A mixture of three simple ingredients- syrup, milk, and Boba pearls. Yet this Brown Sugar Milk Tea has taken the world by storm! It is so uncomplicated to make and so addicting.
What is it and why is it so popular?
Also called Brown Sugar Bubble tea, Brown Sugar Boba Milk tea, and Tiger Sugar Milk tea. This confectionery drink originated from Taiwan and quickly became famous worldwide, with queues lasting for hours. The trademark "tiger sugar" is coined because of the tiger stripes formation on the cup due to the brown sugar syrup drips.
Despite this drink being called a milk tea, it is somewhat a misnomer as it has no actual tea on it! I reckon that it's because of its association with Bubble tea, which also originated from the same country. Nevertheless, it is still one of the most sought after specialty beverages out there today. But if you are a tea lover like me, you can try making Bubble tea at home as well.
How to make it?
This sweet delightful drink is quite easy to make! All you need is milk, brown sugar, and brown sugar boba pearls! All of this can be bought but I decided to make our own brown sugar boba pearls from scratch. It is just a little bit of work compared to my Black Tapioca Pearls. But since I got a lot of requests for this one so I made it as well.
Whether you buy the dried version or make it yourself, you have to boil the boba in water then add brown sugar to make a very thick syrup. Let it then cool down a bit.
Next is you scoop some of the syrup and boba into a tall glass. Tip the glass sideways and swirl the syrup around the insides of the glass. This is to form the "tiger stripes".
Lastly, pour in cold milk. You may also add ice if you like. Stir and serve.
Boba Pearls VS Tapioca Pearls
Both are made from the starch of cassava root and are high in calories and carbohydrates. The difference between the two boils down to the size of the pearl. Boba pearls are bigger compared to tapioca pearls.
Tapioca pearls have been around for a while and are used for a lot of desserts and even savory dishes. While Boba pearls originated in Taiwan much later and are made specifically for milk teas and bubble teas.
Can I use cornstarch instead of Tapioca Flour? No, it has to be tapioca flour.
Is tapioca flour the same as cassava flour? They are both from cassava but tapioca is made from the starch of cassava while cassava flour is the dried and powder form of the root itself.
What is the difference between tapioca flour and tapioca starch? They are usually one and the same and is also sometimes labeled as cassava starch.
What can I use as an alternative to milk? I recommend soy milk, taste good as well.
Why is my boba pearl dough too crumbly and won't form? Some tapioca flours absorb more water than others. Try to add more water if you see that it is getting too crumbly while cooking.
Looking for more coolers to combat the afternoon heat? These will be your best selection!
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
BROWN SUGAR BOBA PEARLS
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ cup brown sugar
BROWN SUGAR SYRUP
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups water for boiling
- 4 cups fresh milk preferably cold
- ice cubes optional
BROWN SUGAR BOBA PEARL
- Combine water and brown sugar in a pan. Simmer over very low heat until dissolved.
- Add 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour and stir until fully incorporated.
- Turn off heat then add the remaining tapioca flour. Stir until dough is formed.
- Transfer to a flat surface and knead until smooth. Place a plastic foil on top of the dough. Flatten using a rolling pin to about 1 cm thick, then cut into small squares.
- Roll the pieces into small balls then place them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour. Shake the bowl lightly every now and then to make sure the pearls are covered with flour and not sticking together.
BROWN SUGAR SYRUP
- Pour the Boba pearls into boiling water and leave for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add 2 cups of brown sugar and stir. Leave it to boil for another 5 minutes.
- Divide the syrup and boba pearls into 4 tall glasses. Tip the glass to the side and slowly roll until the sides are completely covered with syrup.
- Add milk and ice, then stir them all together with the straw.
Nyla Sine says
Amazing never been more happy with my boba tea 🧋 😃
Meagan Malloy says
Made this last night and they turned out perfectly! Thanks so much for this!!! Super easy to follow and delish results 💕
Glad you like it, Meagan.
Harm harm says
Hi. How is this called a milk tea when it doesn’t have any tea in it?
This is amazing! I just made it and it tastes even better than the one from the shop I usually go to. Thank you so much for this recipe!
Catalina bean says
I made it today and was shocked at how good it was and how similar it was to the one I got at “The Tea Spot”, thank you so much!
Hey Catalina, that is great! Glad you like it!
means there are not yet cooked through, just cook them longer.
Try to cook the tapioca starch in step 2 longer and it will form into a thick sauce before adding the rest of the tapioca starch. The sugar sauce will become sticky which is ok. But maybe yours was too sticky because the balls were still powdery from the starch and it added to the syrup.
Girl, I'm confused. This supposed to be milk "tea". Where is the TEA?
Read the post and you'll know...
Hi! I tried making this and after I turned off the heat and added the rest of the tapioca starch/flour, the consistency turned into ooblec. It appears like a liquid but when you touch it to knead it, it hardens up. Should I keep doing it or try again?
The first batch was not cooked enough maybe as it should act as a sticky glue.
Can you recover it
Hi! I really want to make this recipe but I don't have any tapioca starch, just premade tapioca pearls, would these work??
Yes of course. Just cook the tapioca pearls as per package instructions.
I tried this 3 times with 2 different brands of tapioca flour and varying amounts of water and all 3 times it turned to oobliek. Perhaps there needs to be more details in each step. I'll try a different recipe.
Me too I did it twice
Hi! I want to try this, but I'm concerned about the shelf life. Do you think these will keep in a container in the fridge for a couple of days?
The uncooked boba pearls you can dry and store for a long time or others are freezing them. But it will not store well once it is already cooked, for 1-2 days in the fridge sure but it will swell as it absorbs the liquid.
Hi! I’m making the pearls right now. I have added the cup of tapioca flour, and the mixture is very thick, but when I try to form a dough ball, it melts back into the pan. What should I do?
Try adding a bit more tapioca starch and mix until it forms a dough. It will also get firmer as it cools down.
How long do the bobas last after you cook them?
To have the best texture, they should be consumed within the next 12 hours after cooking. Keep them at room temperature during this time soaked in the syrup. But if you have to, then refrigerate it for up to 3 days and reheat before using.
My friends and I are going to try and make this boba recipe today. I really hope it works!
How did yours go?
Where's the tea?
It is explained in the post.
Elizabeth Cowie says
Can i make this with tapioca pearls i bought at the store? i have the wufuyuan black sugar flavor pearls
Sure, just cook it in water for 5 minutes then drain the water then boil 2 cups water and 2 cups brown sugar once sugar is dissolved, add your boba and cook for a few minutes depending on how soft you like them.
I'd love to make this recipe but I don't have the time to make my own boba at the moment. I've purchased some premade boba from the store and I was wondering how much I should use when making the syrup.
Use about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.
For a milk tea, there doesn't seem to be any tea.
It is all explained in the post.
Sinem unal says
They turned out a little softer than expected. Does it harden when it gets cold? Or do I just need to boil it a little longer? They taste amazing btw😍
Yes, try to cook a bit longer.
Anna Durbin says
The boba was a five out of five stars, it was really easy and it tasted great.
Thank you for your lovely message, Anna.
Carole Baskin says
This is by far the worst recipe I have ever seen! The boba pearls don’t even keep their shape, they just dissolve and melt! DO NOT TRY THIS RECIPE, SAVE YOUR TIME! -Carole Baskin
Hi Carole, based from the other commenters who also tried this recipe, it worked fine for them. Could it be there is something wrong with the ingredients you used? Or the way you made them? I cannot imagine how the pearls would dissolve or melt from the small amount of water added to it.
Hi Ava, I was not defensive at all, was just giving you a straightforward answer because it was literally mentioned in the post (*smile*). Believe me, I do experiment...a lot, it won't work for a food blog if you do not, but in this case we want to state a fact so we stayed true to the original version. I guess that is the problem with writing and reading texts, the meaning or mood depends more on the reader than on the writer.
amazing recipe! but whenever i try to make the pearls they always turn into oobleck no matter how hot the brown sugar + water mixture is, i've tried numerous times making the mixture hotter each time (its always boiling) and it never works, am i making it too hot or is there something else i could be doing wrong?
Hi Katie, try a different brand of tapioca flour. Tapioca flour should turn sticky when cooked so it should not turn oobleck at all.
Hello! I love your recipe, but do you know what type of cream mousse use tiger sugar at the top?
I tried making it but the dough isn't forming and the mixture is still liquid
Did you use proper measuring cups? It should be a dough and not liquid at all.
Hey! Just wanted to point out, that since there was no tea, it's not necessarily the milk tea version. It's a brown sugar pearl fresh milk. The Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea has actual black tea in it.
Sarah Sun says
Will the brown sugar syrup be thick after mixing in the water and sugar over low heat?
The starch from the boba pearls will make it thick.
I followed the recipe and it didn’t work for me. The pearls didn’t cook through all the way when boiling.🤷🏽♀️ Regardless it was fun to make. Maybe I will give it another whirl later.
Hi Susan, the bigger they are the longer they need to cook. But try to give them rest (like 30 minutes) and boil them again., it lessens the cooking time.
Hi. I bought brown sugar pearls. How many cups of pearls should I use for the amount of syrup in your recipe?
Tried making this today and absolutely love it!!! Turned out great and will be using this recipe every time!
I really want to try this but I don’t know where to buy Tapioca Flour. No available stocks from the link you provided. Can you recommend where can i locally source it? I’m located in Manila, thanks in advance!
Hi Cai, they are available in supermarkets and baking supply stores.