recipe notes for that variation
- Dont forget the straw! Bubble tea is traditionally served with a wide straw that accommodates the size of the tapioca pearls. I bought a set of these Reusable Metal Bubble Tea Straws and use them all the time, even when Im not drinking boba!
Use Instant Tapioca Pearls
Made of tapioca starch and sugar, the bouncy, chewy, slippery balls are the soul of bubble tea. As the popularity of this drink grows, it has become quite easy to source tapioca pearls nowadays. You can find them in most Chinese/ Asian stores, as well as online shopping platforms, such as Amazon.
Tapioca pearls come in different sizes and colours. What I use for this recipe are large, black ones that have a hint of brown sugar flavour .
The great thing about these ones is that theyre instant: the cooking time required is just a few minutes! The traditional type, on the other hand, needs about 1 hour to cook. So I suggest you look for the package that says instant , Ready in 5 mins, etc.
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How To Make Boba Tea
While this recipe does require a lot of cooling time, it is easy to make. Heres a summary:
- Make the tea. Boil 4 cups of water. Add the tea bags, stirring a couple times to make sure the tea is saturated with the hot water. Remove from heat and let the tea sit in the hot water until it cools to room temperature, then discard the bags. Transfer the tea to the fridge to chill completely.
- Add the brown sugar. Stir the brown sugar and water over heat. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Once thickened slightly, pour over the syrup and stir to combine. Let cool at room temperature.
- Prepare the tapioca pearls. Cook according to the packaging directions. Place in a separate bowl.
- Serve. Add the tapioca pearls and some syrup to the bottom of each glass. Top with ice and a cup of tea. Add sweetened condensed milk to each glass to taste. Gently stir and enjoy.
Why Is Classic Milk Tea Called The Classic Bubble Tea
Well, this is because this is the bubble tea flavor that started it all. People sometimes add classic to the name of this drink because the bubble tea terminology is not very consistent and can be confusing!
For example, people refer to bubble tea as boba, boba tea, milk tea, pearl milk tea, and so on. So classic is added beforehand to specify this type of bubble tea flavor instead of generally referring to boba tea.
Read more about the different names for boba tea!
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Whats The Difference Between Milk Tea And Bubble Milk Tea
Different areas of the world have different forms of milk tea. In its most basic form, milk tea is just tea with milk. Its frequently black tea, but it can be any type of tea with any kind of milk. And it can be served hot or iced.
Bubble milk tea is iced tea served sweetened with milk or cream and boba pearls.
Why You’ll Love Homemade Bubble Tea
- It’s so easy to make bubble tea at home. Making bubble tea at home is a lot easier than you think. The most time-consuming part is cooking the boba, but really that takes just a few minutes of your actual time, while the rest of the time you are just waiting for it to cook.
- It’s healthier than store-bought. Making homemade bubble tea is so much healthier than store-bought, especially when we are talking about the fruity milk teas. With this homemade recipe, we are using real fruit, unlike the store-bought drinks which use fruit syrup to achieve that flavor.
- It is not overpoweringly sweet. Most times, the bubble tea that you can get from a bubble tea shop is quite sweet. Again, this is because of the syrups that are added to the drink and the vast amount of sugar. With this recipe, we use a little honey , and you can customize the amount you add to the boba depending on your preference.
- It’s cheaper than store-bought. Bubble tea these days are expensive! It is much cheaper to make your own than to pay someone to mix a couple ingredients together.
- It’s convenient. I mean the comfort of whipping up a batch of this from your own home means that you can relax at home and soak in the sun on your balcony without stepping a foot out of your house or into your car
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Why Make It At Home
You might be wondering why you should make bubble tea at home. After all, there are dozens of vendors in Southeast Asia, and many chains in North America and Europe. Why would you need to make it at home? Well, there are many good reasons to do so!
For one, store-bought bubble tea may contain many harmful ingredients, such as hydrogenated palm oil and dangerous chemical sweeteners. Even traces of chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have been found in some store-bought boba tea.
Another reason is saving money! Making boba pearls and the drink as a whole at home is much cheaper than buying them from shops.
In addition, homemade tapioca pearl drinks can be more versatile in flavour and type than those bought from shops.
However, we think that the most convincing reason is that you can control the calorie count that is in your cup of boba drink. When you are your own bobarista of your bubble tea drink, then you can fine-tune the ingredients and their amounts to best fit your taste buds, but also your current diet plans!
We at Honest Food Talks think that homemade is better than store-bought, which is why we have written this ultimate guide!
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What Type Of Milk Should I Use For The Classic Milk Tea Recipe
You can really use any sort of milk you like, whether it is whole milk or skim. You might have to adjust the amount depending on your preferences but most people tend to not be fans of soy-based bubble teas so try and stick with cow’s milk or condensed milk if possible. If you are a vegan, my recommendation would be to try oat milk as it’s creamy. Read more about whether boba is vegan!
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How To Make Boba Milk Tea
First boil brown sugar and water mixed at ratio of 1:5, pour it into tapioca flour, stir with a spoon to eliminate bubbles, and knead with hands into a dough.
There are two kinds of dough balls, small pearl-shaped ball and big ball, which shall be put into the pot after water boils and constantly stirred to prevent them from sticking to each other.
The balls shall be steamed in the pot after 8 minutes of boiling until they turn into transparent gold. The cooked pearl-shaped dough balls shall be placed into cold water for cooling so as not to stick together.
Brew tea leaves , boil water in the pot, pour in milk and boil for another 3 minutes, pour into the brewed tea, and boil for 3 minutes.
Pour some pearl-shaped balls into the milk tea to make a smooth and tasty pearl milk tea.
How To Cook Tapioca Pearls
There are two types of tapioca pearls quick cooking and raw. The quick cooking version will cook in about 15 to 20 minutes and the raw tapioca pearls can take up to 45 minutes to soften. Then depending on your preference and the type of tapioca pearls you use, you may want to rinse them and soak them in simple syrup to sweeten them up.
I personally recommend you use the quick cooking tapioca pearls I bought . You will need to boil them in water for about 15 minutes, they are done when they float to the top. You will then remove them from the heat, cover the pot, and let the pearls sit in the hot water for an additional 10 15 minutes.
They are done when they reach the desired level of chewiness. Drain and rinse pearls under cold water and transfer to a bowl.
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How To Cook Them
Get enough water to a boil to cover as many of the pearls youll want/need. Carefully put them into that boiling water and constantly stir them to avoid them from sticking to the bottom or to each other. Doing this with the back of a spoon is the safest way to prevent harming the pearls. After a bit you can cover your pot with a lid and let them simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let them rest for another 20 minutes. Drain and serve! You can of course make a sugar syrup to make it extra yummy.