Creamy, smooth, and light almond milk tea with boba pearls. This bubble tea is dairy-free, easy to make, and tastes amazing. Made with brown sugar tapioca pearls and almond flakes.
As a massive fan of all things bubble tea, I could literally drink one every single day. But sometimes milk can be a little heavy, so I find myself looking for a lighter alternative. Almond milk is a brilliant substitute for cow’s milk, as it’s tasty, light, and perfect for milk tea.
More and more bubble tea shops all over the globe have started using plant-based milk as an alternative to cow’s milk. Almond milk is usually a top choice because it has very little flavour and does not alter the taste of bubble tea.
This Almond Milk Tea recipe is essentially the dairy-free version on plain Taiwanese bubble tea made with Black tea and boba pearls. I’ll let you in on a secret! You can use almond milk in any of my other bubble tea recipes like Jasmine Milk Tea, Earl Grey Milk Tea, Tiger Milk Tea or Oolong Milk Tea.
Does this recipe have dairy?
The key to almond milk tea is using almond milk, which is entirely dairy-free. This means that the drink is also 100% vegan, as no other type of dairy is used.
Since this almond bubble tea is entirely dairy-free, it’s easier on digestion and ideal for those with lactose intolerance. Almond milk has little flavour, so it won’t change the flavour of the bubble tea. However, it’s smoother and less creamy in texture, making for a much lighter drink.
Note: this drink is not nut-free, as almond milk is made from almonds, which can trigger nut allergies.
What does it taste like?
Almond milk tea has a very mild and smooth flavour, with only the smallest hint of nutty taste. Although almond milk is made from almonds, it does not actually have a strong almond taste. Instead, it has a small hint of nuttiness and is very light in texture.
Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk makes bubble teas much lighter and less velvety. This makes almond bubble tea an ideal choice when you want a delicious, yet light drink.
The main flavour in almond bubble tea come from the tea used to prepare it and brown sugar syrup. Any types of tea can be used, but the most common is Assam, Oolong or Green tea.
Why use almond milk instead of regular milk?
Most bubble teas are prepared with either regular cow’s milk or pasteurised milk powder. Regular milk gives milk teas a very creamy and velvety texture. Although creamy bubble teas are amazing, sometimes a lighter alternative can be more appropriate.
Almond milk is a great substitute for regular milk in bubble teas because it has little flavour, so it won’t alter the taste. It’s also much lighter and less creamy, so it’s great in summer.
Almond bubble tea is also a great choice for people on special diets, like dairy-free or vegan. Since dairy can sometimes be difficult to digest, almond milk is a great alternative.
Why this recipe is great
- Dairy-free and vegan: Who doesn’t like drink that are not only delicious, but also healthier? This recipe is entirely dairy-free and vegan, suitable for most diets.
- Lighter that regular milk tea: Almond milk is lighter in texture than regular milk, making this drink ideal for summer. It will also leave you feeling less full than regular milk tea.
- Easy to make: This almond bubble tea recipe takes only minutes to prepare and doesn’t require any special skills or equipment.
- Cheaper than buying in store: For the price of one store-bought almond bubble tea, you could probably have 10 times as many at home! And they will taste even better.
There are very few ingredients needed to make this recipe, most of which can be found in regular shops or online.
- Almond milk – the key ingredient in this recipe. I recommend using unsweetened almond milk, so the drink isn’t overly sweet.
- Tea – Any type of tea can be used, although I personally like black tea. See the section below on how to select the best tea for this recipe.
- Boba pearls – use quick cook tapioca pearls for quick and easy results. I like to use Wu Fu Yuan brown sugar tapioca pearls because they take only 5 minutes to cook.
- Brown sugar – used to make brown sugar syrup. Any type of brown sugar works, but I recommend using muscovado sugar for a deeper, caramelised flavour.
- Heavy cream – this ingredient is entirely optional, to put back some creaminess into the drink. I recommend using plant-based heavy or whipping cream, like almond, soy, or oat cream.
What tea goes best with almond milk
Almond milk works well with pretty much every type of tea, and it can be used the same way as regular milk. Here are some of the best options:
Black tea is rich, deep flavours with hints of chocolate. This type of tea has higher oxidation levels, giving it a malty taste. Here are the best types of black tea to use with almond milk:
- Assam tea – the most popular type of black tea, Assam tea works great with almond milk. It has a rich, malted flavour that pairs well with the subtle nuttiness of almond milk.
- English breakfast tea – contains a blend of different typed of black tea, like Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan black tea. I recommend using English breakfast tea in the morning, along with a healthy serving of Rich tea biscuits.
- Earl Grey – has a subtle citrus flavour from the bergamot oil used to make it. Earl Grey tea works really well with almond milk, as it’s light and fragrant. Check out my guide on how to make Earl Grey Milk Tea.
Oolong tea is middle ground between black tea and green tea, Oolong is great with almond milk. The flavours of Oolong can range between floral and light to richer and smokier. Here are my favourite types of Oolong tea to use with almond milk:
- Ti Kuan Yi – has a very floral and fruity flavour, with hints of berry. Ti Kuan Yi tea pairs very well with the lightness of almond milk.
- High Mountain Oolong – has a milky and sweet flavour with hints of apricots. The milkiness of High Mountain Oolong pair very well with almond milk.
- Oriental Beauty Tea – has a deeper and richer flavour, with hints of honey. Oriental Beauty Tea is a great choice for a stronger brew.
Green tea is a very light type of tea, as tea is left untreated. It's a great option to use with almond milk when you want a light, airy drink. Here are my favourite types of green tea to use for almond milk tea:
- Jasmine Green Tea – a very floral and light tea, that perfectly matches the lightness of almond milk. See my guide on Jasmine Milk Tea and replace regular milk with almond milk.
- Sencha – the most popular type of green tea that produces a very fresh tasting tea. Sencha green tea is great to use with almond milk on hot summer days for a refreshing bubble tea.
- Matcha – is a type of green tea that’s ground into a fine powder. It has a very green, grassy flavour that instantly leaves you feeling refreshed. Matcha can also be very frothy if prepared correctly, so there’s no need for extra cream. Ensure you choose a ceremonial grade matcha tea for the best flavour.
How to make Almond Milk Tea
Preparing Almond Milk Tea is very quick and easy, and only takes a few minutes. The most time-consuming part is cooking the sugar syrup. If you’re in a rush you can simply replace it with honey.
- Cook the sugar and water together until the liquid turns into a thick, yet runny syrup.
- Separately, cook the tapioca pearls. Place them in an ice bath after cooking.
- Mix the boba pearls into the hot sugar syrup and cook for a few minutes.
- Prepare the tea according to the package instructions.
Assembling the almond bubble tea is really fun, here’s how to do it:
- Place the cooked boba and sugar syrup in a large glass.
- Pour tea on top, about ¾ of the way.
- Top with almond milk and add ice cubes if desired.
- Optional: top with cream and almond flakes for decoration.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Unsweetened almond milk: it’s best to use unsweetened almond milk to prevent the bubble tea from becoming too sweet. Also, this way you can control the level of sweetness in the drink.
- Prepare the tea correctly: tea is a major ingredient in this boba recipe, so it’s important to prepare it right. Steeping tea for too long can make it taste bitter, so follow the instructions on the package.
- Top with cream: almond milk is very light in texture, so adding a few teaspoons of cream on top will bring back some creaminess.
- Serve immediately: bubble teas need to be served fresh as soon as they’re made. This will ensure the best flavour and texture for boba pearls.
- Use bubble straws: whenever tapioca pearls are added, it’s essential to use special straws. I recommend using glass bubble tea straws, which are practical, sustainable and pretty.
How to store
Almond Milk Tea needs to be served as soon as it’s prepared for the best flavour and texture. You can brew the tea in advance and store it in the fridge for a few days.
Cooked boba pearls need to be consumed within a maximum of 2 hours for the best texture. If left for longer, they can become hard and unpleasant.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, this recipe is entirely vegan and dairy-free. If using cream on top, ensure it is also plant-based such as oat or soy cream.
Almond bubble tea is typically prepared with a tea base. Regardless of which type of tea you use (green, Oolong or black), they usually contain caffeine. For caffeine-free, choose a decaffeinated tea variety.
Almond milk tea with boba can contain between 400-600 calories. The exact calories depend on how much sugar syrup is used. This recipe contains 400 calories, including boba pearls and 3 tablespoons of sugar syrup.
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Almond Milk Tea Recipe
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 ½ tablespoons water
- ¾ cup quick cook tapioca pearls
- 3 cups water
- 4 teabags black tea*
- 2 cups water, filtered
- ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
- 2-3 tablespoons dairy-free cream
- almond flakes
- In a medium saucepan, pour the water and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then reduce heat to low.
- Continue cooking for 4-5 minutes or until the liquid becomes thicker and sticky, yet still runny.
- Cook the tapioca pearls as indicated on the package. Once cooked, add them into the hot sugar syrup and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
Black Tea Base
- Boil filtered water to 208°F (or 98°C). Place the teabags in a teapot, then pour the hot water over and cover.
- Steep the tea for 5 minutes, then remove the teabags. Let the tea cool down.
Assembling the bubble tea
- In a large glass, place the boba pearls. Add as much sugar syrup as desired, typically 1-2 tablespoons.
- Pour the tea over the tapioca pearls, about ¾ of the way to the top.
- Top with almond milk and add ice if desired. Serve immediately with a bubble tea straw.
- Optional: add some cream on top or almond flakes for extra crunch.
- See post for more details on black tea substitutes.
- Sugar syrup can be replaced with runny honey.
- Nutritional value is estimative and is calculated per serving (this recipe makes 2 large servings) with tapioca pearls and 1 tablespoon of sugar syrup.
- Use boba pearls immediately after cooking them or within maximum 2 hours.
As someone with lactose intolerance, THANK YOU for this recipe. I’ve made it twice already and it’s so good!
Hanelore Dumitrache says
Hi Janet, I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe! You can replace regular milk with almond milk in all my other bubble tea recipes to make them dairy-free.