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Taro Milk Tea 2 Ways (with Fresh Taro or Powder)

You can make the widely popular taro milk tea right at home using either of my two easy methods. Sipping a sweet, refreshing glass is delicious, fun, and a treat the whole family will enjoy.

Taro milk tea in a glass

Bubble tea has become a pretty popular drink around the world in recent years, so odds are that you’ve tried, or at least seen it. For myself, the first time I tried it was actually in the most traditional place possible when we were on a family trip to Taiwan.

There’s nothing like the authentic thing, and all the amazing varieties out there made it fun to try a new one almost every day. My entire family loved them all, from the fruity ones, the coffee-inspired ones, and of course, fresh taro milk tea.

Sweet and fresh taro bubble tea  overhead

Back at home I really wanted to be able to capture a bit of our trip’s flavors. Once I learned more about taro root and how to cook it, I was ready to make my own version of boba tea. I’ve since discovered two ways that we enjoy making it and I’m excited to share them both with you.

Taro Bubble Tea Two Ways

By far my preferred way to make taro boba tea is by using my homemade taro paste. It’s really easy to make with the fresh root, but can be even made quicker if you find the pre-mashed and frozen root at a local Asian market.

The process of making fresh taro milk tea

Of course, sometimes using taro powder is quicker when you get that craving. I’ve shared how to make it both ways so you can have a glass whenever and however you like.

I do want to note that the color will be very different depending on the method you choose. The powder contains dyes that give you the vibrant purple drink you may be familiar with.

Those made with fresh paste will be much lighter, almost pale pink or slightly lavender. If you really want that fresh flavor, but the color too, you can include sweet potato or ube powder to achieve that.

Ingredients

The only difference between the two methods is where the taro flavor comes from. Otherwise, you’ll use the same basic ingredients. You’ll also need to prepare the tapioca balls and syrup to make it a truly authentic drink.

  • Dried tapioca pearls – There are many brands and they’re available at most grocery stores.
  • Brown sugar – This is for making an essential, simple syrup for tapioca pearls.
  • Water – Necessary for making the syrup for tapioca and brewing green tea.
  • Taro Paste or Taro Powder – Make your own paste or buy the powder, whichever you prefer.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – If you’re using my homemade paste, you may not need much of this, but it is key for sweetening the overall drink, so you can adjust it based on your taste.
  • Milk – I prefer non-dairy milk, but you can use whatever you like.
  • Green tea bag – This is optional. Many milk tea recipes don’t use it so you can make it to your preference. I leave it out when preparing this for my kids.
  • Purple sweet potato or ube powder – Another optional ingredient, only needed for the color if you’re using the fresh paste and want that purple hue.
  • Ice – This is just for assembling the final drink.

Instructions

There are two parts to making the perfect glass of taro bubble tea and I’ll walk you through both.

This recipe is written for one large glass, so feel free to double or triple it if you’re making it for more people. Since it’s traditionally served in large cups, I’ve kept it that way. You’ll want a 14-16 ounce glass to assemble everything.

Make the Tapioca Pearls

Before you start on the drink, you’ll need to get the tapioca pearls ready to go. The process is going to depend largely on the type and brand you have. There are instant tapioca pearls that will be ready quickly, but most need to be boiled and soaked to achieve the right texture.

The process usually begins with boiling the dried pearls for 20 to 30 minutes, then removing them from the heat to soak, covered, for about 30 more minutes. Your brand may be ready after that, while others will need the whole process repeated.

Tapioca pearls in syrup on a spoon

Once they’re hydrated and ready, you’ll also need to make a syrup, otherwise they’ll have no real flavor and will become sticky. Combine the brown sugar and water and heat it gently until the sugar is dissolved, then stir drained tapioca pearls into it and let them soak for an hour.

I should also mention that I personally recommend using them the same day they’re prepped. Technically they may be good to eat for longer, but the texture becomes less tender and tougher over time.

Prepare the Tea

Once you have the pearls ready, you can whip together a glass of taro milk tea quickly. Start by preparing the green tea if you’re using it. I let it steep in hot water for 5 minutes, then remove the bag and add the brewed tea to the blender.

The process of blending taro boba tea

Next, add in either the fresh taro paste or taro powder and both milks. If you’re using the sweet potato powder, add it now. Blend until everything is creamy.

The process of blending fresh taro tea with purple sweet potato needed for the color

All that’s left is to add tapioca pearls to your glass, top them with ice, and pour the milk tea over top. With that, you’ll have a large, delicious sweet glass of taro bubble tea to enjoy right at home.

Three ways of cooking taro boba tea
From left: 1. Milk tea with fresh taro without coloring. 2. Fresh taro bubble tea with purple coloring. 3. Milk tea made with taro powder.

It’s such a fun treat and I love making it for my family so we can ‘revisit’ our time in Taiwan and enjoy a reminder of the flavors we loved while there. I hope you have fun making this, and be sure to check out my other sweet drinks while you’re here.

Taro bubble tea featured image

Taro Milk Tea 2 Ways (with Fresh Taro or Powder)

This taro bubble tea recipe features two ways to make the iconic drink – with fresh cooked taro root (or taro paste) and taro powder. It's really easy to prepare both of them!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 1 large glass
Calories: 481kcal
Author: Jovita | Yummy Addiction

Ingredients

For the tapioca pearls (boba):

  • 2/3 cup dried tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 water

For the fresh taro milk tea:

  • 1/2 cup taro paste
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (for vegan use condensed coconut milk)
  • 1 cup milk (I used plant based milk)
  • 1 green tea bag (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons purple sweet potato powder , for purple color (optional)
  • 1/2 cup ready-to-use tapioca pearls
  • ice cubes

For the powdered taro milk tea:

  • 1 green tea bag
  • 2 tablespoons taro powder
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup milk (I used plant based milk)
  • 1/2 cup ready-to-use tapioca pearls
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  • Prepare the boba. Start by cooking the dried tapioca pearls according to your package directions. Usually, you have to drop the pearls into boiling water and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Then, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for another 30 minutes. At this point, the pearls from some brands will be ready while for other ones you will have to repeat the cycle (cook 30 minutes, then let rest for 30 minutes). There also exist instant tapioca pearls that are ready faster.
  • Tapioca pearls are usually tasteless so we need to prepare a syrup for them. The syrup also helps to avoid the pearls sticking to each other. Combine the brown sugar and water in a saucepan and heat for a couple of minutes over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Don't simmer. Drain the boba and soak them in the syrup for 1hour.

Fresh taro boba tea.

  • (Optional) If using, prepare the tea by brewing it in 1/2 cup of hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes, remove the tea bag, and set aside.
  • Combine the taro paste, condensed milk, milk, green tea (if using), and purple sweet potato powder (if using) in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add the soaked tapioca pearls to a glass, top with some ice, and pour in the blended taro milk.

Powdered taro boba tea.

  • Prepare the tea by brewing it in 1/2 cup of hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes, remove the tea bag, and set aside. Let it cool.
  • In a blender, combine the taro powder, condensed milk, milk, and tea and blend until smooth.
  • Add the soaked tapioca pearls to a glass, top with ice, and pour in the blended taro milk.

NOTES

  • The amount of condensed milk depends on the sweetness of your taro paste and taro powder. My version of taro paste is quite sweet so I used less condensed milk.
  • Tea is not always added to the taro milk tea(even though it’s called “tea”) so I left it as optional. For example if doing this drink for kids, the version without tea would probably suit them better.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 100.7g | Protein: 11.7g | Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 17.9mg | Sodium: 170mg | Sugar: 35.3g
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: asian
Keyword: boba, tapioca pearls, taro bubble tea
Nutrition Facts
Taro Milk Tea 2 Ways (with Fresh Taro or Powder)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 481 Calories from Fat 32
% Daily Value*
Fat 3.6g6%
Cholesterol 17.9mg6%
Sodium 170mg7%
Carbohydrates 100.7g34%
Sugar 35.3g39%
Protein 11.7g23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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