Brown Sugar Boba Milk

It’s that time of the year again when you can already feel the temperature rising. And whether you’re at home or somewhere out there, there’s no escaping the heat unless you’re in a comfy, air-conditioned room.

What do you have in mind to cool down? A quick shower? Grab an ice cream? Get a cold, refreshing drink? Ahh but if you ask me right now, I would very much love a cold, yummy drink!


That is right, cold, and yummy like the Brown Sugar Boba Milk, similarly known as Tiger Sugar, or what others simply call Bubble Milk Tea.

So, if you’re willing to have a little fun and see how brown sugar boba milk is done then why not make some? Hmmm, have you noticed the little rhyme? 😉

Originally from Taiwan, this drink has captured the fancy of many especially those who love milk tea and tapioca pearls.


If you’re hearing about this indulgent drink for the first time, you might be surprised to know it’s only a mix of three ingredients: brown sugar syrup/caramel, cold milk, and soft, chewy tapioca pearls.

And that’s exactly what we are going to do here. We’ll start by making our own tapioca pearls then the syrup and mix these together with cold milk. And if milk tea is what you’re after then just add it in.


I must be real with you and admit it’s not as easy as the other recipes I’ve shared previously. This is my third attempt at making tapioca pearls and while I’m happy with the outcome, I know you’ll agree it can be improved further.

Anyhow, I hope you find this recipe doable and delicious. I’ll be more than happy if you get it right on your first try. The tapioca pearl recipe is adapted from Oven Fresh by Christine. I have also written down some notes if you encounter issues like mine.

Overall, I have truly enjoyed it, especially the way my tapioca pearls have turned out – soft and chewy. Want to give this sago? Oops, a go?!  🙂

How To Make Brown Sugar Boba Milk

Brown Sugar Boba Milk

A satisfying cold drink with soft and chewy boba pearls in brown sugar syrup and milk. Option to add-in tea is great, too, for variety of flavour.
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4


Homemade Boba Pearls

  • 1/2 cup (50 g) dark brown sugar or muscovado
  • 1/3 cup (70 ml) water
  • 1 cup (100 g) tapioca flour/tapioca starch, plus 2 tbsp or more for coating, and when needed to adjust the dough

Brown Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup (100 g) dark brown sugar or muscovado, plus 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup (350 ml) water

Boba Milk Tea

  • milk of choice (cow's milk, soy milk, etc.)
  • tea
  • ice cubes


Homemade Boba Pearls

  • Place 1/3 cup water and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar in saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves over low heat and allow to boil.
  • Once it boils, stir in 1 tbsp tapioca flour and combine. Keep stirring and let the mixture slightly thicken.
  • Turn off or remove from the fire and add the remaining tapioca flour. Stir until well incorporated. The mixture could be very sticky.
  • Knead the mixture/dough until smooth. If the dough is gummy or has glue-like consistency, add more tapioca flour in small amounts. Do this one at a time. Note 1
  • Divide the dough into 4 and form into long logs. Get one and cut into small cubes. Cover the rest of the dough with cling wrap/plastic. Repeat the process.
  • Shape the cube into pearl using both your palms. You may also put 2-3 cubes on a flat surface and shape into round ones against your palm. Note 2
  • Place the pearls in a bowl with 1 tbsp of tapioca flour and shake to coat to prevent from sticking together. Do this a few times or as needed.
  • Remove excess flour from the pearls. Boil 6 cups of water and add the boba pearls. Stir and cook for 15 mins.
  • Once cooked, remove from the pot and place the boba pearls in a bowl of ice cold water.

Brown Sugar Syrup

  • Combine the sugars and water in a large pot. Stir and bring to a boil over low-medium heat.
  • Stir in the boba pearls and cook for 15 - 20 mins. Lower the heat when it becomes thick and syrupy. Check for doneness. The cooked pearls should be soft and chewy.

Option 1: Brown Sugar Boba Milk (without tea)

  • Add 3 - 4 tbsp boba pearls in a tall glass or divide into 4 glasses. Tip the glass and rotate until the glass is coated with syrup. This will create the appealing tiger-stripes look around your glass, hence the name Tiger Sugar.
  • Add ice cubes, if desired.
  • Add 3/4 cup of cold milk to each glass. Note 3

Option 2: Brown Sugar Milk Tea/Tiger Sugar Milk Tea

  • Add 3 - 4 tbsp boba pearls in a tall glass or divide into 4 glasses. Tip the glass and rotate until the glass is coated with syrup.
  • Add ice cubes, if desired.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of tea (or according to preference).
  • Add 1/2 cup of cold milk (or more if preferred).


Note 1 If the mixture has a glue-like consistency, add more tapioca flour in small amounts until you have a dough you can work with. That was the adjustment I made and I was glad it worked.
In some cases, the dough became too dry or crumbly. People who had this issue suggested to add a bit of water until you get a better texture.
Note 2 It's OK if the pearls aren't perfectly round.
Note 3 You can add more milk if you prefer.