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How To Make Taiwanese Milk Tea? (Step by Step Authentic Recipe)

How To Make Taiwanese Milk Tea

Taiwanese boba tea or boba milk tea is probably what many people think of when they hear or read the term Taiwanese Milk Tea.

Despite this fact, Taiwanese milk tea doesn’t necessarily contain the optional chewy tapioca balls or boba pearls that are happily sucked through a wide straw.

It can simply mean a plain milk tea with simple syrup added in hot water.

However, these days, a reference to Taiwanese milk teas probably includes tapioca pearls.

After all, Taiwan is the birthplace of the delicious bubble tea trend that has now reached worldwide.

Often, fruit juice, jellies, and all kinds of sweet ingredients are added to the tea for added texture and flavor.

You can make your own bubble tea with this easy recipe!

Taiwan milk tea recipe

milk tea Taiwan

Many ask, how to make milk tea in the Taiwanese style.

These ingredients are enough for one serving. If you want to make more, you’ll have to increase the amount to the same proportions.

Serving: 1

Cooking time: 1 hour


  • The Tea: 3 Black tea bags or 4.5 – 9 grams of tea leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • The Boba: ¼ (25 g) cup black tapioca pearls that you can find at most Asian supermarkets
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • ½ (120 ml) cup of hot water
  • A handful of ice cubes unless you are planning to drink it warm

The Milk

Here you can choose the type of milk you’ll use based on your personal preferences or health concerns.

Here are some common types of milk commonly used in bubble milk tea.

Note: 30ml per 1 serving

Optional: heavy cream for additional topping


  • Tea strainer
  • Strainer or colander for the pearls
  • Pot
  • Measuring spoon
  • Tall glass
  • Fat straw


  • Heat 1 cup of water to a boil over medium heat, remove from heat. Soak the tea leaves or tea bags.
  • Let stand until the Boba Tea or tea cools to room temperature
  • Heat water in a pot until it boils.
  • When it boils, add black tapioca pearls to boiling water.
  • Then simmer for about 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Cook until the pearls are soft, check the texture, and if the pearls are still hard, cook for a few more minutes until the consistency is chewy and soft.
  • Pour and drain the softened, cooked pearls through the strainer.
  • Place the pearls into a bowl and add the brown sugar and hot water. Mix and stir until the white sugar dissolves. Leave it for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, drain the pearls through the strainer to separate the brown sugar syrup from the pearls.

You’re almost done!

Here’s a useful video to walk you through the steps.

Drink your delicious drink with a fat straw to allow the pearls to pass through. 

Be wary though, if the pearls get stuck and you suck too hard, they can shoot down your throat mighty fast!

The great thing about making your own bubble tea and black milk tea at home is adjusted to your liking.

You don’t have to follow the standard Taiwanese milk tea recipe, and you can be creative with your own recipe card.

You can also reduce the complexity of the standard method of making bubble tea.

For example, you can replace homemade brown sugar or brown sugar syrup with just store-bought simple syrup.

There are many alternative plant-based ALMOND MILK and coconut milk to replace fresh milk or regular milk.

You can even use a non-dairy creamer or condensed milk instead of fresh milk.

Using heavy cream or oat milk instead of milk to create a richer texture is also a good idea.

The tapioca pearls are usually available at any Asian store, or you can make your own with cassava root or tapioca flour.

What is Taiwanese Milk tea made of? 

What is Taiwanese tea made of

Taiwanese tea is made by mixing a tea-based drink with milk and topped with tapioca pearls called boba or bubbles.

The tapioca pearls are the signature of Taiwanese milk tea.

However, there is no obligation to drink it with the added topping and plain milk tea is also referred to as Taiwanese tea or Pearl Milk Tea.

Teas with boba toppings are usually served with thick straws, so you can slurp up the pearls at once while sipping the tea.

You can enjoy it like a usual iced milk tea without the boba, or enjoy it hot with or without any toppings.

Many bubble tea shops have started using other tea variants such as jasmine tea and green tea or adding creative toppings such as lychee jelly and grass jelly.

The popularity of bubble tea is not limited to Asia but has gone global.

In the United States, there are already many bubble tea shops.

If you want to try it for the first time, try the original flavor of authentic milk tea first, then go crazy and experiment with the hundreds, if not thousands of flavors!

What does Taiwanese milk tea taste like?

What does Taiwan milk tea taste like

Taiwanese milk teas, and all boba teas for that matter, are known to be notoriously sweet, although you can control the sweetness levels at most boba shops. 

The strong black tea taste is balanced with creamy milk and the addition of a boba topping like tapioca pearls that is also sweet.

Rich and creamy, it has interesting textures given by creative toppings like grass jelly and aloe vera.

What is Taiwanese bubble tea?

What is taiwan bubble tea

It is a black tea-based drink with added tapioca pearls or boba created in the 1980s in Taiwan.

Although there have been various variants of Taiwanese bubble tea, the original version is a mixture of black tea, milk, and pearls or boba made from tapioca starch.

The famous tea became increasingly popular when social media became widely used.

One of the characteristics of this drink is that it is packaged in a transparent cup and consumed using a fat straw.

The chewy tapioca pearls are made of tapioca flour.

Tapioca flour, also called tapioca starch, is a gluten-free flour produced from the starch of the cassava root.

Most boba shops use dried tapioca pearls which have a long shelf life.

While you can find dried tapioca pearls easily in any Asian market, making your own at home is a fun and relatively easy process with some dark brown sugar and tapioca flour.

To save time, cook in bigger batches and freeze the rest for future use!

Servings: 4-6

Cooking time: 2 hours


The pearls:

½ cup (118 ml) water

¼ cup (55 gr) dark brown sugar

The Syrup:

1 cup (220 gr) dark brown sugar

½ cup (118 ml) water 

1 cup (120 gr) tapioca flour

Additional 1-2 tablespoons tapioca flour for light dusting


  • In a medium pot of water over low heat, add the water and the dark brown sugar. Stir until dissolved.
  • Turn off the heat as soon as it boils.
  • Add the tapioca flour to a mixing bowl
  • Pour the brown sugar syrup, mix and knead the dough until smooth.
  • Shape the dough into small balls or pearls.
  • Place the pearls on a plate that has been dusted with tapioca flour. Once done, mix in the pearls and stir gently to make sure everything is dusted with tapioca flour.

Cooking The Pearls

  • In a large pot of water over high heat, wait until it hits a rolling boil. Add the pearls to the boiling water.
  • Constantly stir the pearls until the water boils again. Let it cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat.
  • After 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Place the pearls in cold water. Strain the pearls through the strainer.
  • Transfer the cooked pearls to a different pot. Add water and the brown sugar, and stir until dissolved over low heat.
  • Stir until dissolved over medium heat until boiling. After boiling, turn the heat on low. Cook and stir again for another 5 minutes until it reaches a condensed texture. Now, you have drink-ready tapioca pearls.

Does Taiwan have the best boba?

Does Taiwan have the best boba

Asian countries will bicker constantly about who has the best tea, but Taiwan sure is a forerunner.

Claimed to be the birthplace of milk tea with tapioca pearls, it is not an overstatement to say that Taiwan has the best boba.

Taiwan and Hong Kong are famous for their milk tea.

Taiwanese milk tea is also called brown sugar milk tea with added boba topping. 

Hong Kong milk tea uses condensed or evaporated milk to produce milky tea with a rich and delicious tea taste.

The most commonly used tea base for this milky tea is Ceylon Black tea from Sri Lanka.

Unlike Taiwanese bubble tea, which is usually served cold or with ice cubes, Hong Kong milk tea is usually served hot.