After posting my 3 Ingredient Easy Homemade Boba Tapioca Pearl recipe, I always felt like I owe you all a good Taiwanese milk tea recipe so that you guys can have full authentic boba milk tea experience at home whenever you want -- all made from scratch and without any questionable ingredients.
Taiwanese people LOVE milk tea. The milk tea that's so adored in Taiwan is not like the English style with a splash of milk in the tea, but a very rich tasting one. You can see milk tea everywhere in Taiwan, like convenient stores, restaurants, coffee shops, breakfast stands and of course the boba place. They even make all kinds of milk tea flavor desserts that if you go to Taiwan, you will be very surprised about how much Taiwanese people love their milk tea.
I myself have been making milk tea since I was ten years old, and here are some tips I would like to share with you all about how to make good Taiwanese style milk tea at home:
Make strong tea by using more tea leaves/bags
In order to make a cup of rich milk tea, you want to make stronger tea before adding milk, otherwise it will taste very bland and watery. Boiling the tea for too long creates an unpleasant bitter taste, therefore, we make stronger tea by increasing the amount of tea leaves/bags. Also, if you use loose leaf teas, choose the kind with finer leaves so it will release the flavor faster.
Type of Tea to use
Black tea is the most popular tea to use for milk tea. There are also other kinds of tea that are also commonly used for making milk tea in Taiwan, such as green tea, jasmine green tea, oolong, earl grey, barley tea, etc. You can basically use any kinds of tea you like to make milk tea (my husband's favorite is Harney & Sons Paris Tea!), but you might need to play around and adjust the amount of tea leaves depends on the kind you use.
Brew it in a sauce pan
This is the key to upgrading the taste of your milk tea. Usually people brew the tea first and add milk straight in the cup. I used to do that as well until one of my Indian friend told me that it's important to heat the milk and the tea together in the pan first before pouring in the cup, so the flavor can blend together better. One famous Taiwanese foodie who is well known of her knowledge about brewing tea also brew her milk tea in the pot, and it has become the most popular way of making milk tea in Taiwan!
Try Different kinds of Sweetener
Instead of sweetened with just regular sugar, I will suggest you to try other kinds of sweetener like Taiwanese black sugar, muscovado sugar, honey, maple syrup or caramel sauce, which will bring another layer of flavor to the milk tea.
Add a splash of cream
This is optional, but If I have heavy cream in my fridge I will always add a splash in my milk tea. It makes the milk tea taste richer and smoother but at the same time not tasting too heavy as if you would just replace milk with heavy cream.
Iced Milk Tea
If you want to make iced milk tea, there are two ways you can do it:
- Chill the milk tea in the fridge for several hours - this will preserve the richness of the milk tea.
- Let the milk tea cool down before adding in some ice cubes - your milk tea will be diluted a little bit, but at least you won't need to wait!
If you like this post, make sure you also try my
3 Ingredient Easy Homemade Boba Tapioca Pearl
Super Quick and Easy Almond Puff Pastry Cookies
Earl Grey Ginger Scone ( <--Best Scone ever!)
Whole Orange Greek Yogurt Muffin with Cranberry
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Best Taiwanese Style Milk Tea (For Boba, Bubble Tea)
- ¾ cup water
- 3 tea bags
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream, optional but highly recommended!
- sweetener of your choice
- 1 pinch of salt
- In a sauce pan, bring water to a boil, add the tea bags and turn the heat to low. Make sure the tea bags are all submerged in water.
- Cook for one minute before adding milk. Stir and cook until the milk tea is steaming, yet not boiling (about one to two minutes).
- Remove the tea bags, add heavy cream and sweetener of your choice with a small pinch of salt. Pour into your cup and enjoy!
- If you want to make iced milk tea, let it cool down and add some ice cubes or simply chill it in the fridge for few hours to avoid diluting your milk tea.
Hi Edwina, This looks so delicious. I’ve been wondering what brands of black tea to purchase when making bubble tea. I grew up going to Vietnamese boba shops. The Taiwanese boba shop I go to know serves tea that is so deep and robust in flavor! It’s one of the best boba places I’ve tried! Thank you for the recipe.
I like Ceylon and Assam black tea. I used Newman's own Organic Black tea (which is Ceylon black tea) when I developed the recipe. I'm currently using the Irish breakfast tea from Trader Joe's (Assam tea), which has stronger flavor (more tea leaves in each bag), so I think I will be sticking with that one :D. The issue with the Trader Joe's teabags is that I need to be careful don't cook even one minute over, otherwise the bitterness will start coming out. And I'd also add a bit more milk to offset the extra leaves. Usually Boba shop just use cheaper kinds of tea, some may even use artificial tea flavor, so it's s much better to make it at home!
Look for red rose tea at the grocery store. It’s a brand widely used in Canada. It brews a nice strong Ceylon black tea. I normally only use loose leaf tea and shy away from bagged tea, but for home made chai and milk tea this is so good!
Chat Mercado says
I love Taiwan Boba tea, but now Im back here in Philippines I missed drinking Taiwan Milk tea... thank you for sharing your recipe, cant wait to try this my self...
Hi can I know what is the brand of milk and heavy cream you use? Thank you.
I usually buy a brand call Organic Valley, but any brand of whole milk will work just fine! 🙂
I really enjoyed following your boba recipe. Looking forward to trying the milk tea with the tips you suggested! I love boba tea, but sometimes it has too much caffeine for me. I learned that if you initially steep loose leaves for half a minute, it extracts most of the caffeine and I can discard this and then continue brewing my tea as normal without much loss of flavor. It's like decaf tea! I will try making a decaf milk tea following your recipe 🙂
Hi Mandy, thank you for the tip! I will definitely give it a try 🙂
I use either the Harney and Sons tea mentioned on this blog or the Red Rose black tea you can get off Amazon. Both are super delicious!! I have trouble finding Taiwanese brown sugar though but I found that regular dark brown sugar will still do okay.
Elle Woods says
If I wanted to use Almond milk instead, do you think I should use the same amount? Or less and maybe more heavy cream?
Hi Elle, I haven't tried making this with almond milk, so you might need to use some trial and error to find the right proportions.
Tabitha Guthrie says
I was wondering the dame thing. I wonder if it would throw off the flavor because Almond milk tastes a little different in my opinion. But maybe it wouldn't if unsweetened almond milk was used and if you heat it up with the tea bags like suggested. I'm going to try it! I love milk tea!
When I visited Taiwan a couple years ago, I fell in love with winter melon milk tea!
How can we achieve best taste of milk tea meaning a little more twisting taste that different from others? Is it from the brand of tea that we use? Or from the milk or cream???? Thank you.
I think the type of tea you use matters more, but good quality milk and cream also help!
The best milk tea recipe ever! I used Trader Joe's breakfast tea, strong flavor just how I like it :). Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
Thank you Isa! I'm glad to hear you like it 😀