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!
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
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
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
A layered drink with boba, milk, and matcha, it’s made with just 6 ingredients.
There’s no need for a matcha whisk to make this drink. Cold water and matcha are shaken together to get the matcha layer.
It’s sweetened with brown sugar (but you can also use white sugar) and made creamy with oat milk.
Get tips and tricks to making the drink layered.
Ingredients: Matcha, water, oat milk, brown sugar, tapioca balls, ice
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
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
Jasmine green tea is a lightly floral and caffeinated drink. Milk, sugar, and boba are added into the drink to make it a bubble tea.
Jasmine green tea is green tea that has been scented with jasmine flowers.
The jasmine green tea is brewed perfectly so it’s not bitter, and the sugar makes it nice and sweet.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
Questions You May Have
If the bubble tea is made with black, green, oolong, or white tea, then yes, there is caffeine in the drink.
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.
Yup, bubble tea goes by a few names including boba, milk tea, boba milk tea, and pearl milk tea.
- Homemade Strawberry Syrup
- Strawberry Cold Foam
- Matcha Cold Foam
- Starbucks Iced Passion Tango Tea Copycat
- Where to Buy Tea Online
Want to save these recipes for later? Pin it now to your Pinterest board!