Steep tea in hot water for 5 minutes.Set the water temperature to 195°F if you're using an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Use filtered water when possible.
Strain tea leaves. 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 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.
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.
Brown sugar gives the drink a deep, rich flavor, but you can use regular white sugar if that's what you have.
Any kind of milk can be used but it's especially creamy with whole milk or half & half.
Black tea is used in a classic bubble tea, but you can use any kind of tea you like. Try making bubble tea with green, white, or oolong tea instead of black tea.
To keep the boba soft and chewy, add warm tapioca balls into the drink. The ice will cool it down a bit but make sure you don't use piping hot tapioca balls that can burn your mouth.
Unfortunately, tapioca balls need to be made within just a couple of hours of serving them. They can't be made the day before since they'll harden.
Cold brew tea can be used instead of hot tea that has been cooled down.
The tea can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Don't add the milk until you're ready to serve the drink.
Tea bags contains the lowest quality tea, but since it's going into a drink with sugar and milk, you don't need to use the best tea.