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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

How To Make Milk Tea At Home (Boba Tea Recipe)

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If you can’t get enough bubble tea, you’re in luck – it’s easy to make at home! Learn how to make milk tea with boba pearls in just a few easy steps. Homemade boba tea tastes delicious and it’s budget-friendly! Milk, black tea, tapioca pearls, and coconut sugar are the perfect combination in this bubble tea recipe.

how to make milk tea at home - boba tea recipe in a cup

There’s a reason everyone raves about bubble tea! Sweetened black tea and milk top chewy tapioca pearls for a refreshing treat I can’t get enough of. If you’re unsure how to make this popular drink (or what it is!), this article will dive into all things boba tea – starting with its many names.

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☕ What Is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is also referred to as boba tea, pearl milk tea, or tapioca tea.

It’s an iced beverage made from black tea, milk, and boba tapioca pearls. It’s sweetened and served with a large straw to suck up the sweet and chewy tapioca balls. It’s gained popularity and can be found in bubble tea shops everywhere. It comes in multiple flavors with differing milks, teas, and sweeteners. It’s most commonly made with a black tea base, but can also be made with other varieties too.

What Are The Benefits Of Milk Tea?

When made with black or green tea, milk tea contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants that can help prevent free radical damage and can boost your immune system. The caffeine in black tea can also help to reduce stress and boost energy levels.

What Does Boba Tea Taste Like?

Boba Tea has a well balanced, slightly sweet and slightly bitter flavor from the tapioca pearls, sugar and tea leaves. It’s creamy and satisfying. The boba pearls pretty much have no flavor before they’re soaked in syrup, but once they’re soaked they taste like slightly sweet, chewy treats. The pearls are mainly there for texture, as most of the flavor comes from the tea itself.

⚪ What Are Tapioca Pearls?

Tapioca pearls or boba pearls are made from the starch of the cassava root and transformed into chewy balls that soak up flavor. They are commonly soaked in simple syrup to add a pop of sweetness to boba milk tea.

Where Can I Find Boba Tapioca Pearls?

You can find boba pearls at Asian supermarkets or online. If your local grocery store does carry them, they will be in the baking aisle near the gelatin or cake mixes. Grocery stores don’t always carry them which is why I like to buy mine on Amazon.

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Use plant-based milk for vegan bubble tea!
  • Customize this boba recipe with any type of tea and mix-ins!
  • Budget friendly, much cheaper to make at home.
  • No boba shops around? No problem! This recipe makes it easy to make your own own bubble tea.
  • Adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.
  • Super delicious drink!
  • Brewed tea and simple syrup can be made ahead of time for easy assembly.
  • Only 4 ingredients!
  • Best boba tea recipe ever!

🥘 Ingredients

You only need four ingredients for this milk tea recipe.

how to make milk tea at home - ingredients for boba tea recipe

What Kind Of Tea To Use?

I recommend using black tea, as that has the strongest flavor. You can use any kind of black tea you like. I recommend high-quality loose-leaf tea leaves, but tea bags work in a pinch. One tea bag has about one teaspoon of tea in it, so you will need four tea bags.

What Kind Of Milk Do You Need?

Milk – The addition of milk makes this bubble milk tea recipe rich and creamy. Whole milk makes it rich and creamy, but you could use lowfat or nonfat milk as well. Or go dairy free – unsweetened soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and almond milk are all great options!

What Other Ingredients Do You Need?

Boba Pearls – Boba pearls are jelly-like pearls made from tapioca starch. They’re cooked and then soaked in simple syrup for a sweet pop! You can find them online or at your local Asian supermarket. Be sure to buy the instant kind that cook in 5 minutes.

Coconut Sugar – Coconut sugar and water make the simple syrup to soak the boba tapioca pearls. Use whichever kind of sweetener you prefer. I love coconut sugar, but white sugar works too. Dark brown sugar makes a caramel-like brown sugar syrup that’s sweet and rich.

📖 Variations

There are many different ways to make bubble tea! Try some of these different flavors and variations.

  • Tea: Bubble milk tea is traditionally made with strong black tea like Earl Grey tea, but can be made with any kind of tea! Green tea, ceylon tea, jasmine tea, oolong tea, english breakfast tea, masala chai, Indian chai tea or white tea are all delicious types of tea to try!
  • Milk: Fresh milk is a vital part of creamy milk tea, but you can use any variety you like. Use regular milk or your favorite plant-based version. You can add a splash of heavy cream for richness.
  • Flavors: Add flavored syrups, pureed fruit, or matcha powder to change up the flavor. Fruity flavors are a popular choice in milky bubble tea.
  • Sweeteners: Add honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, or sweetened condensed milk to your cup of milk tea for extra sweetness.
  • Taro Bubble Tea: Taro milk tea is milk tea with pureed taro added to it.
  • Hong Kong Milk Tea: Hong Kong milk tea is made by boiling black tea with sweetened condensed milk. It makes a delicious boba tea as well.
  • Royal Milk Tea: Milk tea that is made with Darjeeling and Assam tea leaves.
  • Brown Sugar Milk Tea: Replace the coconut sugar with brown sugar. Don’t boil the mixture, just heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Spices: Try adding a little bit of black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove to this sweet drink recipe.

🔪 Instructions

Follow these steps to learn how to make milk tea at home.

Make Tea: In a small pot, bring 4 cups of cold water to a boil on medium-high heat. Add the tea leaves or tea bags to the hot water, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 3 minutes.

tea boiled on the stovetop

Chill Tea: Strain the hot tea into a large jar. and chill in the refrigerator. This may take a couple of hours so it’s best to do it in advance.

tea strained through a strainer

Make Simple Syrup: In a small pot, heat the coconut sugar and water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 4 minutes. Carefully pour it into a small bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

simple syrup boiling on the stov

Cook Boba Pearls: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil then add the tapioca pearls. Boil for 5 minutes or until they’re cooked through. Drain and then rinse under cool water to stop the cooking.

tapioca pearls cooked on the stove

Soak Pearls: Combine the boba pearls with the simple syrup and allow them to sit for at least 15 minutes.

tapioca pearls in a bowl

Serve Boba Tea: Divide the cooked tapioca pearls between 4 glasses. Add 1 cup of tea concentrate to each glass then top with a dash of milk (or more, for milky tea). Stir and serve with a large straw. Top with whipped cream for extra fun! Feel free to add ice cubes for an extra cold drink.

how to make milk tea at home - boba tea recipe in a cup

❓ Recipe FAQs

How are boba pearls made?

Boiling water is added to tapioca starch and then kneaded to form a dough. The dough is then cut and rolled into small balls. The tapioca balls are then cooked in boiling water and soaked in a simple syrup for sweetness. You can find a tapioca pearls recipe with a quick google search.

How to make bubble tea ahead of time?

It’s best to enjoy bubble tea fresh, but you can prepare ahead and then assemble when ready. Make strong black tea and simple syrup up to 3 days before you’re ready to make the drink. Cook the boba pearls, and store them in the simple syrup so they stay fresh. When ready, assemble and enjoy!

How many tea bags should I use?

You should use 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea for every cup of boba tea you want to make. So if you’re making tea for 2 people, use 2 tea bags. If you’re making 4 servings, use 4 tea bags, and so on.

How should I serve bubble tea?

Serve bubble tea in transparent glass or plastic cups with a fat straw. This way you can suck the pearls through the straw while you drink the tea.

How should I store bubble tea?

Bubble tea should be enjoyed immediately for best results. You can store the bubble tea in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but the pearls will only stay edible for one day.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Make the iced tea and simple syrup ahead of time. This will make the process easier.
  • For a stronger flavor, steep your tea for longer.
  • Start with a splash of milk. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out. Try half and half for a richer taste.
  • Add additional sweetener, syrup, or flavoring for a sweeter drink.
  • If you want to sweeten your tea with honey, it’s best to do it while the tea is hot. This way the honey will dissolve.
  • If you’re making boba drinks for friends, it’s best to have extra simple syrup. This way everyone can sweeten their drink to their liking. Some tea drinkers prefer a strong tea flavor, while others like it extra sweet!
how to make milk tea at home - boba tea recipe in a cup with a straw

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📋 Recipe Card

how to make milk tea at home - boba tea recipe in a cup
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5 from 5 votes

Boba Tea Recipe

If you can't get enough bubble tea, you're in luck – it's easy to make at home! Learn how to make milk tea with boba pearls in just a few easy steps. Homemade boba tea tastes delicious and it's budget-friendly! Milk, black tea, tapioca pearls, and coconut sugar are the perfect combination in this bubble tea recipe.
Prep Time2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 193kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons black, loose leaf tea
  • 1 cup boba pearls
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup milk

Equipment

Instructions

  • In a small pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the tea leaves to the boiling water, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain the tea into a jar, allow it to chill completely (see notes).
  • Meanwhile prepare the simple syrup by heating the coconut sugar and ¼ cup water in a small pot.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a small bowl and allow to cool.
  • To cook the boba pearls, bring 3 cups of water to the boil, add the boba pearls and boil for 5 minutes or until the pearls are cooked through.
  • Remove from the heat, drain and run under cold water to cool immediately. Drain off excess water.
  • Add the cooked boba pearls to the simple syrup, stir and allow to sit in the syrup for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  • To serve, divide the cooked boba pearls between 4 tall glasses, add 1 cup of tea concentrate to each glass. Add milk to desired taste. Stir and serve with a large boba straw.

Notes

  • It’s best to leave the tea concentrate overnight in the fridge to cool completely, alternatively you can add 1 cup of ice to the tea and allow it to chill for up to 2 hours.
  • You can prepare the tea concentrate, cooked boba pearls and simple syrup the day before to ensure everything is completely chilled before use.
  • For a stronger flavor, steep your tea for longer.
  • Start with a splash of milk. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out. Try half and half for a richer taste.
  • Add additional sweetener, syrup, or flavoring for a sweeter drink.
  • If you want to sweeten your tea with honey, it’s best to do it while the tea is hot. This way the honey will dissolve.
  • If you’re making boba drinks for friends, it’s best to have extra simple syrup. This way everyone can sweeten their drink to their liking. Some tea drinkers prefer a strong tea flavor, while others like it extra sweet!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 116IU | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg

📖

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8 responses to “How To Make Milk Tea At Home (Boba Tea Recipe)”

  1. Absolutely delicious; thank you for this fantastic recipe! Very straightforward and easy to make. I made mine with oat milk.5 stars

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