Homemade Brown Sugar Bubble Tea


I drank black sugar bubble tea every day when I visited Taiwan and decided to bring back some tapioca pearls (boba) to make my own at home. This is a versatile recipe: you can vary the tea and milk you use and sweeten it to taste. Brew tea to your preferred strength, though it's a good idea to use strong tea because you're going to dilute it with milk and ice. You'll need a wide straw to drink the boba, or use a long spoon for fishing them out!

close up view of Homemade Brown Sugar Bubble Tea in a glass with ice
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 5 mins


  • 4 ¼ cups water, divided

  • ¼ cup white tapioca pearls (boba)

  • 2 tablespoons black tea leaves

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup ice cubes

  • ¼ cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, or to taste


  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add tapioca pearls and stir gently until they begin floating to the top. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until softened and dark, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea leaves. Let steep for 15 minutes. Strain out tea leaves and refrigerate tea.

  3. Drain pearls. Bring 1/4 cup water to a boil in the empty saucepan. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Immerse pearls in syrup and let sit until room temperature, about 15 minutes

  4. Divide pearls and desired amount of syrup between 2 tall glasses. Pour in tea.

  5. Add ice, milk, and sweetened condensed milk to both glasses. Stir before drinking.

Cook's Notes:

Substitute 4 tea bags for the loose-leaf tea if preferred. Use any kind of black or green tea you like!

I did not use quick-cooking tapioca pearls. If you buy that variety, either online or from an Asian market, follow the cooking instructions on the package.

Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for a few days. They will gradually harden over time.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

248 Calories
2g Fat
54g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 248
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 64mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Total Sugars 38g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 154mg 12%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 224mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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