17 Delicious Bubble Tea Recipes

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Refreshing, perfectly sweet, and so delicious, bubble tea is the perfect drink any day of the year. Skip a trip to the bubble tea shop and make these surprisingly easy boba milk tea recipes at home!

6 photos of 6 different bubble tea drinks.

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Homemade Bubble Tea

From the classic made with black tea to layered with matcha and strawberry, bubble tea can easily be made at home!

The trick is to use store-bought tapioca balls (also known as boba) which are sold dried. All you need to do is boil water and cook them for a few minutes to plump them up. Yup, it’s that easy.

My secret to the best bubble tea is making the drink with warm tapioca balls, giving boba the perfect soft and chewy texture.

I learned this trick on a trip to South Korea where all bubble tea was served with very warm (almost hot) tapioca balls and it was amazingly good.

A lot of bubble tea shops use powdered tea and powdered milk, which doesn’t taste as fresh and delicious as using brewed tea and fresh milk products.

RELATED: 17 Best Milk Tea Recipes

What is Bubble Tea?

Bubble tea is an iced drink that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. Over the years, it gained popularity in the United States.

Bubble tea is also called boba, boba milk tea, and milk tea. The basic ingredients are tea, milk, ice, sugar, and tapioca balls. It’s not bubble tea without the tapioca balls.

What are Tapioca Balls?

Tapioca balls are made from tapioca starch taken from the cassava root. When cooked, they’re soft and chewy, almost like mochi.

The drink is served with a wide straw so that a few tapioca balls can be sipped with the tea. The tapioca balls should be chewed, not swallowed whole.

Boba Milk Tea Tips

  • Don’t use the highest quality tea for making bubble tea. Because the drink is made with sugar and milk, there’s no need to use the best quality tea.
  • Make the drink with warm tapioca balls. They should be quite warm, just not too hot that you’ll burn your mouth.
  • Half & half and whole milk will create a creamier bubble tea but you can use any kind of milk you like, including plant-based like oat milk.

17 Best Bubble Tea Recipes

1. Brown Sugar Bubble Tea

Brown sugar makes a classic bubble tea even better.
A mix of white sugar and molasses, brown sugar gives this drink a rich flavor.
Brown sugar is made into a syrup to sweeten and flavor the tapioca balls and the drink.
Black tea and brown sugar are a great combination and it's delicious when made into a bubble tea.
Ingredients: Black tea bags, water, brown sugar, tapioca balls, milk, ice
BROWN SUGAR BUBBLE TEA

2. Bubble Tea with Cold Foam

A refreshing and tasty bubble tea topped with homemade cold foam.
Cold foam is super easy to make at home using a handheld milk frother. It's made in less than a minute.
Black tea that has been brewed and cooled down flavors the drink. Store-bough tapioca balls is cooked in hot water to make plump and chewy.
Ingredients: Black tea bags, water, brown sugar, tapioca balls, half & half, ice
BUBBLE TEA WITH COLD FOAM

3. Matcha Bubble Tea

A layered drink with boba, milk, and matcha, it's made with just 6 ingredients. It's sweetened with brown sugar (but you can also use white sugar) and made creamy with oat milk.
There's no need for a matcha whisk to make this drink. Cold water and matcha are shaken together to get the matcha layer.
Get tips and tricks to making the drink layered.
Ingredients: Matcha, water, oat milk, brown sugar, tapioca balls, ice
MATCHA BUBBLE TEA

4. Strawberry Matcha Latte Bubble Tea

Strawberry and matcha green tea are delicious together so it's not surprising this bubble tea is so good.
Layered with strawberry syrup and tapioca balls on the bottom, oat milk in the middle, and matcha on top. The strawberry syrup can be homemade or store-bought.
Get tips on buying matcha and how to create the layers.
Ingredients: Matcha, water, strawberry syrup, oat milk, tapioca balls, ice
STRAWBERRY MATCHA LATTE BUBBLE TEA

5. Taro Bubble Tea

Taro, a root vegetable that's naturally purple, is a very popular bubble tea flavor. It tastes nutty and sweet.
Taro powder gives this drink the taro flavor and color and sweetened condensed milk makes the drink rich and creamy.
Store-bough tapioca balls are boiled in water until they're plump and perfectly chewy.
Ingredients: Taro powder, tapioca balls, green tea bags, sweetened condensed milk, milk, water, ice
TARO BUBBLE TEA

6. Jasmine Bubble Tea

Jasmine green tea is green tea that has been scented with jasmine flowers. It's a lightly floral and caffeinated drink.
The jasmine green tea is brewed perfectly so it's not bitter. Milk, sugar, and boba are added into the drink to make it a bubble tea.
Get tips and step-by-step instructions (with photos) on how to make this drink delicious each and every time.
Ingredients: Jasmine green tea bags, water, tapioca balls, sugar, milk, ice
JASMINE BUBBLE TEA

7. Classic Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea (Boba Milk Tea) in clear glass with wide straw.
A classic bubble tea is made with black tea, sugar, milk, ice, and tapioca balls.
Most bubble tea shops use powdered tea and powdered milk to make their drinks but this homemade recipe uses real milk and brewed tea.
Black tea is what's used in a classic bubble tea but you can use any kind of tea you like.
With bubble tea, you don't have to use the highest grade (and expensive) loose tea. Instead, make it with mess-free tea sachets and tea bags.
Ingredients: Black tea bags, water, tapioca balls, brown sugar, milk, ice
CLASSIC BUBBLE TEA

8. Iced Coffee Boba

If you love iced coffee and bubble tea, this is the drink for you.
Iced coffee replaces the iced tea in the drink for a highly caffeinated drink.
Coffee is brewed hot, then cooled down. Brown sugar sweetens and half & half makes it extra creamy.
Instead of brewing coffee hot, cold brewed coffee can be used for a smoother, mellower drink.
Ingredients: Brewed coffee, tapioca balls, brown sugar, half & half, water, ice
ICED COFFEE BOBA

9. Thai Iced Tea with Boba

Make Thai iced tea even better with tapioca balls! A sweet and refreshing drink, Thai bubble tea is great as is or when paired with spicy food. (The sweet and creamy drink helps with the heat.)
The signature bright orange color of the drink only comes from an authentic Thai tea mix.
Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk should be used to make it taste just like the Thai iced tea in Thai restaurants.
Ingredients: Thai tea mix, black tea, tapioca balls, brown sugar, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, water, milk, ice
THAI ICED TEA BOBA

10. Strawberry Bubble Tea

A refreshing and sweet strawberry and green tea drink with boba, it's made using homemade strawberry syrup but store-bought can also be used.
It's easy to adjust the amount of caffeine this iced drink by adding another green tea bag or leaving it out completely.
Taking out the green tea bag will make it a caffeine-free drink.
Ingredients: Green tea bags, water, strawberry syrup, tapioca balls, milk, ice
STRAWBERRY BUBBLE TEA

11. Black Sesame Bubble Tea

Black Sesame Bubble Tea (Black Sesame Boba Milk Tea) in a clear glass with wide straw.
Nutty black sesame can be found in a lot of Asian desserts and drinks since it's so good when sweetened.
The black sesame flavor comes from black sesame paste and it's sweetened with brown sugar.
This caffeine-free bubble tea is great with whole milk, which makes it nice and creamy, but any other kind of milk can be used.
Ingredients: Black sesame paste, water, brown sugar, tapioca balls, milk, ice
BLACK SESAME BUBBLE TEA

12. Hong Kong Bubble Tea

Black tea brewed strong, sweetened condensed milk, and tapioca balls are the main ingredients in a Hong Kong bubble tea.
Tea bags are used instead of loose tea since the sweetened condensed milk will overpower high-quality loose tea.
The strong black tea can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
Ingredients: Black tea bags, water, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, tapioca balls, ice
HONG KONG BUBBLE TEA

13. Rose Bubble Tea

Black tea is steeped with dried rose buds to flavor this sweet bubble tea.
A great black tea to use for bubble tea is English Breakfast tea, which is a blend of different black teas.
Food-safe, edible rose buds give the drink a floral taste. Brown sugar is used but white sugar can be used instead. Whole milk makes the drink creamier but any kind of milk can be added.
Ingredients: Black tea, dried rose buds, water, tapioca balls, brown sugar, milk, ice
ROSE BUBBLE TEA

14. Strawberry Butterfly Pea Flower Latte Bubble Tea

A layered red (strawberry syrup), white (milk), and blue (butterfly pea flower tea) drink with boba, that's caffeine-free.
Butterfly pea flower tea is an herbal tea and the deep blue colors of the flowers colors and flavors the water. It's caffeine-free and also called blue tea.
The strawberry syrup and brown sugar sweetens the drink.
Ingredients: Butterfly pea flower tea, water, strawberry syrup, tapioca balls, milk, brown sugar, ice
STRAWBERRY BUTTERFLY LATTE BUBBLE TEA

15. Butterfly Pea Flower Bubble Tea

Butterfly pea flower tea is the main ingredient in this Tiffany-blue bubble tea.
Caffeine-free, the drink is sweetened with brown sugar. To make the bubble tea even prettier, top it with cold foam.
Ingredients: Butterfly pea flower tea, water, brown sugar, tapioca balls, half & half, ice
BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER BUBBLE TEA

16. Lavender Bubble Tea

For lavender fans, give this floral bubble tea a try!
Black tea is steeped with dried lavender to flavor this caffeinated drink. A little bit of lavender goes a long way so just a bit is needed to make the drink. Add lavender cold foam for an extra boost of lavender flavor.
Ingredients: Black tea bag, water, dried lavender, sugar, tapioca balls, milk, ice
LAVENDER BUBBLE TEA

17. Purple Sweet Potato Bubble Tea

Sweet Potato Bubble Tea in clear glass with wide straw.
Made with purple sweet potato powder, this bubble tea is caffeine-free and doesn't contain any tea.
The tapioca balls make this a boba (also called bubble tea) drink.
Ingredients: Purple sweet potato powder, water, tapioca balls, brown sugar, milk, ice
PURPLE SWEET POTATO BUBBLE TEA

Questions You May Have

Is there caffeine in boba milk tea?

If the bubble tea is made with black, green, oolong, or white tea, then yes, there is caffeine in the drink.

Is bubble tea good for you?

Tea itself is good for you since it has antioxidants but bubble tea is made with sugar and milk, so it’s not really healthy.

Is boba the same thing as bubble tea?

Yup, bubble tea goes by a few names including boba, milk tea, boba milk tea, and pearl milk tea.

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5 from 3 votes

17 Delicious Bubble Tea Recipes

By: Jee Choe
See how easy bubble tea at home, like this classic bubble tea recipe below.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

Ingredients 

Milk Tea

  • 1 tablespoon black tea, (or 2 tea bags)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, or half & half

Tapioca Balls

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup tapioca balls
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions 

MAKE TEA

  • Steep tea in hot water for 5 minutes. Strain tea leaves. Stir in brown sugar.
    Set the water temperature to 195°F if you're using an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Use filtered water when possible.

COOK TAPIOCA BALLS

  • Boil ¾ cup of water and sugar in a saucepan. Add tapioca balls.
    Combine brown sugar and ¾ cup of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. When you see big bubbles (2-4 minutes), add tapioca balls. Keep boiling for 8 more minutes on medium-high heat. Cool slightly, until tapioca balls aren't too hot to eat. They should still be quite warm.

ASSEMBLE DRINK

  • Add warm tapioca balls in brown sugar syrup into a cup. 
Add ice, tea, and milk.
    Serve immediately and stir before drinking. Use an extra wide straw to drink.

Nutrition

Calories: 310Carbohydrates: 72gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 149mgFiber: 1gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 99IUCalcium: 125mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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