Incredibly creamy and sweet tiger milk tea made with brown sugar syrup and boba pearls. Easy to make and enjoy it in the comfort of your home!
Originating from Taiwan, bubble tea is a popular drink that’s like a dessert in a cup – perfect for a keen sweet tooth! And Tiger milk bubble tea is probably one of the sweetest flavors, beloved all over the world.
Brown sugar boba tea is hands down the most decadent type of milk tea, made with toffee-like brown sugar syrup. Although much sweeter than other bubble teas, this boba tea is hands down one of the most popular choices.
This tiger milk tea recipe is easy to make and only uses a handful of ingredients. So skip your weekly run to tea shops and make it at home instead!
Bubble tea comes in all shapes and sizes, like creamy Oolong Milk Tea, the extra milky Hokkaido Milk Tea or the deeply caramelized Okinawa Milk Tea. Other insanely popular flavors are Thai Milk Tea and Assam Milk Tea.
What is Tiger Milk Tea?
Tiger Milk Bubble Tea is a type of popular bubble tea flavor made with brown sugar syrup, fresh milk, and black tapioca pearls. It was invented in Taiwan in 2017 by Tiger Sugar, and later became popular all across the globe. In Chinese it’s called 黑糖珍珠鮮奶, which means “black sugar pearl milk”.
Tiger Bubble Tea is famous for its messy look with streaks of syrup. Despite its name, Tiger Bubble Tea does not actually contain any tea. It also contains chewy tapioca pearls
Tiger Milk Bubble Tea also contains tapioca pearls, which is a chewy topping made from tapioca starch.
This popular bubble tea is known under many different names, as all boba shops call it their own way. Here are some popular names:
- Tiger bubble tea or tiger boba tea
- Tiger striped milk tea
- Black tiger tea
- Brown sugar milk tea
- Brown sugar bubble tea or brown sugar boba
- Mudflip milk tea or mudflip boba
- Dirty boba
What flavor is it?
Tiger milk bubble tea boba tastes sweet and milky, with a deep caramel flavour. Its toffee-like flavour comes from the brown sugar syrup.
Brown sugar milk tea has a very rich and creamy texture, as it’s made with whole milk. It also contains chewy tapioca pearls, which adds a sweet flavor and an interesting texture.
Made with quite a lot of sugar syrup, this delicious beverage is perfect for people with a sweet tooth.
Tiger milk tea vs brown sugar milk tea
They are basically the same thing in terms of flavour. They are both made with milk, sugar syrup and tapioca pearls.
Tiger Sugar Milk Tea has a more distinct appearance than regular Brown Sugar Milk Tea. Sugar syrup is used to coat the inside of the glass, thus giving the drink its famous ‘tiger stripes’. Brown Sugar Bubble Tea doesn’t have any special decoration as the syrup is mixed into the milk.
Apart from the tapioca pearls, this recipe uses simple ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. Here's what’s needed:
- Brown sugar – I recommend using dark brown sugar like muscovado. You can also use light brown sugar, but the caramel flavour won’t be as intense.
- Milk – Whole milk works best for a creamy milk tea.
- Cream – added on top for creaminess.
- Tapioca pearls – You can use both store-bought and homemade tapioca pearls. I recommend using Wu Fu Yuan tapioca pearls.
How to make Tiger Bubble Tea at home
1. Cook tapioca pearls until chewy. Separately, over medium heat, prepare brown sugar syrup.
2. Remove syrup from heat and add boba pearls, then cover and let infuse.
3. In a serving glass, add brown sugar boba. Use a spoon to make streaks of sugar syrup along the inside of the glass.
4. Pour cold milk and add ice cubes. Top with fresh cream for extra creaminess.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Sugar syrup – the secret to a successful Tiger Milk Bubble Tea is good brown sugar syrup. Cook it until it’s thick and sticky.
- Air dry stripes - After adding it the syrup inside of the cup, let it air dry for 4-5 minutes. This makes sure the ‘tiger stripes’ stay visible for longer!
- Perfectly cooked pearls – Make sure you cook them as indicated on the pack and serve them immediately.
- Cream – Brown sugar milk tea needs to be silky and creamy, so fresh cream is an absolute must.
- Ice cold ingredients – Use a few ice cubes to keep the brown sugar milk tea ice cold and refreshing.
- Bubble tea straws – Serve with a boba straw. I recommend glass bubble tea straws as they're reusable.
- Enjoy fresh – Boba pearls go hard quickly, so enjoy your drink immediately for the best texture.
Serving & Storing
Tiger sugar milk tea is best served fresh, immediately after making. After cooking, boba pearls go hard quickly, so it’s best to consume them within 1 hour.
You can make Brown Sugar Syrup ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 1 week or at room temperature for 2 days.
Frequently asked questions
Tiger milk bubble tea gets its name from the chain that invented it - Tiger Sugar. The brown sugar syrup stripes on the cup resemble a tiger's stripes, hence the name.
Tiger Milk Boba Tea does not contain any caffeine as it’s made only with milk and sugar syrup. Despite its name, no actual tea is used so there is zero caffeine.
Yes, simply substitute whole milk and cream with a plant-based alternative. You could try either unsweetened oat milk or almond milk.
It’s typically around 600-800 Kcal. This can vary greatly according to how much sugar syrup is used. This recipe contains 598 Kcal per serving, which is at the lower end for calories.
I wouldn’t exactly call Tiger Bubble Tea healthy, as it contains a lot of sugar. Since it’s made only with sugar syrup and full fat milk, it’s higher in calories and fat than most bubble teas.
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Tiger Milk Tea - Brown Sugar Bubble Tea Recipe
Brown Sugar Syrup
- ½ cup muscovado sugar * (100 grams)
- 2 tablespoons water (30 grams)
- ½ cup brown sugar tapioca pearls (100 grams)
- 2 ½ cups water (600 grams)
- 2 ½ cups milk, full fat (600 grams)
- ½ cup heavy cream (100 grams)
- 4-6 ice cubes
Brown Sugar Syrup
- Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to boil on medium heat.
- Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the syrup looks thicker and sticky.
- Cook the pearls as indicated on the pack.
- Drain and discard the water. Pour the cooked tapioca pearls into the sugar syrup and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Cover pot and set aside to cool down for 20 minutes.
Assembling the milk tea
- Whip up some cream until frothy. Set aside for now.
- Tilt the serving glass at a 45 degrees angle, then using a small ladle drip the tapioca pearls into the cup. Rotate the glass as the tapioca pearls start dripping towards the bottom. It’s okay to be messy on this step! Use as much tapioca as desired.
- Add ice cubes over the tapioca pearls. Pour milk over the ice, about 1 inch from the brim of the glass.
- Pour frothy cream over the milk to make the drink extra creamy. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Muscovado sugar can be replaced with dark brown sugar.
- Sweetness can be adjusted according to personal preference.
- Nutritional value is estimative and is calculated per serving (this recipe makes 2 large servings) with tapioca pearls and 2 tablespoons of sugar syrup.
- Use boba pearls immediately after cooking them.