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How to Make Brown Sugar Milk Tea: The Easy Recipe

brown sugar milk tea on the table

Brown sugar milk tea is a Taiwanese drink that has recently spread across the world and achieved global popularity. Despite having the word tea in the name, the original recipe from Taiwan actually contains no tea at all but just three simple ingredients: milk, brown sugar, and tapioca pearls (boba).

It’s super simple to make at home. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be sipping this sweet treat in no time!

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How to Make Brown Sugar Milk Tea

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups water for boiling
  • 4 cups milk
  • Ice cubes (optional)
  • Dried boba or tapioca pearls
  • Saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Four glasses
  • Straws

1. Boil The Water.

Add 2 cups of water to a saucepan and bring it to a boil on the stovetop.

2. Cook the Boba Pearls.

When the water boils, add the boba pearls to the water and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Make the Syrup.

Stir 2 cups of brown sugar into the saucepan with the pearls. Boil for another 5 minutes.

4. Assemble the Drinks.

Pour the syrup and pearl mixture into four glasses, dividing evenly. Tip each glass from side to side until the syrup has coated the glass. Add milk and ice, stir it up with a straw, and enjoy!

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The Bubble Tea Experience

Brown sugar milk tea is a bubble tea: a milky tea beverage first brewed in the 1980s in Taiwan. Not all variations of bubble tea contain tea, including brown sugar milk tea, and not all of them have milk.

What Are Boba Pearls?

All bubble teas have boba, also known as tapioca pearls. Boba pearls are the eponymous bubbles and are traditionally made of cassava root. They are chewy, cooked spheres of dough at the bottom of the drink. Bubble tea is often served with a large straw to accommodate the boba’s size.

Since the invention of bubble tea, drink makers have come up with various types of boba, not just tapioca pearls. There is also popping boba, which are pearls with fruity liquids that burst in your mouth when you eat them.

It’s also common to find jelly candies mixed into bubble teas.

What Does Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea Taste Like?

Brown sugar milk tea is also called tiger milk tea because of the distinctive look it gets when the brown sugar syrup coats the sides of the glass. It has a creamy, caramelly taste that can be incredibly addictive.

Some bubble tea shops serve a drink called flaming brown sugar milk tea. It is the same as standard brown sugar milk tea, except that it has a cheese foam layer on top sprinkled with caramelized brown sugar.

If you love creamy, sugary drinks, you’ll love brown sugar milk tea!

brown sugar milk tea on the table

Simple Brown Sugar Milk Tea Recipe

If you love brown sugar milk tea so much you want to have it at home, this recipe is perfect for you! With just three ingredients and minimal equipment, anyone can make this easy recipe for an indulgent treat.
5 star average
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Taiwanese
Servings 4 drinks
Calories 771 kcal


  • Saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Four glasses
  • Straws


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups water for boiling
  • 4 cups milk
  • Dried boba or tapioca pearls


  • Heat the water in a saucepan on the stovetop. Bring it to a boil.
  • Add the dried pearls to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the brown sugar to the water with the pearls. Boil for 5 more minutes.
  • Divide the brown sugar boba between four glasses. Swirl to coat the sides of each glass.
  • Add milk of your choice and ice cubes if desired. Stir with a straw and enjoy!


Calories: 771kcal
Keyword simple brown sugar milk tea recipe

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Final Thoughts

A traditional delicacy of Taiwan, brown sugar milk tea is now enjoyed the world over, and you can make it right in your home!

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Featured Image Credit By: Theerawan, Shutterstock


Caroline Bonin

Caroline is a former barista who loves to search for the perfect cup of coffee to sip while she writes. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her partner and their three cats. A fantasy novelist, gamer, and avid HGTV viewer, she is equally at home working in the garden or at her keyboard.

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