Thai Tea boba is a sweet and refreshing orange-colored drink made with a strong black tea mix, milk, and a sweetener. It tastes best with crushed ice and boba pearls on a hot day.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of making Thai tea boba from scratch. I’ll cover everything from brewing the tea to making the boba pearls. Whether you’re a first-time boba maker or a seasoned pro, my step-by-step guide will help you make the perfect Thai tea boba. So, let’s get started!

What is Thai Tea Boba?

Thai tea is made by brewing a strong black tea with additional ingredients like star anise, orange blossom water, and crushed tamarind. It tastes like a sweet and milky vanilla with undertones of spice and nuttiness.

The sweetened condensed milk and a hint of yellow food coloring gives Thai tea its distinctive orange color and rich flavor. The original Thai tea is more black in color. 

Thai tea is a staple of Thai street food culture and is often served alongside spicy Thai dishes to mellow out the heat. Thai tea can be found in Thai restaurants and bubble tea shops worldwide. 

how to make thai tea boba round and tall glass

Milk Options For Thai Tea

Make sure you use creamy milk for Thai tea. The type of milk used will affect the taste and texture of the tea, so it’s a matter of personal preference.  In this section, we’ll explore the different dairy options for Thai tea, starting with my favorite options.

  • Half and half.  If you prefer a richer and creamier Thai tea, you can use half and half. It is a mixture of equal parts whole milk and heavy cream and has a higher fat content than whole milk, resulting in a richer and more velvety texture. You don’t need a lot of this to achieve the flavor and look of Thai tea.
  • Whipping cream. For a truly indulgent and decadent Thai tea, you can add whipping cream to the mix. This is my personal favorite way to top off my Thai tea. I like the way the cream slowly incorporates into my drink, giving it a luxurious and creamy mouthfeel that will make it feel like a special treat. Whipping cream is the thickest and richest type of cream, with a fat content of at least 35%. 
  • Condensed milk. Thai tea is traditionally made using black tea and sweetened condensed milk, which is a thick, creamy, and sweet milk product made by removing most of the water from milk and adding sugar. 
  • Evaporated milk. Some recipes also call for evaporated milk, which is similar to sweetened condensed milk but does not contain added sugar. 
  • Whole milk. This is an easy milk option for Thai tea. It has a rich, creamy texture that complements the bold flavor of the tea. It’s a little lighter than half and half but still gives you the rich creaminess.
  • Coconut milk. Vegan friendly option. For those who are looking for a dairy-free option or want to add a tropical twist to their Thai tea, coconut milk is a great choice. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that pairs well with the spices and tea blend used in Thai tea.

Ingredients and Equipment You’ll Need

  • Thai Tea Mix or Black Tea: Thai tea can be made from a pre-made tea mix or from strong black tea. The Thai tea boba I make is made from a specific black tea blend called Pantai Thai Tea Mix. Alternatively, you can also use loose tea or black tea bags.
  • Half and Half: Half and half is a popular dairy option for Thai tea boba, as it adds a creamy texture to the drink. You can also use other dairy options like coconut milk or whole milk, depending on your preference.
  • Tapioca Pearls: Tapioca pearls are the signature boba balls used in bubble tea. You can find them at most Asian markets or online.
  • Sugar Syrup: You can make sugar syrup by mixing equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan and heating until the sugar dissolves. This syrup is used to sweeten the tapioca pearls.
  • Hot Water: Hot water is used to brew the tea.
  • Large Pot: You’ll need a large pot to brew the tea and boil the tapioca pearls.
  • Bubble Tea Straws: Bubble tea straws are wider than regular straws and are used to drink the tapioca pearls.
  • Whipping cream: to top the drink. This is optional!

How To Make Thai Tea Boba

  1. Brew the Tea. Start by brewing a cup of strong Thai tea using Thai tea mix (Pantai brand recommended). If you don’t have access to Thai tea mixes, you can use loose black tea leaves instead. Simply use 3-4 black tea bags instead of the Thai tea mix. You can use either loose tea or black tea bags, but make sure to steep it for at least 5 minutes for a bold flavor. Once the tea is brewed, strain it and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.
  2. Cook the Tapioca Pearls. While the tea is cooling, it’s time to cook the boba pearls. Add 6 cups of water to a large pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the tapioca pearls and stir them gently to prevent them from sticking together. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pearls are soft and chewy.
  3. Make the Simple Syrup. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of water. Heat the mixture over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool down.
  4. Mix the Tea and Milk. Once the tea is at room temperature, add 1 cup of half and half. You can adjust the amount of milk to your color preference, to get a creamy light orange color or more of a dark orange color. Instead of half and half, you can use 1 cup of whole milk or coconut milk or 1/2 cup of condensed milk. I prefer the flavor of half and half.
  5. Assemble the Drink. To assemble the drink, start by adding a spoonful of the sugar syrup to the bottom of a glass. Then, add a few spoonfuls of the cooked boba pearls. Next, pour the tea mixture over the boba pearls until the glass is about 3/4 full. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients.
  6. Serve and Enjoy! Finally, add a handful of ice cubes to the glass, and insert a bubble tea straw. Your homemade Thai tea boba is now ready to be enjoyed! Take a sip and savor the creamy texture and delicious flavor.
how to make thai tea boba tall glass

Tips and Tricks To Make Thai Tea

  • Brew the tea leaves for at least 5 minutes to extract their full flavor.
  • When making the sugar syrup, be careful not to overheat it, as this can cause the sugar to caramelize and change the flavor of the tea.
  • To get a creamy texture, use whole milk or coconut milk.
  • Don’t overcook the boba pearls, as this can make them too soft or mushy. Follow the instructions on the package carefully.
  • Brown sugar or sugar syrup can be added to adjust the sweetness of the tea to your liking.
  • Tapioca balls can be found at most Asian grocery stores or ordered online.
  • Bubble tea straws are wider than regular straws, which makes them perfect for sipping boba pearls.

How To Make Thai Tea Boba

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 133
Creamy, sweet orange drink. Top 5 drink at boba shops.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp loose leaf Thai tea mix, or 2 Thai tea bags
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¼ cup of sugar syrup (adjust to your taste)
  • ½ cup of half and half
  • ¼ cup of boba pearls
  • Whipping cream (optional)

Instructions 

  • Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot.
  • Add the 2 Thai tea bags and let it steep for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar syrup until fully dissolved. Let the mixture cool down.
  • Cook the boba pearls according to package instructions.
  • Divide the cooked boba pearls among 2 glasses.
  • Pour the cooled Thai tea mixture over the boba pearls in each glass.
  • Add ice cubes to each glass.
  • Pour half and half into each glass and stir well to combine.
  • Optional: top with whipped cream.
  • Serve and enjoy your delicious Thai Tea Boba!
Author: denthu
Calories: 133kcal
Cost: $1.95
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: boba

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 92mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 214IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg

FAQs

Q: Can I use different types of milk instead of whole milk and coconut milk?

A: Yes, you can use any type of milk you like. However, whole milk and coconut milk are commonly used in Thai tea boba to give it a creamy texture and rich flavor.

Q: Is it necessary to add food coloring to the tea?

A: No, it’s not necessary, but it’s often added to give the tea its signature orange color. If you use the thai tea mix, the coloring is added so you don’t need to add anything else. If you use black tea, you may want to add coloring just for esthetics.

Q: Where can I find tapioca pearls and other ingredients for Thai tea boba?

A: Tapioca pearls and other ingredients can be found at most Asian grocery stores or online. You can also find them at some specialty tea shops or bubble tea shops.

Q: How long can I store the leftover Thai tea boba?

A: It’s best to consume the Thai tea boba right away. However, if you have leftover tea, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

Q: Is Thai tea boba a caffeinated drink?

A: Yes, Thai tea boba is a caffeinated drink as it’s made with black tea, which contains caffeine. However, you can use decaf tea if you prefer a non-caffeinated drink.

Q: Are there any health benefits to drinking Thai tea boba?

A: While Thai tea boba is a sweet treat and should be consumed in moderation, black tea used in the drink is rich in antioxidants and has been linked to several health benefits, including improved heart health and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

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