Rich, creamy taro milk tea made entirely from scratch with homemade taro boba. Made from real taro root and coconut milk, this taro bubble tea tastes even better than store bought tea! This taro bubble tea taste sweet, with an earthy vanilla flavour.
Taro flavour has become increasingly popular in Europe and America over the past few years. I absolutely love taro because it has such a distinct and wonderful flavour. From my Homemade Taro Paste, to the Japanese Taro Mochi, Sweet Taro Buns or Taro Ice Cream, taro root is perfect for a lot of desserts.
If you’re a bubble tea fan but have never tried taro bubble tea, you are seriously missing out! The flavour is not only incredibly rich, but the texture is also thicker and creamier.
Most bubble tea shops in Western countries use powder when making their milk teas. The difference between real taro milk tea and pre-made powder mix is staggering, so I recommend trying the real thing!
This recipe is made entirely from scratch by using homemade taro paste and coconut milk. I recommend making a larger batch of taro paste in advance and freezing it for later use. This way you can always have homemade taro bubble tea whenever you want it!
The taro boba pearls (or tapioca pearls) used in this recipe are also homemade. See below how to make your own taro tapioca pearls!
What is Taro Milk Tea?
Taro Milk Tea is a sweet drink made from taro root and tapioca pearls or boba. It's also known as Taro Bubble Tea or Taro Boba.
Despite being called “tea”, authentic fresh Taro Milk Tea doesn’t actually contain any tea. Instead, it’s made from taro root and milk.
There are many different variations to this drink. Most bubble tea shops use pre-made powders or tea in the composition. Whichever option you try, I guarantee that nothing can compare to taro boba tea made from real taro root.
If you do like a caffeinated taro milk tea, I recommend adding a splash of Assam or Jasmine tea to the mix. However, this will affect the colour of the tea and it will be more brown than purple.
What does taro milk tea taste like?
Taro Milk Tea tastes sweet, with subtle hints of earthy vanilla. When steamed, taro root has a natural vanilla flavour and a little sweetness. It’s difficult to compare the flavour to anything else because taro has such a unique taste!
Taro Bubble Tea can be made with either milk or plant-based alternatives. I like to make it with coconut milk, which enhances the flavour of the root. Just trust me on this one, taro and coconut are a match made in Heaven!
What makes it purple?
Taro Bubble Tea is naturally purple because taro root becomes a pale purple once steamed. Bubble tea made from real taro root will have a naturally pale purple colour.
If you want the drink to look even more purple, I recommend adding a small drop of purple food colouring or purple sweet potato powder.
Is taro tea good for you?
Taro Tea made from real taro root is a healthier alternative to most bubble teas. Taro root is naturally high in potassium and a great source of fibre. Taro is also high in vitamin C, B6 and E, and it’s thought to improve the immune system.
This recipe also contains minimal amounts of sugar, much less than pre-made taro bubble tea powder or store-bought taro tea.
However, I would stress that you shouldn’t consume large quantities or tapioca pearls as they can become difficult to digest. You can drink larger quantities of taro tea without boba, but exercise caution with the tapioca pearls.
Why this recipe is great
- Entirely natural: This taro milk tea is 100% natural, made from real taro root. No powder or artificial flavour enhancers have been used.
- Everything is made from scratch: Both taro milk and taro boba are made from scratch from natural ingredients.
- Authentic flavours: Using real taro root yields a much more vibrant and fragrant drink than using powder. This is the closest to the original authentic taro milk teas found across Asia.
- Easy to make at home: Although everything is made from scratch, it’s pretty easy to make taro boba tea at home. You also don’t need any special skills or tools.
- Much cheaper than buying it: Making taro milk tea at home is not only more delicious, but it’s also much cheaper.
- A beautiful drink: Taro bubble tea looks as pretty as it is delicious. The naturally purple colour makes the milk tea stand out, and you can have fun with boba, cream or food colouring.
The ingredients needed to make Taro Bubble Tea can be found in most Asian grocery stores. Taro is the only ‘special’ ingredient, and it is used in both the milk tea and tapioca pearls.
First let’s look at the ingredients for the taro boba pearls:
- Taro – fresh taro root is needed in order to make taro paste. This cannot be substituted with any other ingredient.
- Tapioca starch – the ‘flour’ which gives the boba pearls their gelatinous texture. Tapioca starch is also called tapioca flour, so you can use either. This can be found in most Asian grocery stores, but predominantly Chinese or Thai shops.
- Water – needed in small quantities to turn the mixture into a dough.
- Food colouring – optional, to give the boba pearls a deeper colour. I recommend using gel food colouring as it’s more intense. Alternatively, you can also use purple yam powder, just remember to add a little more water to the dough.
For the taro milk tea, we will need:
- Taro – raw taro root is needed to make the taro paste. For an authentic taste, taro cannot be substituted with something else. You can also add a little ube purple yam into the mixture to make it more purple in colour.
- Coconut milk – great flavour enhancer for taro and helps make the taro tea creamy. You can also replace coconut milk with full fat milk.
- Taro boba – I like to use homemade taro boba, but you can also use store-bought taro tapioca pearls.
- Brown sugar – needed to make the sugar syrup for the boba. You can also use plain granulated sugar for a transparent syrup.
- Water – needed to boil the taro boba pearls and to make the sugar syrup.
How to make homemade taro boba pearls
For the homemade taro boba pearls first you will need to prepare the homemade taro paste. See my detailed post on How to make Taro Paste for more information.
Pro tip: pass the taro paste through a sieve to remove any larger lumps and have smooth taro boba pearls.
Let’s begin making the dough for homemade taro boba pearls:
- Combine the taro paste and water in a saucepan. Add some purple food colouring for a deeper colour.
- Heat up the mixture until it starts to boil.
- Pour in the tapioca starch and mix until a dough forms.
- Knead the dough until soft and stretchy (like Play-doh).
Now we are ready to start shaping the boba pearls into little balls.
- Roll out the dough into ¼ cm thickness.
- Cut the dough into long ½ inch wide strips. Cut again from the other direction to make little squares (½ by ½ inches).
- Roll each piece between your palms to make the little square into round balls.
- Toss all the tapioca pearls through some extra tapioca starch to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Note: Since these homemade taro balls are made with real taro root, I recommend using them immediately. For longer-term storage, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 2 months.
How to make Taro Milk Tea from scratch
- First, cook the taro boba by placing them in boiling water. Once cooked, they will rise to the surface.
- Place the cooked boba in ice-cold water to preserve the chewy texture.
- Prepare the sugar syrup by mixing brown sugar and water. Cook it over medium heat until the mixture become sticky and thicker.
- Drain and add the cooked taro boba pearls into the sugar syrup. Cover and set aside.
- In a large glass place 2 tablespoons of homemade taro paste.
- Pour hot water over it up to ¾ of the glass. Mix well to combine and add food colouring if desired.
- Add the cooked taro boba pearls and sugar syrup. Feel free to add as much or as little as you want.
- Pour coconut milk on top to finish off the drink.
I like to drink taro milk hot, but you can also serve it cold. For the cold version, use cold water and ice cubes.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Make the taro paste in advance – this is a great time-saver when making this recipe. Taro paste will hold for 2 weeks in the fridge or 3-4 months in the freezer.
- Prepare the taro boba in advance – making homemade boba is quite time-consuming, as you will have to hand roll hundreds of little pearls. You can make it in advance and either refrigerate (up to 2 weeks) or freeze it (up to 3-4 months).
- Cook the boba right before use – this ensures the tapioca pearls have the perfect chewy texture. Cooked boba can only be kept for up to 3-4 hours at room temperature. If left longer, the boba can become too soft. Refrigerating cooked boba can also make them too tough in texture.
- Use a sieve – I always make sure to pass the taro paste through a sieve to remove any lumps. This yields a perfectly smooth taro milk tea, without a grainy texture. You can do this after mixing the taro paste with water, as it’s much easier.
- Adjust the sweetness to taste – you can add as much or as little sugar syrup as desired. There is no sweetener added to the drink, so sugar is the only thing making it sweet.
- Give it a mix - I recommend giving the drink a good mix before drinking to combine all the amazing flavours. This will also make sure the sweetness of the syrup is even throughout the drink.
- Use bubble tea straws - To serve, you will need bubble tea straws, as the tapioca pearls are too large to fit through regular straws. I really love these super cute glass bubble tea straws, which are eco-friendly and reusable.
How to store
Homemade Taro Boba Pearls
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze for up to 2 months and cook from frozen.
- Once cooked, consume within a maximum of 4 hours.
Taro Milk Tea (without boba pearls)
- Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in a jar or airtight bottle.
- Add in the taro boba pearls before consuming.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, taro milk tea is sweet in taste. The sweetness comes from the sugar syrup used and can be adjusted to your taste. The drink can be made sugar free as well, although I do recommend using at least a little syrup for flavour.
No, fresh taro milk tea is not caffeinated. The only ingredients in taro tea are taro paste, water, and coconut milk – none of which contain caffeine. For a caffeinated version, you can add in some assam, jasmine tea or oolong tea.
There is no tea used in authentic taro milk tea. Despite its name, taro milk tea only contains taro paste and milk or coconut milk. However, you can make your own version with tea. Fresh taro bubble tea goes very well with assam, oolong tea, jasmine tea or Earl Grey tea.
This taro milk tea recipe does not contain any dairy, as it is made with coconut milk. You can, however, replace the coconut milk with regular full-fat milk.
Taro milk tea can be vegan, depending on which recipe you follow. This recipe is fully vegan, as it uses only coconut milk. You can also use regular milk instead of coconut milk for a non-vegan version.
Once you have added the tapioca pearls into the taro milk tea, it needs to be consumed within 1-2 hours. If left for too long, the boba pearls will become too soft and unpleasant to eat. If prepared without boba pearls, taro boba tea will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
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Taro Milk Tea from Scratch Recipe
- 2 ½ cups taro root, peeled and cubed (300 grams)
- ⅓ cup plain sugar (70 grams)
- ¼ cup coconut cream or milk (50 grams)
Homemade Taro Boba Pearls
- ¾ cup tapioca starch (100 grams)
- ¼ cup taro paste (60 grams)
- 2 tablespoons plain sugar (25 grams)
- 2 tablespoons water (30 grams)
- 1-2 drops purple food colouring
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed (170 grams)
- 1 cup water (230 grams)
Taro Milk Tea
- 2-3 tablespoons taro paste
- ¾ cup water, boiling (200 grams)
- ½ cup coconut milk (100 grams)
- Check my post on How to Make Taro Paste for detailed steps.
- Peel, wash and cube fresh taro root. Steam for 30 minutes or until soft.
- Use a fork to mash the steamed taro into a puree, then mix with coconut milk. Pass through a sieve to remove larger chunks of taro and get a smooth paste.
Homemade Taro Boba Pearls
- In a medium saucepan combine taro paste, water, purple food colouring and sugar. Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to boil.
- Add the tapioca starch, then mix well to form a firm dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it looks elastic like Play-doh.
- Roll out the dough to ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thickness using a rolling pin. Cut out ½ inch thin strips. Cut each strip into ½ x ½ inch squares.
- Roll each piece between both palms to shape into little balls. Roll the tapioca pearls through more starch to prevent them from sticking together.
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and set to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook the tapioca pearls for 4-5 minutes. Once the pearls rise to the surface they are cooked.
- Transfer the cooked boba pearls into ice-cold water to preserve their chewiness.
- Pour the water and sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over high heat until the mixture starts to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium, then cook until the mixture becomes sticky and thicker.
- Drain the taro boba pearls, then place them into the hot sugar syrup.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, then cook for another 2-3 minutes. Use the pearls immediately for best results.
Taro Milk Tea
- Place 1-2 teaspoons of taro paste into a glass, then pour boiling water over it. Mix well to combine.
- Add a little sugar syrup into the milk tea, then mix to combine. Add 1-2 teaspoons of tapioca pearls into the mixture, adding more sugar syrup if desired.
- Slowly pour some coconut milk or cream over the top of the taro tea.
- Serve immediately with a bubble tea straw.
- Sugar can be adjusted according to personal preference.
- Nutritional value is estimative and is calculated per serving with minimal sugar syrup (this recipe makes 2 large servings).
- Use taro boba pearls immediately after cooking them.