Incredibly creamy, unique and delicious Ube Milk Tea, a bubble tea made with real ube and coconut milk. This recipe is easy to follow and makes the best ube boba tea!
Ube Milk Tea, popularly known as Ube Bubble Tea, is a really popular drink that has captured the hearts and taste buds of boba worldwide. This unique drink, boasting a vibrant purple hue, derives its distinctive flavor from ube, a purple yam native to the Philippines and commonly used for desserts. When combined with creamy coconut milk and chewy boba pearls, the result is a truly indulgent and tropical boba!
Now, you can recreate this beloved flavor right in your own kitchen with my easy-to-follow Ube Milk Tea recipe. Get ready to master the art of making this heavenly drink and experience the authentic flavors of ube and coconut milk in every sip.
But why stop there? As you embark on your boba tea journey, don't forget to explore other delightful milk tea options. From the decadent Chocolate Boba to the earthy Taro Milk Tea, the refreshingly sweet Wintermelon Milk Tea, and the traditional Oolong Milk Tea - each recipe offers a unique twist on the classic bubble tea. Get ready for a thrilling taste adventure!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Unique & delicious: This Ube Milk Tea recipe takes inspiration from traditional Filipino cuisine, combining genuine ube halaya and coconut milk for a rich and unique boba tea experience.
- Smooth & Creamy: This Ube Boba Tea is wonderfully creamy, with chewy boba pearls for a delightful contrast. It's an indulgent drink that satisfies your cravings.
- Simple to make: Apart from ube halaya, the other ingredients for this ube bubble tea recipe are easy to find. You can prepare this delicious ube boba treat in about 20 minutes, satisfying your bubble tea cravings quickly.
- Cost-efficient: Buying this popular flavor from a bubble tea shop can be expensive, ranging from $6 to $15. By making your own Purple Yam Milk Tea at home, you not only enjoy a tasty beverage but also save money.
- Looks pretty: The vibrant purple color of Ube Boba Tea is visually appealing, especially when darker ube halaya stripes and boba pearls. Make sure to assemble it just before serving to maintain its impressive appearance.
What is ube milk tea?
Ube Milk Tea is a type of bubble tea made with ube, milk, and tapioca pearls. It originates from the Philippines, and features a vibrant purple color.
The key ingredient in Ube Boba is ube, a root vegetable widely known for its rich, creamy texture and the unique, slightly sweet flavor. It’s called “ube” because this means “purple yam” in Filipino.
The most striking aspect of Ube Bubble Tea is its vibrant purple color, which is entirely natural. When the ube is combined with milk, the result is a stunning, creamy purple drink. Sometimes ube jam is used to draw stripes onto the glass, which makes for an even more unique look.
Contrary to what its name might suggest, Purple Yam Milk Tea doesn't usually contain any tea, making it caffeine-free. It simply a combination of milk or coconut and ube, making the most delicious homemade boba ever.
Finally, Ube Bubble Tea features tapioca pearls, which add a chewy texture. Put together, all the flavors make a really special bubble tea drink, so it’s not doubt it’s this popular!
What does it taste like?
Ube Boba Tea has a unique, sweet, and earthy flavor. The aroma and color are entirely natural, coming from the delicious ube. Since the drink contains no tea, the taste is all about ube. In my opinion, it offers a pure ube experience.
Ube Boba Tea has a very creamy and milky taste, as the ube base is made with milk or coconut milk. I prefer making this recipe with coconut milk, as ube and coconut are a very popular flavor combination in the Philippines. And they’re also a perfect match!
Other flavors can be added to enhance the flavor, but it’s best to keep it natural for the best and most authentic experience!
Ube vs Taro Bubble Tea
Ube Bubble Tea and Taro Boba might be similar, but the main difference is in the taste. Their taste profiles set them apart. Taro has a nutty, subtly sweet flavor. Ube, on the other hand, is richer in sweetness and echoes hints of vanilla.
In general, taro root is generally used in both sweet and savory recipes, while ube reigns supreme exclusively in the realm of desserts.
In terms of color, the two are also different. Ube Bubble Tea is a deeper, more vibrant purple, whereas Taro Bubble Tea is a lighter purple.
Apart from the tapioca pearls, all ingredients can be found in most kitchens. Let’s see what’s needed:
- Tapioca pearls - I recommend using quick cooking tapioca pearls, because they’re easy and quick to cook.
- Brown sugar syrup – used to flavor the boba pearls. You can use store-bought, but for the best flavor I recommend using Homemade Brown Sugar Syrup for Boba.
- Ube powder – for simplicity, I have used ube powder in this recipe. Made from real ube, this is the key ingredient for adding that lovely purple yam flavor. It’s very easy to find in most Asian grocery stores or online.
- Coconut milk – adds a lovely tropical and refreshing flavor.
- Milk – I recommend using whole milk if possible.
- Condensed milk – adds sweetness and creaminess. Use sweetened condensed milk.
Substitutions & Variations
Firstly, there are multiple options you can use to get the ube flavor:
- Ube powder – easiest to find and shelf stable. Ensure it’s 100% ube (purple yam), with no added sugar. For this recipe, I used Giron Powdered purple yam.
- Ube halaya – a sweet jam made from ube and sugar.
- Fresh ube – more difficult to find, raw ube is the most natural. You will need to peel, wash, steam and mash the purple yam before using in this recipe.
- Frozen ube – usually found pureed, it’s a great time saver compared to using raw ube.
- Ube extract or ube paste – easy to find, but not natural. Most brand contain artificial flavorings and preservatives.
- Ube DIY boba milk tea kits – easy to find online, but again, not natural and can be overly sweet.
This recipe is very customizable, as most ingredients can be changed to suit your taste. You can swap some of the ingredients, in case you don’t have them on hand.
- Milk – can be replaced with any plant-based milk or half and half.
- Coconut milk – can be replaced with whole milk or plant based.
- Condensed milk – can be replaced with 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave syrup.
- Brown sugar syrup – can be replaced with any other type of simple syrup, homemade or store-bought.
Here are some unique ways to add a personal touch to your ube boba tea recipe:
- Tea: if you want some caffeine, steep some green tea or black tea and mix it into the ube cream.
- Whipped Cream: Top your drink with a dollop of whipped cream for an added creaminess.
- Vanilla Extract: Add a dash of vanilla extract to complement the sweet and nutty flavor of ube.
- Ice Cream: Blend in a scoop of vanilla or ube ice cream to create an ube boba tea float for a truly decadent treat.
- Spices: Experiment with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to add some warm and earthy notes
How to make Ube Milk Tea from scratch
1. Cook tapioca pearls as indicated on the packaging.
2. Separately, prepare the brown sugar syrup. Add the cooked boba pearls into the sugar syrup and cook for a few minutes.
3. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients for the milk tea, then cook over medium heat until thickened.
4. Add mixture to a blender and pulse until fully smooth and creamy.
5. If using ube halaya, use it to draw stripes on the serving glass
6. Add boba pearls at the bottom of the glass.
7. Pour ube milk tea on top and add sugar cubes if desired.
8. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream (optional).
Success Tips & Tricks
- Use real ube: For an authentic flavor, choose real ube - you can use it raw, frozen, or in powdered form. If using raw or frozen ube, make sure to cook it until soft before blending it into a smooth puree.
- Coconut milk: Enhance the taste of your Ube Boba Tea by adding coconut milk, which complements the sweet, nutty flavor of ube perfectly.
- Infuse boba with syrup: After boiling the boba pearls, mix them with brown sugar syrup and let them soak up the sweetness for a few minutes. This extra step adds another layer of flavor to your drink.
- Blend after cooking: For a creamier texture, blend ube paste after cooking. This ensures the ube is thoroughly mixed into the milk for a silky smooth texture.
- Adjust sweetness to your liking: Start with a small amount of sweetener, then taste and adjust accordingly. If using ube halaya, you may not even need any extra sugar.
- Thin out if necessary: If your milk tea is too thick, don't hesitate to add a bit more milk or coconut milk. The goal is to achieve your preferred consistency, as tastes differ.
- Decorate with ube halaya: For a vibrant visual touch, create decorative stripes on the inside of your glass using ube halaya (purple yam jam) before pouring in your milk tea.
- Serve immediately: Like other boba teas, Ube Bubble Tea is best consumed fresh. The boba pearls especially can harden and lose their pleasant chewiness over time.
- Use bubble tea straws: A wider bubble tea straw is essential for enjoying your Ube Boba Tea. I recommend using glass boba straws, which are also eco-friendly.
- Vegan: This Ube Boba Tea recipe can easily be made vegan by leaving out the sweetened condensed milk and using plant-based milk.
Serving & Storing
Ube Milk Tea tastes the best when savored immediately after it's made, as this ensures peak flavor and texture.
Keep in mind that the boba pearls, once cooked, should ideally be consumed within two hours of their preparation. In case boba is left beyond this window, it tends to harden and lose their delightful chewy consistency, impacting the overall texture.
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Ube Milk Tea Boba (Purple Bubble Tea)
- ¾ cup quick cook tapioca pearls (100 grams)
- 3 cups water (700 grams)
- ¼ cup brown sugar syrup
Ube milk tea
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons 100% ube powder
- 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup ube halaya, for decoration
- ¼ cup coconut milk, for topping
- ½ teaspoon ube extract, for extra flavor
- ice cubes
- Start by preparing the boba pearls: In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add the quick cook tapioca pearls, then reduce the heat to medium and cook as indicated on the package. When ready, the pearls will float to the surface.
- While the tapioca pearls are cooking, prepare the brown sugar syrup in a separate saucepan. Bring the syrup to a gentle boil, stirring continuously.
- Once the tapioca pearls have finished cooking and have become soft and chewy, strain them, then immediately add them to the hot brown sugar syrup. Let them soak in the syrup for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they are evenly coated.
- To prepare the ube milk boba tea, combine whole milk, coconut milk, ube powder, and sweetened condensed milk in another saucepan. Stir the ingredients together over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly. This usually takes around 5-7 minutes.
- Once thickened, remove the milk tea mixture from heat. Transfer to a blender and pulse until fully smooth and creamy. This not only ensures the ube powder is fully dissolved, but also gives the tea a richer, velvety texture.
- Optional: If using ube halaya, use a spoon to draw stripes along the inside of your serving glass.In case the halaya is too thick, microwave it 10-20 seconds and mix it with 1-2 teaspoons of milk.
- Add the brown sugar syrup-soaked boba pearls to the bottom of the glass. If desired, add a few ice cubes to chill the drink.
- Carefully pour the smooth, creamy ube bubble tea over the boba pearls, leaving some space at the top if you wish to add extras.
- For an extra decadent touch, top your ube boba tea with a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of coconut cream.
- Serve your ube boba tea immediately for the best taste and texture.
- Sweetness can be adjusted according to personal preference.
- Nutritional value is estimative only and is calculated per serving (this recipe makes 2 large servings) without any additional toppings.
- Use boba pearls immediately after cooking them.