This brown sugar milk tea (also called tiger milk tea), is easy to make with just a few ingredients at home. Not only does this bubble tea taste delicious, but it also looks amazing— perfect for Instagram.
What is tiger milk tea?
Tiger milk tea is another name for brown sugar milk tea. It is one of the most popular bubble tea flavors — partly for its creamy, caramel taste and partly for its photo-worthy appearance.
It originates from Taiwan, and although most bubble tea drinks do contain tea, this one doesn’t.
The special ingredient for this drink is the brown sugar syrup, which is used to soak the boba and drip down the sides of the glass. Mixed with milk, it creates the look of tiger stripes, which is how this boba tea got its name.
Why this is the best brown sugar milk tea recipe:
- It looks fancy but it’s easy to make. This might be the fanciest looking boba tea recipe but it’s also the simplest to make.
- It can be made vegan and dairy-free. Replace the milk with your favorite dairy- free milk for a bubble tea that everyone will enjoy.
- It’s way cheaper than buying it from the store. There’s no need to spend $7 on a bubble tea that you can easily make at home.
- Brown sugar syrup: This homemade syrup is very easy to make with brown sugar and water. For this drink, use muscovado brown sugar if you can find it. If not, use regular brown sugar. You may be able to find this flavor of syrup premade, but it is much less common than other syrup flavors.
- Milk: 2% milk works best. You can add a dash of cream if you want your drink to be extra creamy. You can substitute this milk for oat milk or almond milk if you prefer.
- Boba: Use quick cooking black tapioca pearls. If you can’t find this type, cook the boba according to the package directions.
How to make the brown sugar syrup:
For detailed instructions, see the full brown sugar syrup recipe.
Heat equal parts brown sugar and water on a stove over low to medium heat (ie. 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup water). Stir occasionally.
Once the sugar dissolves, increase the heat slightly to reach a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool to room temperature before using. It will thicken up a lot as it cools. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
Nothing! They are the same drink.
No, but it is very easy to make this recipe vegan. Just substitute the regular milk for oat milk or almond milk.
- Don’t boil or overheat the syrup. Boiling the syrup or heating it for too long can create a super sticky syrup that clings to anything and is very difficult to clean. Only bring it to a gentle simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. This syrup will thicken up a lot as it cools.
- Make the boba fresh. Once cooked, boba doesn’t stay fresh for long. Make the boba right before you want to drink your bubble tea.
- Coat the boba in syrup right away. Once the boba are cooked, mix them in the syrup right away. This prevents them from sticking together in a large clump.
- The “tiger” look fades quickly. Wait to add the milk until you are ready to serve. The tiger effect will fade fairly quickly as the milk mixes in with the brown sugar syrup.