June 12, 2014

authentic taiwan milk tea recipe

Raise your hand if you are addicted to milk tea.

Yes, I see you. And you, and you. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, I’m not sure if you should: It’s very habit-forming, and can be pretty expensive to go out and buy. When I was ten, I remember a D.A.R.E. officer telling us that some people were so addicted to cigarettes that they would would smoke a pack a day, and at $3.50/pack, that came out to over a thousand dollars a year! My jaw dropped. A THOUSAND BUCKS TO KILL YOURSELF?!

Well, my boba-loving friends, sometimes I wonder if we’re in the same boat. Instead of cigarettes, it’s milk tea… and instead of cancer, it’s diabetes or obesity or something. But the $3.50 price tag sounds about right, and I’m willing to bet there are some of you who, if you really thought about it, guzzle down this frothy liquid almost daily. Some of you even get it twice in a day sometimes:once after lunch, and again that evening when a friend texts to see if you’re free. Oh… well… for the sake of hanging out. Yes, yes. I suppose I will have to just get another one… *giddy laughter inside*.

How did I know about that? Yes, it’s me too.

This is how I came to realize that I was addicted to milk tea. Now, addressing the addiction is probably the heart of the matter, but I’m not ready for that yet, so until then, I will merely search for a way to minimize the cost of it: MAKE IT YOSELF!authentic taiwan milk tea

I’ve tried, JoEllen, I’ve tried! It’s just not the same. It doesn’t taste as good.

Yes, I hear you. I, too, have been trying for the last 15 years to nail down the perfect milk tea recipe myself, to little avail. As the options of milk tea shops keep expanding, so my milk tea taste buds keep getting refined. I have never been able to make a satisfying cup of milk tea to adequately stave off the next milk tea run… until now.

My faithful mommy group has come through for me once again. What does milk tea have to do with mommy-ing, you ask? Um… Milk tea = happy mom. Happy mom = happy family…?

When someone posed the question about making milk tea at home, not only did a whole bunch of people start following the conversation (literally, they just commented with “following” to make sure they were sent all the replies from other comments), but others shared useful tidbits! One was this youtube video:

If you’re not up for a six-minute video, you can jump straight to the recipe below. I’ve tried three versions: Lipton decaffeinated tea, Earl Grey tea, and the Red Rose Tea that was recommended in the video. The Red Rose Tea turned out the best and was definitely satisfactory in quenching my milk tea thirst! I’ve tried it with various combinations of brown and cane sugar, and couldn’t really tell the difference, so I think you’re okay either way on that. Also, I like to chill my sweetened tea before mixing it with the creamer and ice– it gets less watery that way.

11/18/15 Update: For green milk tea, I plan to try out Possmei Jasmine Green Tea, which I saw the workers at Tous Le Jour mixing up. Will post a recipe after I try it!

Last week, I made a big batch of milk tea for friends. I started with a big pot of tea (edit: I used the recipe below, and multiplied the proportions by ~10):

making a big batch of taiwan milk tea

After steeping, the tea should be as dark as black coffee:

make your own taiwan milk tea

Shake it with ice and creamer, and you’re done!

make your own taiwan milk tea 2

We had a bunch of friends over, so I set up a milk tea station with directions so they could each shake up their own beverage:

Milk Tea Station

That worked out pretty well, but a couple days ago, I made another big batch and decided to just just whir everything together in a Vitamix and served it out of a pitcher. It was just as good (and a lot less work).

pitcher of taiwan milk tea

Several of my friends with highly discriminating milk tea palettes gave me the “It’s legit!” on this round of taste tests, so it is now post-worthy. Here you go. Be sure to use 8 ounces of water per serving to steep your tea– this is not the time to stretch your dollar (or cents). Watery milk tea is not nearly as satisfying!

I’ll really have to control myself so my body doesn’t suffer from this dangerous recipe discovery– I’m pretty sure I consume enough sugar as it is! I, for one, am content to end my milk tea recipe search here. Perhaps now you can, too!


Taiwan Milk Tea Recipe
Makes 1 serving of milk tea



  1. Steep tea bags in 8 oz. hot water for ~5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add cane sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. Edit 11/18/15: After steeping for 5 minutes, stir, and then let steep for 5 more minutes. This gives more tea flavor, which I like.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with 1/2 cup ice and creamer.
  3. Pour tea into shaker and shake until outside of shaker is cold. Before sealing the lid onto your shaker, you might want to stir the liquid about in the ice a bit first to cool down the tea. Pour into glass and enjoy with a straw!

If you want an even more pronounced tea flavor, then follow these directions:

  1. Steep tea bags in 8 oz. hot water for ~5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add cane sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.
  2. Chill sweetened tea in refrigerator until cold.
  3. Fill a cocktail shaker with 2 cubes of ice and creamer.
  4. Pour tea into shaker and shake until outside of shaker is cold. Pour into glass and enjoy with a straw!

3/3/2016 Edit: I just tried making Mango Milk Tea by using Mango Ceylon tea bags instead- SO GOOD!



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64 responses to “Taiwan Milk Tea Recipe”

  1. Evalice says:

    I’m confused. Why does the recipe you give say you need two bags of the tea? Do you mean two tea bags or two big bags of the actual tea bags? And the picture you used in the article had much more than 2 bags

    • joellen says:

      Apologies! I just re-read my post and I can totally see your confusion! The recipe I shared is for *one 8 oz. cup* of tea. I don’t think I took many pictures when I made that one cup of tea, so I used photos from when I made a huge batch for friends. I will edit the recipe to be more clear!

  2. Crys says:

    My bubble tea place closed down on my birthday last year. So this is a great recipe for my milk tea fix 😍😍 now I just need to get some pearls

  3. Brooke says:

    Did you ever test out the green milk tea recipe?

  4. David says:

    Hi Joellen, I just found your recipe and followed it to a ‘t’. Just like the milk tea I’ve had in Arcadia, Temple City, San Gabriel, Alhambra, and Pasadena! Amazing, thank you for providing this to the interwebz!

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