How to Make Tiger Milk Tea at Home (Easy Guide)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to enjoy tea, you should try making tiger milk tea at home. Tiger milk tea is a popular and delicious beverage made with black tea, oat milk, brown sugar, and tapioca pearls.

Young woman is holding tiger milk tea, brown sugar flavored tapioca pearl bubble milk tea

It’s easy to make and perfect for enjoying any time of day. We really love the tapioca pearls in bubble tea – they are so fun that the whole family gets a kick out of this special treat.

Let us walk you through everything you need to know about tiger milk tea and how to make it at home.

What is tiger milk tea and where did it come from?

Tiger milk tea is a type of bubble tea or boba tea that originated in Taiwan, the birthplace of bubble tea. It’s made with black tea, oat milk, brown sugar (sugar syrup), and tapioca pearls.

The drink gets its name from the stripes on a tiger’s fur, which are similar to the stripes of the brown sugar syrup on the inside of the cup, as you can see in the image above.

Other names for Tiger Milk Tea include:

Brown sugar boba tea

Brown sugar milk tea

Brown sugar bubble tea

Tiger sugar tea

Tiger boba tea

Tiger milk bubble tea

Taiwanese milk tea

This popular drink can now be found in many different coffee and tea shops around the world, including Baskin Robbins, where you can even get it topped with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

What is tiger milk tea made from?

Tiger milk tea is made with black tea, oat milk, brown sugar (sugar syrup), and tapioca pearls.

The tapioca balls are cooked in water and then sweetened with brown sugar syrup. Once they are cooked, the tapioca pearls are added to the cup of tea along with oat milk and ice.

You can use any milk you like in place of the oat milk – fresh milk or even cream can be used for tiger sugar milk tea.

You can find tapioca pearls in most Asian markets or online (I like to buy mine at Amazon).

Why We Love this Tiger Milk Tea Recipe

We love smoothies and teas here in our home, and my four little boys adore bubble tea because of the fun tapioca pearls. We use oat milk (as do a lot of other recipes) because we have a dairy free kiddo and use a lot of nondairy milk in our home, but of course you can use any type of milk you prefer.

Even though this has brown sugar in it, this tea is not super sugary and I don’t mind my kids drinking it sometimes. If I’m worried about how much sugar they’ve had in a day, I will sometimes swap out the brown sugar for the brown monkfruit sweetener, which has zero calories but still gives a similar taste.

Some delicious variations on the traditional recipe

Swapping out the black tea for green tea

This is a fun way to switch it up! Green tea is also delicious and has many anti-inflammatory properties, making it a perfect swap.

Adding fruit juices or purees to the tea

You can add any type of fruit juice or puree to the tea for a fun and delicious twist. We love adding mango or strawberry puree to ours.

Making it a slushie

If you want to make a cold and refreshing treat, try making your tiger milk tea into a slushie. Simply blend the tea with ice and enjoy (but don’t blend your tapioca pearls… that kinda defeats the whole purpose of bubble milk tea!).

Using flavored oat milk such as vanilla or almond

If you want to add a little more flavor to your tea, try using flavored oat milk such as vanilla or almond. We love using vanilla flavored oat milk in ours.

How to store and serve brown sugar milk tea

The tea itself can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simply prepare the milk tea and store it in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it. You can also make the brown sugar syrup ahead of time.

You need to make the tapioca pearls just before you want to drink the tea for the best texture. They don’t keep well.

When you’re ready to serve, simply add ice, the brown sugar syrup and tapioca pearls (if desired) and enjoy! To get the tiger effect, make sure you add the brown sugar syrup to the tapioca pearls and drag them up the sides of the glass before adding the milk tea.

Now that you know all about tiger milk tea, let’s walk you through how to make it at home step-by-step. It’s actually very easy to do!

How to Make Tiger Milk Tea

Learn how to make tiger milk tea (brown sugar boba tea) at home with this easy recipe.
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2 servings


  • Pan to cook tapioca pearls
  • Measuring Equipment


  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar syrup
  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls prepared according to directions
  • 1 cup brewed black tea use tea bags or loose tea leaves
  • 1.5 cups oat milk or any milk you prefer
  • ice cubes


  • Prepare brown sugar syrup by combining an equal amount of brown sugar and water and cooking on low heat until syrup is thick like molasses.
  • Prepare tapioca pearls as directed on package. Spoon into bottom of 2 glasses.
  • Pour prepared brown sugar syrup over boba pearls and stir to combine.
  • Drag pearls up sides of glass to give tiger stripe look.
  • Add 2-3 ice cubes to each glass.
  • Pour half of tea into each glass, then half of the milk into each glass.
  • Enjoy immediately. The tiger stripe effect doesn't last long!
Keyword tiger milk tea
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Tiger Bubble Tea

1. Cook the tapioca pearls according to package instructions. Don’t cook them too long or they could be hard. Once they are cooked, add them to a bowl and drizzle with brown sugar syrup.

2. Brew the black tea and let it cool. This tea is supposed to be cold.

3. Use ice cubes in your tea for the most refreshing drink.

4. Make sure you use a large straw, otherwise a tapioca pearl (or more) will get clogged in your straw, which is no fun!

5. To get the tiger effect, add the brown sugar syrup to the tapioca pearls and drag them up the sides of the glass before adding the milk tea.

Common Questions about Tiger Milk Tea

What does tiger milk tea taste like?

Tiger bubble tea is a smooth and creamy tea that is slightly sweetened with brown sugar syrup and has a caramel taste. The tapioca pearls add a fun chewiness to the drink and make it even more delicious. They are like brown sugar popping bubbles in your drink!

How much sugar is in tiger milk tea?

The amount of sugar in tiger pearl bubble tea will vary depending on how much brown sugar syrup you add. If you are concerned about the sugar content, you can always swap out the brown sugar syrup for a sugar free alternative such as the brown monkfruit sweetener.

Can I make tiger milk tea without tapioca pearls?

Yes, you can make tiger milk tea without tapioca pearls. The drink will still be delicious, but will be missing the fun chewiness that the tapioca pearls add.

Final Thoughts

Asian milk teas are delicious and easy to make and can be enjoyed at home. Simply brewed black tea, oat milk, brown sugar syrup and tapioca pearls are all you need to make this tasty treat.

Enjoy it cold or hot, with or without a boba pearl. Whatever way you like it, tiger boba tea with its unique tiger stripe effect is sure to be a hit. It sure is at our house!

Check out all of our tea recipes and information here!

Similar Posts