How to Make Tiger Tea (Milk Tea)

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Hand me my late card because I am a new boba tea addict. I’m not even ashamed. From the first sip of that sweet, chewy tapioca goodness, I was hooked. And now I want to share my love of boba tea with the world. My favorite is tiger tea, thanks to the drizzling of sweet brown syrup on the cups looked a lot like the streaks of a tiger, is packed with tapioca pearls, caramelized brown sugar, and milk. This tiger tea recipe is perfect for when you want a little sweetness and a boost of energy. Loaded with antioxidants, it’s great for your health, too!

Tiger Tea History

In 2017, Tiger Sugar became the first bubble tea store to offer customers brown sugar milk tea in Taiwan. The syrup is added to resemble tiger stripes; this gave the store its name. The drink was an instant hit, with long lines outside the store daily. Now, Tiger Sugar has over 100 branches across Taiwan and China.

Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s and has since become a global phenomenon. The original bubble tea consisted of black tea, milk, ice, and tapioca pearls. Over the years, bubble tea has evolved to include many different flavors and variations.

Today, you can find bubble tea shops all over the world serving up creative takes on this classic beverage. Some of the most popular flavors of bubble tea include strawberry, chocolate, green tea, red date, and of course, tiger or brown sugar milk tea.

What is boba tea?

Boba tea, also known as bubble tea, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink that has become popular all over the world. It is made with brewed tea, milk, and chewy tapioca balls (also known as “boba”). Boba tea can be made with any kind of tea, but green or black tea is most commonly used. Other teas, such as chai or Earl Grey, can also be used.

The tapioca balls are made from tapioca starch, which is extracted from the cassava root. They are cooked in water and sugar to create a chewy consistency. The tapioca balls are then added to the tea and served with a large straw so that they can be sucked up and eaten.

Boba tea is often served cold or iced, but it can also be served hot. When boba tea is iced, it is typically referred to as “bubble tea”. Bubble tea can be found in many bubble tea shops, but it is also easy to make at home.

How did boba tea become so popular?

Boba tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s and quickly gained popularity due to its unique taste and texture. The chewy tapioca balls add an extra element of fun to the drink, and the sweetness of the boba pairs well with the bitterness of the tea. Boba tea quickly spread from Taiwan to other Asian countries, and eventually made its way to Europe and North America.

What are the benefits of drinking boba tea?

Boba tea is a refreshing and healthy alternative to sugary drinks like soda. The brewed tea in boba tea contains antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and protect your body against disease. The tapioca balls are also a good source of fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

What type of pearls to use for Tiger Tea?

The tapioca pearls in this tiger tea recipe have been infused with brown sugar syrup. This can be done by making the pearls with brown sugar, boiling the pearls in sugar, or slowly simmering the pearls in syrup. I’ve found that slow simmering gave me very similar results to making them from scratch, and it is easier and quicker.

The success of this recipe lies in the level of caramelization achieved with the sugar and how long you infuse the tapioca pearls. If opt for store-bought pearls, I recommend J WAY Instant Boba Brown Sugar Bubble Pearls as they soften quickly and have a texture similar to bubble tea from a cafe.

This tiger tea recipe is best enjoyed with friends. It makes about 4 servings, but can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group.


  • 1 cup black tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons loose leaf black tea
  • 1 cup of milk of choice
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • Ice optional


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the tapioca pearls and brown sugar.
  • Add water to cover the pearls by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the pearls and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the tea. Steep for 3 minutes, then strain.
  • Add the milk and honey to the tea and stir until combined.
  • Divide the tapioca pearls among glasses filled with ice (if desired). Pour the tea over the pearls and serve immediately.