Four photo collage showing steps to make bubble tea.

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to see the recipe.

  1. Steep tea in hot water.
  2. Dissolve brown sugar in hot water to make brown sugar syrup.
  3. Make tapioca balls.
    Follow directions on package but generally, all that’s involved is cooking tapioca balls in hot water for a few minutes.
  4. Make cream froth topping.
    handheld milk frother is my trick to making whipped cream toppings for drinks in seconds.
Four photo collage showing bubble tea being assembled in a glass.
  1. Assemble drink.
    Spoon warm tapioca balls in brown sugar syrup into a cup, add ice, then pour black tea. Pour on cream topping. Use an extra wide straw to drink. Stir before drinking so you’re tasting all the components together.


  • Do not make tapioca balls more than 1-2 hours ahead of time. After 4 hours, they’ll start to harden. The drink is the best when assembled and served right before drinking.
  • Bubble tea can be made with all kinds of tea. All you need to do is add tapioca balls to a drink and it instantly becomes boba tea! Try making it with jasmine green tea, Thai tea, or matcha.
  • If you prefer weaker tea, use 2 teaspoons of tea per serving.
  • Each serving of this recipe is 17 oz., which is a little bigger than a Starbucks grande (16 oz).
  • If you don’t want the trouble of making the cream froth, just add 4 tablespoons of half & half to each serving instead. 
  • The tea, brown sugar simple syrup, and cream froth can all be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. The tea keeps for 4 days at the most, the syrup for up to 2 weeks, and cream froth for up to 3 days. Just the tapioca balls can’t be made ahead.