How To Make Brown Sugar Milk Tea

Brown sugar milk tea is a type of Bubble tea (or boba) that is made using tapioca pearls, brown sugar, and milk. While it doesn’t actually include any tea at all, it is still regarded as a ‘cold tea’. 

Bubble teas are a popular type of beverage that was first created in Taiwan all the way back in the 1940s. They were a type of tea that could be made using a cocktail shaker. 

How To Make Brown Sugar Milk Tea

While it has been a favorite drink for many – especially the younger generations in Asian countries since the 1980s – in the last decade it has become a popular drink to consume in the western world too.

While a boba beverage often looks complicated to make, it actually isn’t. In this simple guide you will find out how to make brown sugar milk tea (see also: A Complete Guide To White Tea (What Is It?))with the tapioca pearls added too.

Does Bubble Tea Contain Real Tea?

Bubble tea often contains real tea. Sometimes black, green or oolong tea will create the flavor base of this kind of bubble tea.

However, brown sugar milk tea does not include any tea at all. The stronger flavors come from the brown sugar and the milk. 

Even so, there are some places who will include tea within a brown sugar milk (see also: How To Make Matcha Milk Tea)tea, and you can also do this at home. It involves making your favorite milky tea and using that as the base along with the brown sugar syrup. 

This kind of tea, whether made with a milky tea mixture or not, is sweet and enjoyed by lots of people from around the world. 

What Actually Are Tapioca Pearls?

Tapioca pearls are a starch extract from the yuca root, also known as cassava. It is naturally gluten-free, and is often used as an agent to thicken up vegan baking and cooking.

It can be found as a flour, flakes and pearls. You may have already eaten them in bubble tea. The texture is squishy, and often tasteless unless they have been flavored.

When they are flavored it is because they are to be put into fruit bubble teas.

Tapioca pearls can be found on Amazon, but also local Asian stores that sell cuisine from various countries within Asia. 

Can You Make Your Own Tapioca Pearls At Home?

Yes, you can make tapioca pearls at home. All you need is tapioca flour, sugar, and water. Then you will need to cook them using a stove.

However, while it may be fun to make your own tapioca pearls, the process is long. It is much easier to buy the tapioca pearls packaged, which you boil to make softer. 

Do remember to use any cooked tapioca, otherwise you will find they become hard and stick to each other. This means that when you cook the tapioca, you should be consuming them on the same day.

Step-By-Step Guide: How To Make Brown Sugar Milk Tea

Here is a really simple way to make brown sugar milk tea(see also: Adding Milk To Tea The Right Way And Why). While we haven’t included a milky tea base in this guide, you can create one if you would prefer.

All you need to do is make a milky tea base like you normally would (minus the sugar) and let it cool. You can now use it the same way you would the milk in the following recipe. 

What You Need

  • A 8.8 ounce (250g) of dried tapioca pearls (plain is best)


  • Tablespoon of homemade brown sugar syrup with extra left behind
  • A cup of milk
  • Quarter cup of cooked tapioca pearls
  • (Optional) ice cubes

Brown Sugar Syrup:

  • A cup of brown sugar
  • Half a cup of water

Step 1

Begin by preparing the packaged tapioca. Follow the instructions on the package to understand how to cook them.

Once they have been cooked, set them aside in a bowl ready to be used later.

Step 2

Now is the time to create the brown sugar syrup. You will need to place water and the brown sugar into a saucepan over a high heat.

How To Make Brown Sugar Milk Tea (1)

Once the liquid begins to boil, bring the heat down to medium and let it simmer away gently. You will notice that the mixture is starting to thicken, and will carry on doing so as the temperature lowers. 

Step 3

When 5 minutes has passed, or it has begun to thicken up nicely, move the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool at room temperature in a bowl.

Once it reaches room temperature, you will notice the mixture is even thicker. 

Because the mixture doesn’t need to be hot or warm, you can actually do this the day before and put the contents into the fridge ready for the following day. 

Step 4

When the brown sugar syrup mixture is cool enough to use, it is ready to be assembled along with all of the ingredients to create the drink.

Place around half of the brown syrup into a pouring jug or a squeezy bottle – like the one ketchup would be in. 

Pour around half of the brown sugar mixture into it and squeeze/pour some into a glass using a stripe pattern, making sure that the liquid runs down the inside of the glass. 

Step 5

Add a couple of spoonfuls of tapioca pearls, filling around a quarter of the glass. 

Step 6

Add a tablespoon of brown sugar syrup to the milk inside a cocktail shaker, and add some ice too. Mix it all together by shaking it. This should make it quite frothy too. 

Step 7

Place a strainer on the top of the glass and pour the brown sugar and milk mixture into the glass. 

Step 8

Add the final touches like a wide straw and you are good to go! Enjoy the homemade brown sugar milk tea. 

Final Thoughts

It is really easy to make your own brown sugar milk tea. All you need are a few ingredients, a stove, and some tapioca pearls, and you can enjoy this Asian beverage at home. 

Joanne Baltimore
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