Oolong Bubble Tea (Oolong Boba Milk Tea)

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Switch up your bubble tea game by replacing black tea with oolong tea. See how easy it is to make delicious boba at home!

Oolong bubble tea in a large glass with boba and ice.

What is Oolong Milk Tea?

Bubble tea (also called milk tea) is an iced drink that originated in Taiwan.

The basic bubble tea ingredients are tea, milk, sugar, and tapioca balls. Oolong bubble tea is made with oolong tea, instead of the usual black tea.

Oolong tea is a type of tea that’s between a black and green tea in how it’s processed.

Tapioca balls (boba) are chewy and soft, made from tapioca starch. Adding tapioca balls, which look like bubbles due to the round shape, makes a drink a bubble tea.

Recipe Highlights

  • This oolong bubble tea is made with oolong tea, brown sugar, milk, and tapioca balls.
  • Instead of using powdered tea like they do in most bubble tea shops, this homemade boba recipe uses brewed tea, which makes the drink taste so much better.
  • The easiest way to make bubble tea at home is to use store-bought tapioca balls. All that’s needed is to cook in hot water for a few minutes.
  • My secrets to making the best bubble tea is using real brewed tea and warm tapioca balls. It makes a difference!

RELATED: Best Bubble Tea Recipes

Ingredient Notes

Oolong Bubble Tea ingredients in measuring cups on a table.
  • Oolong tea
    Any oolong tea can be used but I like Taiwanese oolongs that have a roasted flavor. Loose tea, tea sachets, or tea bags can be used but it’s easier, with less mess, to use tea sachets or tea bags.
  • Tapioca balls
    Store-bought tapioca balls are dried, so when you cook them in water, they’ll plump up and soften.
  • Brown sugar
    I prefer brown sugar since it goes well with bold teas like oolong but you can use white granulated sugar if that’s all you have.
  • Milk
    Any milk can be used, including plant-based milk like oat milk. Whole milk or half & half will make this drink creamier.
  • Water
    To make better tasting tea, use filtered water whenever possible.
  • Ice
    Use filtered water to make ice if you can.
My Tapioca Balls Pick

Photo Credit: amazon.com

The tapioca balls I use to make bubble tea at home.
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Step-by-Step Instructions

Oolong Bubble Tea  recipe steps one and two with pictures.

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to see the recipe.

  1. Steep tea in hot water.
    Strain tea or discard tea sachets. Stir in sugar. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cook tapioca balls in brown sugar and water.
    Boil water and brown sugar then add tapioca balls for a few minutes.
Oolong Bubble Tea recipe steps three through six, in pictures.
  1. Put tapioca balls and brown sugar syrup into a glass.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Pour in cooled tea.
  4. Top with milk.
    Serve immediately. Stir before drinking. Use an extra wide straw to drink.

RELATED: Jasmine Bubble Tea

Recipe Notes

The warmer the tapioca balls, the softer and chewier they’ll be.
Like soft and chewy mochi, tapioca balls will have a similar texture when they’re very warm. I add them to drinks when they have cooled down enough to eat without burning my mouth.

Use tea bags or tea sachets.
Since bubble tea is made with milk and sugar, you don’t need to use the highest quality tea (loose tea). Feel free to use tea bags or tea sachets as they won’t create a mess.

Cooking tapioca balls in brown sugar syrup makes them sweeter.
This recipe cooks the boba in brown sugar syrup (brown sugar and water) to sweeten the tapioca balls and the drink.

Oolong Bubble Tea fully assembled in a glass.

Expert Tips

  • The tea can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will already be cool when you’re ready to use it.
  • Boba should be made at the time you’re making the drink, and not too much beforehand. After about 3-4 hours, the boba will start to harden.
  • All bubble teas are served with a wide straw so you get some tapioca balls with each sip of tea.

RELATED: Thai Bubble Tea

Questions You May Have

Does this drink have caffeine?

Yes, this drink has oolong tea which has caffeine in it.

How can I adjust the sweetness?

If you find the drink too sweet, do not include the sugar in the hot tea, so that the final drink is only sweetened by the brown sugar syrup.

How long do tapioca balls last?

Cooked boba will last for just about 4 hours before they harden.

How do you drink bubble tea?

Bubble tea is served with an extra wide straw so that with each sip of tea, you’ll get a few tapioca balls. The tapioca balls are meant to be chewed, not swallowed whole with the tea.

Oolong Bubble Tea in a glass with a wide straw.

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Oolong Bubble Tea (Oolong Boba Milk Tea)

Author: Jee Choe
See how easy it is to make delicious oolong boba milk tea at home!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving (16 ounces)

INGREDIENTS
 

Oolong Milk Tea

Tapioca Balls

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

INSTRUCTIONS
 

MAKE TEA

  • Steep oolong tea in hot water for 5 minutes. and cool.
    Set the water temperature to 195°F if you're using an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Use filtered water when possible.
  • Discard tea sachets and stir in brown sugar.
    Set aside to cool.

COOK TAPIOCA BALLS

  • Boil ¾ cup of water and sugar in a saucepan. Add tapioca balls.
    Combine water and brown sugar 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, cooled down tea, and milk.
    Serve immediately and stir before drinking. Use an extra wide straw to drink.

NOTES

  • Brown sugar goes well with bold teas like oolong, but you can use white granulated sugar if that’s all you have.
  • Any milk can be used, including plant-based milk like oat milk. Whole milk or half & half will make this drink creamier.
  • Like soft and chewy mochi, tapioca balls will have a similar texture when they’re very warm. I add them to drinks when they have cooled down enough to eat without burning my mouth.
  • Since bubble tea is made with milk and sugar, you don’t need to use the highest quality tea (loose tea). Feel free to use tea bags or tea sachets as they won’t create a mess.
  • Brown sugar is used to make the brown sugar syrup to sweeten the tapioca balls and the drink.
  • The tea can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will already be cool when you’re ready to use it.
  • Boba should be made at the time you’re making the drink, and not too much beforehand. After about 3-4 hours, the boba will start to harden.
  • All bubble teas are served with a wide straw so you get some tapioca balls with each sip of tea. 
  • Make sure to chew the tapioca balls instead of swallowing them whole.

NUTRITION

Calories: 309 | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 1mg
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