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Homemade Bubble Tea (Boba Milk Tea) with Cold Foam

Author: Jee Choe
Decadent, delicious bubble tea drink made with tapioca balls, brown sugar, and milk tea.
4.6 from 136 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Steep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Drinks
Yield2 servings


Black tea

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons black tea

Brown Simple Syrup

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Tapioca Balls

Cream Froth

  • ¼ cup half & half
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar



  • Boil water.
    Boil 2 ¾ cup of water. If using an electric kettle with a temperature setting, set the water to 208°F. Use filtered water if possible.
  • Steep tea in hot water for 5 minutes.
    Combine tea and 2 ½ cups hot water and steep. (The leftover ¼ cup of hot water is to make the brown sugar simple syrup.)
  • Strain tea leaves and let tea cool.
    Using a teapot with an infuser makes straining the tea leaves super easy.


  • Stir together hot water and dark brown sugar until sugar dissolves.
    Take the remaining ¼ cup hot water and stir in ¼ cup brown sugar.


  • Boil water and add tapioca balls.
    Boil water in a saucepan on the stovetop then add tapioca balls. Cook on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    (Follow directions on your tapioca ball packaging if you're using a different brand than the one I’m using.)
  • Drain tapioca balls.
  • Combine tapioca balls and brown sugar simple syrup.
    Stir in dark brown simple syrup into the pot with the strained boba. Let cool slightly so it's warm but not boiling hot.


  • Lightly whip half & half and sugar.
    Use a handheld milk frother and whip until it starts to thicken.


  • Divide each component into two cups.
    Spoon tapioca balls in brown sugar simple syrup, add ice, then black tea, and top with cold foam. Stir together before drinking.


  • Make sure your tapioca balls are still warm when you assemble the drink. They'll be nice and soft with a little chew.
  • Instead of loose tea, you can use 3 tea sachets or 6 tea bags.
  • If you want less tea, use 4 teaspoons of tea which is 2 tea sachets or 4 tea bags.
  • Use an extra wide straw to drink your bubble tea.
  • Do not make tapioca balls more than 1-2 hours ahead of time. After 4 hours, they'll start to harden. The drink is the best when assembled and served right before drinking.
  • Bubble tea can be made with all kinds of tea. All you need to do is add tapioca balls to a drink and it instantly becomes boba tea! 
  • If you prefer weaker tea, use 2 teaspoons of tea per serving.
  • If you don't want the trouble of making the cold foam, just add 4 tablespoons of half & half to each serving instead. 
  • The tea, brown sugar simple syrup, and cream froth can all be made ahead of time and stored separately in the refrigerator. The tea keeps for 4 days at the most, the syrup for up to 2 weeks, and cold foam for up to 2 days. Just the tapioca balls can't be made ahead.
  • To adjust the amount of sugar that goes into the drink, strain out the tapioca balls from the brown sugar simple syrup when assembling the drink. Add the simple syrup after the drink has been made to see how sweet you want it.


Calories: 427 | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 437IU | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg
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