Boil ½ cup of water. Take off heat.Set the water temperature to 195°F if you're using an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Use filtered water when possible.
Steep tea in hot water for 5 minutes.
Strain and discard tea leaves. Let tea cool.Set aside.
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 and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes. Cool slightly, until tapioca balls aren't too hot to eat. They should still be warm.
Add warm tapioca balls in brown sugar syrup into a cup. Add ice, tea, and milk.Use a spoon to line brown sugar syrup inside the cup. Serve immediately and stir before drinking. Use an extra wide straw to drink.
Use any kind of black tea you like. The black tea for this drink doesn't need to be the highest quality, so feel free to use tea bags.
Although you can use any kind of milk, whole milk makes the drink rich and creamy.
This recipe makes a 16 ounces (2 cups) drink, so make sure to have a large enough cup.
Black tea can be prepared ahead of time and stored in your fridge for up to 4 days.
Instead of brewing black tea then cooling it down, use cold brewed tea. Make a batch and use the tea to make brown sugar milk tea with boba all week.
Boba can't be made ahead of time since they harden after a few hours.
Add tapioca balls into the cup when they're still warm and assemble the drink right away. Warm boba has the best texture.
Bubble tea is always served with a wide straw is so that you get a few boba with each sip of the milk tea.