Boba milk tea is a popular drink that originated in Taiwan. The classic version has a creamy milk tea and chewy tapioca balls, also known as boba or pearls. This is an easy drink you can make at home with many different variations.
Boba milk tea (also known as bubble tea) is something I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of. I drink it at least once or twice a month. I don’t often make my own, but it is pretty easy to make at home and when you have a large group, it saves a lot of money too.
There are so many different variations of this drink and it really comes down to personal preference. There are variations with mixing the drinks, too. You can mix with a spoon or use a cocktail shaker, which is how it is traditionally made. The hand-shaken drinks have a frothy finish and I think they taste a little better.
And of course, you don’t have to stick to milk tea. If you’ve been to bubble tea shops, you can order iced coffee, fruit teas, slushies, ice cream shakes and more.
When you make your own, you will need tapioca pearls which you can find at Chinese markets (I get mine at Ranch 99).
They are sold in bags and all you have to do is rehydrate and cook them, which is an easy process. Do this part first so when you make your drink the pearls are ready to go.
To prepare them, just follow the instructions on the package. Basically, you’re just going to cook them in some boiling water until they are softened and rehydrated.
Once you remove them from the water, place them in a bowl and add some honey and stir to coat them. The honey will sweeten them but will also prevent them from sticking together.
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 (or regular milk) into the hot tea. Add the sweetened condensed milk (or sugar) 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.
More Drink Recipes
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).
Bubble Milk Tea
- 1/2 cup uncooked black tapioca pearls (see note)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cups strong brewed hot tea of your choice
- 1/4 cup powdered milk or 1/2 cup milk
- sweetened condensed milk or sugar to taste
- Cook tapioca according to the instructions on the back of the package. Scoop tapioca from water when finished cooking and set aside into a small bowl. Stir honey into the tapioca. The honey will sweeten the tapioca and will also keep them from clumping together.
- Mix either milk or powdered milk into the hot tea. Add either condensed milk or sugar until it reaches your desired sweetness. If desired, you can add these ingredients along with 1/2 cup of ice into a cocktail shaker and shake to blend. Otherwise, you can mix with a spoon.
- Split cooked tapioca evenly between two tall glasses. Add ice. Pour in milk tea. Serve with wide straws. (The bubble tea straws can also be purchased at Chinese supermarkets.)
- You can find tapioca pearls at Chinese markets like Ranch 99.
- Nutrition estimate includes fat-free milk and does not include the optional sweeteners.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.