Boba Buddha’s Thai Boba Tea Recipe

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Homemade Thai boba tea is quick and easy. Follow this guide to create a refreshing, creamy, sweet treat like you’d find in your favorite Thai restaurant with only need a few ingredients. The combination of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and spices is truly unique. 

This bubble tea recipe combines easy Thai tea with boba pearls, creating Thai bubble tea. I like to keep a pitcher of brewed tea in the fridge to make this Thai boba tea whenever I want. When ready to serve, prepare the tapioca balls and add them to the milk tea.

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Thai Boba Tea

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


This recipe uses Thai tea powder, making it easy to get the right balance of flavors. However, if you happen to have all of the spices on hand, you can make a truly unique tea.


Units Scale
  • 1 tbsp Thai tea mix
  • 1 black tea bag (or 1 tsp of black tea leaves)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls
  • ice cubes


  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the Thai tea mix and brown sugar. Add the black tea and remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Allow the tea to steep for at least 10 minutes; Thai tea is traditionally more potent than other tea drinks. Once steeped, pour the tea through a strainer to remove the tea mix. Set the brewed tea aside to cool.
  3. Cook the tapioca pearls according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water to bring the pearls to just above room temperature.
  4. Combine the evaporated milk and the sweetened condensed milk in a separate bowl and set aside. If using different dairy, see the recipe notes below on how to prepare the milk.
  5. Spoon the cooked tapioca pearls into the bottom of a large glass. Pour the cooled tea over the top and add a large handful of ice. Top with the mixed milk. Stir and serve.
SEE ALSO:  Boba Buddha’s Coffee Boba Recipe


As with all boba tea recipes, there are endless sweetener, milk, and tea swaps. Here are a few variations and suggestions for this recipe:

  • The addition of black tea makes this Thai boba even stronger. It is entirely optional but does enhance the flavor quite a bit.
  • Instead of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, you can use the milk of your choice and additional sweetener. Try full-fat coconut milk for a creamy, rich taste. Add 1-2 extra tablespoons of brown sugar or maple syrup for sweetness.
  • Since the tea needs to steep for at least 10 minutes, you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Prepare the rest of the ingredients right before serving.
  • Instead of a Thai tea mix, you can steep plain black tea with spices like star anise, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom to create Thai boba tea.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

What Does Thai Boba Tea Taste Like?

Along with strongly-brewed black tea, Thai tea is made with star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, crushed tamarind, and vanilla. These strong spices create a spicy, robust, and rich tea.

Thai tea powders often include these spices, along with sweeteners and creamers. The sweetened milk perfectly compliments the strong tea base, making the boba tea creamy. The tapioca pearls, assuming they are cooked with sugar, bring additional sweetness and a chewy texture. The cool sweetness of Thai boba tea pairs excellently with spicy cuisine.

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Thai tea spices

Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

The bright orange color of Thai iced tea comes from food coloring. This unique color of Thai tea is one of its trademarks. Thai tea mixes turn red from the spices and added food colorings. The drink then turns orange when the milk is added. Tea shops often add red and yellow food coloring to ensure their Thai tea takes on the bright orange color that customers expect.

If you want to make Thai Tea at home, it is recommended to use a Thai Tea powder rather than adding food dyes to replicate the orange color. Here are some of my favorite brands:

Is Thai Bubble Tea Caffeinated?

Thai bubble tea does contain caffeine. One cup of black tea, the base tea of Thai bubble tea, has an average of 50mg of caffeine, depending on how it is brewed. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to swap the black tea for a tea lower in caffeine, like white tea or decaf tea.

Black tea has numerous health benefits, including antioxidants that have the potential to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Black tea nutritional information per 6oz serving:

Potassium37 mg
Carbohydrates.5 mg
Cholesterol0 mg
Fat0 mg


Sarah loves indulging in bubble tea near her home in southern Indiana. She constantly experiments with flavor combinations, but her favorite flavor is passion fruit. She enjoys experimenting in her home kitchen and hopes to one day be a pro at making her own bubble tea.

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