Tiger Milk Tea: Brown Sugar Boba Recipe

Are you a fan of bubble tea? If so, you’ll love this recipe for tiger milk tea. This delicious creamy drink is the perfect treat for any bubble tea lover.

We will discuss how to make the perfect tiger milk tea yourself and provide some tips to make your tiger milk tea experience memorable.

So if you’re looking for an easy way to get your bubble tea right, read on.

What Is Tiger Milk Tea?

Tiger Milk Tea

Tiger milk tea is a type of bubble tea originally from Taiwan. It’s made with brewed black tea, milk, sugar syrup, and tiny tapioca pearls for added texture. The drink gets its name from the stripes created when mixing the brown sugar syrup and white milk, creating tiger-like stripes in the glass.

Other Names

Tiger milk tea is also known by several other names depending on the region where it is served. Here are some of the alternative names of tiger milk tea and how they differ:

  1. Brown sugar milk tea – This name refers to the sweetener used in the tea: brown sugar.
  2. Boba milk tea – This name refers to the tapioca pearls (also known as “boba”) that are typically added to tiger milk tea. Boba milk tea is basically another name for tiger milk tea.
  3. Pearl milk tea – Yet another name for boba milk tea. Some people use “pearl” instead of “boba” to refer to the tapioca pearls in the drink.
  4. Bubble milk tea – This is another name for boba milk tea, and it refers to the bubbles that form on top of the tea when it is shaken.

What Does Tiger Milk Tea Taste Like?

Tiger milk tea tastes sweet, creamy, and slightly caramel-like due to the brown sugar used as a sweetener. The tea has a smooth and velvety texture, thanks to the addition of milk or cream. The tapioca pearls added to the drink have a slightly chewy texture and don’t have much flavor. Still, they add an interesting texture to the glass.

Some variations of tiger milk tea may have additional flavors, such as fruit or floral, depending on the tea and sweetener used.

Overall, the taste of tiger milk tea can vary depending on the recipe and the specific ingredients you add to the drink.

Tiger Milk Tea Ingredients

The drink can be made with simple ingredients that are easy to find in any grocery store or online. Below you will find the typical components of tiger milk tea. However, additional ingredients, such as fruit, may be added depending on the recipe or your preference.

Black Tea

You need two tea bags to make this recipe – perfect for producing two or three mid-sized drinks. Add one extra bag for an even deeper, more robust tea flavor.

Alternatively, those using loose leaves can use two teaspoons of green or black tea leaves.

Muscovado Sugar (Or Dark Brown Sugar)

Muscovado sugar

Muscovado sugar, available in brown and dark brown varieties, is an unrefined cane sugar with a distinct brown color. Unlike brown sugar, it undergoes no refining process and retains its natural molasses, resulting in a unique toffee-like flavor. Its texture is comparable to that of Jaggery, being crumbly and moist.

For making tiger boba, traditionalists prefer muscovado sugar. Still, dark brown sugar is a suitable alternative when muscovado sugar is unavailable.

Whole Milk

Whole milk is the go-to choice when it comes to tiger milk tea. However, depending on your preference, it can be replaced with other types of milk, such as almond, oat, soy, or coconut milk. These alternatives provide the same creaminess and thickness, so both work well for the recipe.

Tapioca Pearls/Boba

Tapioca pearls or boba

Tapioca perls or boba are an essential ingridient of tiger milk tea.

Making tapioca pearls from scratch is a challenging process requiring practice. We suggest using store-bought black boba pearls instead. 

The Recipe: How to Make Tiger Milk Tea?

The recipe for homemade tiger milk tea is relatively simple.


  • 2 teabags of black tea or 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • ½ cup of uncooked black tapioca pearls
  • ½ cup of Muscovado or brown sugar
  • 1 cup ice cubes


Step 1: Preparing the Tea

Add boiled water and a teabag of black tea to a cup. Let it sit for a few minutes. After, remove the tea bag and chill the cup of tea.

Step 2: Preparing Tapioca Pearls/Boba

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. After, add the brown sugar boba to the boiling water and allow them to cook on medium-high heat until they float atop. This usually takes 5 minutes at most.

Once they do, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another 5-10 minutes until they become soft and chewy.

After, turn off the heat and allow the boba to sit in the boiling water for another 5 minutes. Then drain the water.

Now, our tapioca pearls are ready!

Step 3. Add Precooked Tapioca Pearls to Brown Suga

Combine Muscovado sugar or a sugar substitute with 3 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the Muscovado sugar dissolves, and bubbles begin to form.

Next, mix the cooked black tapioca pearls into the syrup thoroughly before turning off the heat. The entire process should take at most 5 minutes.

If you add more water, the syrup must be cooked longer until it reaches a thick and syrupy consistency.

Step 4. Assemble Tiger Milk Tea

Hold a glass horizontally. Use a long-handled iced tea spoon to add the boba syrup to the sides of the glass, rotating the glass to smear the boba syrup to create tiger stripes.

Once the boba is evenly coated, add ice cubes to the glass, followed by the tea. Gently pour the milk, then add a boba straw to complete the drink.

Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy your drink!

Store-bought tiger milk tea

Success Tips & Tricks

Pro tips for making tiger milk tea:

  • Start brewing the tea with water just as it starts to boil at a temperature of 212°F or 100°C.
  • Prepare the tapioca pearls or boba before assembling the drink for the best taste.
  • Make the syrup thick and caramel-like in consistency by using minimal water.
  • Adjust the cooking time for boba depending on the type of boba used, and look for them to float to the top.
  • To make vegan tiger milk rea, replace whole milk with plant-based milk.
  • Let the syrup-smeared glass rest for a few minutes before adding the tea and milk to achieve perfect tiger stripes.

How to Storage Brown Sugar Boba?

Drink your tiger milk tea as soon as it is made for the best taste and texture. However, if there is any leftover, pour the remaining tea into an airtight container and put it in the fridge.

Consuming the stored tea within 24-48 hours is essential for optimal taste and quality. Avoid leaving the tea at room temperature for too long, as this can cause spoilage.


Does Tiger Milk Tea Have Tea in It?

Yes! The drink is made with black tea blended with milk and sugar to create a creamy beverage.

Why Do The Stripes Disappear?

This is common.

If you want the stripes to stay, make sure the stripes aren’t blending with the tea and milk.

Here’s how you do it.

Once the boba syrup is poured down the sides of the glass, let it cool and solidify before adding tea and milk. This will help prevent the immediate dissolution of stripes, allowing more time for the syrup to slowly merge with the drink.

Why Did My Tapioca Pearls Get Hard?

Tapioca starch is the main ingredient in boba, and as with most starches, it tends to thicken when cooled. Consequently, the boba will become dense and stiff once it cools down. If you want to avoid this, keep the boba warm.

In many boba shops, brown sugar boba is immersed in warm brown sugar syrup and placed on an electric hot plate to maintain its temperature. This prevents the boba from hardening and ensures it remains soft and chewy.

Can I Use Soy Milk or Almond Milk to Make Tiger Milk Tea?

Yes! You can use soy milk or almond milk to make tiger milk tea. In fact, using non-dairy milk alternatives is a great way to make this popular Taiwanese beverage vegan-friendly. Just be sure to adjust the sweetness and flavorings to your liking. The taste may differ slightly from traditional tiger milk tea made with regular milk.

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