It’s a breeze to make boba milk tea (also called bubble tea) at home with a simple recipe consisting of tea, milk, sweetener, and chewy black tapioca pearls.

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Boba milk tea with tapioca pearls in a tall glass.

About Homemade Boba Milk Tea

Boba milk tea is a fad that’s spread like wildfire from the east to the west, and for very good reason: not only is it unique, but it can come in just about any flavor combination you can imagine.

And while it’s always fun to get a perfectly mixed drink from a cafe or restaurant, you can also make boba milk tea at home – and it’s easy. Like only-four-ingredients easy. Or 20-minutes-or-less easy. And why-would-I-drive-anywhere-this-is-so-simple-I’ll-save-so-much-money easy.

Because really, what’s better than having your favorite special treats at home, any time you’re craving it, and for a fraction of the cost?

What is boba milk tea?

Also sometimes called bubble tea, boba milk tea is a tea-based drink that’s swirled with creamer and served with chewy tapioca pearls (sometimes simply called “balls”) that sink to the bottom of the glass. You’ll also need an extra-wide straw with this drink, so you can both drink the tea and eat the pearls.

Prepared bubble milk tea.

Who invented boba milk tea?

For as popular as bubble tea is, it’s still a fairly new addition to the culinary world. The concept of boba originated in Taiwan (specifically the city of Taichung) in the early 1980s at a small drink stand owned by Liu Han-chien. His genius creation has since traveled the world, becoming an extremely popular drink in the west in recent years.

What does boba milk tea taste like?

Boba milk tea combines the subtle creaminess of milk-infused tea with a twist of adding semi-sweet pearls of tapioca that you can eat. It’s an edible drink that creates a tasty balance between sharp and creamy flavors.

Holding a glass of boba milk tea.

Where can you buy tapioca pearls?

To make things easier, I would suggest checking your favorite online retailer for buying pearls, such as Amazon or Walmart. That way you’ll have plenty of options to choose from for classic tapioca pearls (or even buying one of the many other flavors of pearls).

As for specific suggestions, I used E-FA Brand pearls when making this recipe. I have also heard good things about this Tapioca Pearl brand.

Notes & tips for boba tea

  • When preparing the black tapioca pearls, keep in mind they will only be fresh for about four hours. For best results, only make as much as you plan on eating in a short period of time.
  • For the simple syrup, you can either use store-bought simple syrup, use a different flavor or syrup, or use homemade simple syrup.
  • Not a fan of black tea? No problem! Feel free to use whatever flavor of tea you’d like that pairs well with milk or creamy flavors.
  • Feel free to use any type of milk or creamer that you’d like.

More delicious drinks

How to make boba milk tea at home

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Before getting started, prepare the black tea and the black tapioca pearls per the package instructions. These steps can vary per brand and according to taste, so be sure to check the directions.

Step 2 – When ready to prepare the drinks, fill each glass with an equal portion of tapioca pearls. Add a layer of ice on top of the boba.

Step 3 – Pour in equal parts tea and milk, then sweeten with simple syrup.

Step 4 – Serve with a large boba straw and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Boba milk tea with tapioca pearls in a tall glass.
5 from 3 votes

Homemade Boba Milk Tea

5 minutes prep + 15 minutes cook
361 kcal
Yields: 4 drinks
It's a breeze to make boba milk tea (also called bubble tea) at home with a simple recipe consisting of tea, milk, sweetener, and chewy black tapioca pearls.



  • Prepare black tea per package instructions. For best results, prepare tea in advance and allow it to cool in refrigerator before use. Set tea aside.
    4 black tea bags
  • Cook and prepare boba per package instructions. Once prepared, place boba in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup simple syrup (or to taste) to bowl, then stir. Set bowl aside.
    water, 1 cup black tapioca pearls, 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • When ready to serve, divide prepared boba evenly between 4 glasses, then add a layer of ice on top of boba.
  • Pour in 3/4 cup black tea, 3/4 cup milk, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup (or to taste) to each glass, then stir.
    3 cups milk, 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • Serve boba milk tea immediately with a large boba straw.


Serving: 1drink | Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Calcium: 220mg | Iron: 2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy