How To Make Taro Milk Tea

5 from 13 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Make taro milk tea at home with taro powder, tea, milk, and tapioca pearls in sugar syrup. It’s simple, creamy, and delicious – a perfect purple drink for the summer!

Two tall glasses with freshly made taro milk tea with tapioca pearls.

After perfecting my homemade tapioca pearls (boba) and making an easy bubble tea recipe, it’s time to try another favorite: taro milk tea. This drink mixes the unique taste of taro with creamy milk and chewy tapioca pearls, making it a must-try for any bubble tea fan.

Want to save this recipe?

Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!

What is taro milk tea?

Taro milk tea is a delicious Taiwanese bubble tea (with or without tea) flavored with taro root. Taro root is a starchy, purple tuber similar to a potato, known for its slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It can be used as a powder or paste. In Chinese, it’s called 香芋奶茶 (Xiāng yù nǎichá). This drink is sweet, lightly flavored, and has a lovely purple color.

For this recipe, I’m mixing taro powder with delicate jasmine tea, milk, and chewy tapioca pearls in a sweet brown sugar syrup. It’s a dessert-like drink that’s cool and refreshing, perfect for any time of the day.

A tall glass with freshly made taro milk tea with tapioca pearls.

Ingredients

Ingredients for homemade taro milk tea.
  • Jasmine green tea: I use loose-leaf tea, though a tea bag would also work.
  • Taro powder: You can purchase or make it yourself using this homemade ube powder method. Remember that many store-bought options are sweetened, so you may need to adjust how much additional syrup you add. Also, look out for whether the powder contains any animal products, as several contain a creamer product.
  • Milk: You can use either dairy or non-dairy options. For dairy, choose from 2%, whole milk, half and half, or light cream. For non-dairy, options include oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk. For an extra creamy and sweet drink, use condensed milk or dairy-free coconut condensed milk.
  • Brown Sugar: Use dark brown sugar. Dark muscovado sugar will provide for a deeper molasses flavor (and color). For a subtler flavor, use regular granulated sugar.
  • Tapioca balls: Use homemade boba pearls or store-bought tapioca balls. I recommend buying quick-cook versions, as regular ones take 5-6x longer to prepare. You can buy tapioca balls in Asian grocery stores or online.
  • Water and ice cubes

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Optional add-ins and variations

  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract will enhance the subtle vanilla notes in taro.
  • Other tea: Use regular green tea OR black tea (Chinese breakfast or English breakfast tea) instead.
  • Without tea: This drink also works without any tea. Instead, just use more milk.
  • Without milk: Omit the milk for a more robust tea flavor.
  • Taro chunks: To add texture and more taro taste, you could add cooked taro chunks to the taro boba milk tea.

How to make taro milk tea

Prepare the tea: If you want to enjoy this as iced tea, steep the tea well in advance and let it chill for a few hours. To make the tea, bring water to 176ºF/80ºC on the stovetop or use a temperature-controlled kettle. Don’t boil the water, or the tea will likely become bitter.

Pour the hot water over the tea and steep for 5 minutes. Then, remove the tea leaves. Add the taro powder to the tea and mix well. Then, set it aside to cool and allow the flavors to meld.

Steps for steaming jasmine tea and adding taro powder.

Cook the Tapioca Balls: If you’re using homemade tapioca balls, prepare and cook them according to my homemade tapioca pearls recipe. If you’re using store-bought boba, follow their package instructions to cook them (they need to boil for 3-5 minutes)

Once cooked, drain the boba immediately. Then, either rinse them under cold water, transfer them to a bowl of cold water, or transfer them straight to the brown sugar syrup (to prevent them from sticking together).

Steps for cooking and cooling tapioca pearls.

Make the syrup: Meanwhile, as the boba cooks, prepare the brown sugar syrup (refer to this simple syrup recipe post for more tips and info). Add equal parts of water and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.

Simmer for 3-5 minutes to slightly reduce and thicken the mixture (it will further thicken as it cools). Then remove it from the heat and add the cooked boba balls, stirring well. If you have time, allow the boba to soak in the syrup for up to 40-60 minutes to infuse it with more flavor.

Mixing tapioca pearls into sugar syrup.

Assemble: Take 2 tall glasses and start by adding the boba syrup mixture, using about 1/4 cup per glass. Next, pour in 1 cup of the taro jasmine tea mixture and 1/4 cup of milk per portion. If desired, add ice before the tea and milk. Stir well and enjoy your taro milk tea!

Steps for assembling taro milk tea in a tall glass.

Recipe tips and notes

  • Cook the boba fresh: For the best texture, serve the tapioca balls while they’re still warm, within 4 hours of cooking. As they cool, they become hard and less pleasant to eat.
  • Adjust the sweetness: You can reduce or increase the brown sugar syrup you add to the taro boba milk tea at home.
  • Adjust the creaminess: Both in the type of milk or cream you use and the amount you add.
  • Use bubble tea straws: Otherwise, you’ll need to serve it with a spoon.

Storage instructions

The assembled taro bubble tea should be consumed immediately for the best flavor and texture. The boba won’t stay fresh for longer than a few hours (up to 4). However, you can prepare and store separately some of the different elements.

  • The jasmine tea: Brewed jasmine tea (with or without the milk) will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, covered.
  • Brown sugar syrup: You can prepare a large batch of this simple syrup and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

FAQs

What does taro milk tea taste like?

Taro milk tea has a mellow sweetness, a slightly nutty flavor, and subtle vanilla notes. The flavor will vary slightly depending on whether you use taro powder or fresh real taro paste. The latter is lighter, nuttier, and usually less sweet (as the powders often have added sweetener).

Where to buy taro?

You may be able to source taro root in ethnic stores and Asian markets. Likewise, the powder will likely be in ethnic stores, but it is also more readily available online.

Can I use fresh taro paste?

Absolutely. Peel and boil cubed taro until fork tender (around 20 minutes), then mash. Use a blender to blend the mash with milk until smooth. Then mix with the tea and pour over the tapioca pearls. It will lightly thicken the drink and is paler than taro powder.
You need around 1.75-2.6oz (50-75g) of taro paste per portion.

What Is Taro vs. Ube?

Taro is a starchy root vegetable, similar to a potato, grown in South India and Asia. It has brown skin and a beige interior with flecks of purple. In terms of flavor, it is slightly sweet and nutty with subtle vanilla notes (similar to sweet potato, yet not entirely). It also creates lovely pale purple drinks.
In comparison, ube is a vibrant purple yam with a darker, richer color and a more pronounced potato flavor and sweetness. While it is possible to make ube milk tea, taro milk tea is the common, popular option.

If you try this bubble taro tea recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

How To Make Taro Milk Tea

5 from 13 votes
By: Samira
Make taro milk tea at home with taro powder, tea, milk, and tapioca pearls in sugar syrup. It's simple, creamy, and delicious – a perfect purple drink for the summer!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

The Milk Tea

  • 1 Tbsp jasmine green tea or black tea
  • 2 cups hot water to brew the tea (ideal at 176ºF/80ªC)
  • 4 Tbsp taro powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half or cream; dairy or dairy-free
  • ice optional

The Tapioca Pearls

The Brown Sugar Syrup

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water to make the sugar syrup

Instructions 

Prepare the tea

  • To enjoy this as iced tea, steep it well in advance and let it chill for a few hours.
    Bring water to 176ºF/80ºC on the stovetop or using a temperature-controlled kettle – don't bring it to a complete rolling boil.
  • Pour the hot water over the tea and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea leaves.
  • Add the taro powder and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Cook the tapioca balls

  • If using homemade tapioca balls, follow my recipe for homemade tapioca pearls. For store-bought boba, cook according to the package instructions (usually 3-5 minutes).
  • Once cooked, drain the boba immediately and rinse under cold water, or transfer to a bowl of cold water or straight to the brown sugar syrup.

Make the syrup

  • As the boba cooks, add the water and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high, occasionally stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Simmer for 3-5 minutes to slightly reduce and thicken the mixture. Remove it from the heat and add the cooked boba balls, stirring to coat the pearls well.
    You can let it soak for up to 40-60 minutes to infuse the boba with more flavor.

Assemble

  • Use tall glasses. Add the boba syrup mixture – about 1/4 cup per portion. Add ice if you're using it, about 1 cup of taro tea, and finally, 1/4 cup of milk. Enjoy!

Notes

Sourcing taro powder: It is available in ethnic stores and more readily available online. Often sweetened, check for animal products, as some powders contain creamers. Adjust syrup accordingly.
Cook boba fresh: Tapioca pearls become hard when chilled. For the best texture and taste, consume within 4 hours of cooking.
To store:  Consume taro bubble tea immediately for the best flavor and texture. Boba stays fresh for up to 4 hours, so boil it fresh. Jasmine tea lasts 3-4 days in the fridge, and brown sugar syrup keeps for 3-4 weeks.
Check the blog post for more tips!
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: Asian, Taiwanese
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 237kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 266mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 63IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 13 votes (12 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Donna says:

    I absolutely love the taste of taro milk tea! Thank you so much for the lovely recipe.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Glad you liked it. Thank you for commenting, Donna!

  2. Wendy Sanders says:

    Taro milk tea is a delightful and reviving beverage that has a few potential medical advantages. It is a decent wellspring of cell reinforcements, may assist with bringing down glucose levels, may uphold weight reduction, may advance solid processing, and different advantages. By integrating taro milk tea into your eating routine, you can partake in these potential medical advantages and backing your general wellbeing and prosperity. Wishing you silvery powerful wellbeing!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment, Wendy.

  3. Jin Ploy says:

    5 stars
    Hi this recipe looks very delicious, I have been waiting to try this recipe for long time. I was wondering if I can substitute the taro powder for ube powder?
    Thank you

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Jin,
      Yes, you can substitute the taro powder for ube powder. As ube is sweeter, if you want, first add less and then adjust to taste.