Taro milk tea with boba is a refreshing & delicious drink made with taro powder, milk, and tapioca pearls. Taro bubble tea is so easy to make, and this version is much healthier!
I’m a huge bubble tea fan. I originally tried it in college on a whim, and have been in love with it ever since! It’s such a refreshing drink that is so unique and fun to drink!
The problem with most bubble teas and milk teas is that they are absolutely loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, and ingredients. They’re traditionally really unhealthy, but they’re so delicious!
So I thought I’d try to make a healthier bubble tea recipe to share with you! And oh my goodness, this one turned out amazing!
If you go to a bubble tea shop, there are a lot of different options when you order your tea. You can order it with or without tapioca pearls (also called boba). You can change the milk type around, and choose from seemingly countless flavors, like matcha bubble tea, almond, passionfruit, coffee, and many more. It can be so overwhelming!
I chose taro for this recipe because it’s honestly my favorite flavor of bubble tea, and seemed like a simple one to start with.
Taro is one of my favorites because it makes such a pretty purple bubble tea color and has a really good flavor. It’s also processed sugar-free and naturally gluten-free, too!
What is taro milk tea?
Taro milk tea is a sweet purple drink made with taro root, jasmine green tea, and milk! Traditionally, it’s made using fresh taro root that is cooked and pureed.
However, to make things simpler, many bubble tea shops use taro powder that is artificially colored purple and usually a lot of added sugar.
For this recipe, I chose to use a purple yam and taro powder that is all-natural and still provides that beautiful purple color!
What does taro milk tea taste like?
Taro is a root vegetable that tastes a lot like a mild sweet potato. It adds a little bit of sweetness when you add it to milk tea.
Taro milk tea boba is sweet and milky and tastes a lot like creamy vanilla milk with hints of jasmine tea. The tapioca pearls are chewy and sweet and they rest at the bottom of the drink. When you add tapioca pearls, milk tea becomes bubble tea.
Taro Powder vs Fresh Taro Root
The taro root has natural purple lines through it, but it is not naturally vibrant purple. I love the purple bubble tea look, so I opted to use a really natural, purple potato and taro powder to make it look really beautiful and vibrant purple.
This recipe uses taro and purple potato powder instead of fresh taro root for a few reasons. For one, it is much easier to make using the powder because you don’t have to cook and puree the fresh taro root.
And second, fresh taro root is not vibrantly purple in color, so by using the purple taro powder, you ensure a beautiful color without anything artificial. And lastly, the flavor of the purple powder is so good and tastes exactly as it should in purple boba tea.
Taro Milk Tea Ingredients
Tapioca pearls – Also called “boba”, these are what make it bubble tea instead of milk tea. It took me a while to find a tapioca pearl product that didn’t have artificial flavors or tons of added sugars. I had to go to my local Asian market to buy them, but here is a similar product on Amazon.
Coconut sugar – This is what makes the taro milk tea sweet. Coconut sugar is less processed than white sugar, making it a healthier alternative. You can use any dry sugar you have on hand.
Jasmine green tea – Make sure to get jasmine green tea instead of regular green tea. It tastes different and slightly more floral, which pairs so well with the vanilla flavor of this bubble tea.
Purple taro powder – This is the source of the purple color in this taro drink. It’s actually made from taro and purple sweet potatoes, but is really natural and tastes so good! Here’s the purple taro powder I bought off Amazon.
Pure vanilla extract – I personally love more vanilla in this recipe, so I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for each drink. It really takes the flavor to the next level!
Whole milk – I like to use whole milk because it is less watery than 2% or almond milk. You want your milk tea to be milky, but if you’re looking for a dairy-free option, try full-fat coconut milk instead!
Recipe Substitutions & Adaptations
Sugar – Any sugar will work for this recipe, it all depends on how sweet you want your purple bubble tea to be. I personally like to use coconut sugar because it’s one of the least processed granulated sugars. But you can use cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, date syrup, Stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or brown sugar for this recipe.
Jasmine Green Tea – Any type of jasmine tea or green tea will work for this recipe. You can even use decaf green tea if you’d like to limit your caffeine.
Whole Milk – I like to use whole milk because it’s creamy and high enough in fat content to make the bubble tea milky. You can use pretty much any milk you’d like instead of whole milk, but make sure it has a higher fat content. I tried using almond milk and lite coconut milk when I was testing this taro milk tea recipe, but it turned out watery and not as flavorful. Milk tea should be milky, so full-fat coconut milk or super creamy oat milk is probably your best substitution option.
Dairy-Free – To make this recipe dairy-free, use full-fat coconut milk or oat milk in place of the whole milk.
Gluten-Free – Boba or tapioca pearls are naturally gluten-free, as well as taro powder and jasmine green tea. Keep in mind that some boba products may contain gluten, so always check the label.
How To Make Taro Milk Tea
- In a medium saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Add the dry tapioca pearls, and cook per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once done cooking, stir in the 2 tbsp coconut sugar until dissolved, and allow tapioca pearls to soak in the sugar water for 30 minutes.
- While the tapioca pearls are soaking, prepare the green tea. Steep 1 jasmine tea bag in 1 cup of hot water for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the taro powder, 3 tbsp coconut sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is dissolved and well blended, then allow to cool to room temp.
- Prepare the taro bubble tea. Divide the prepared tapioca balls evenly between 2 glasses. Top each glass with 1/2 cup of the taro tea mixture and 1/4 cup of whole milk.
- Stir until blended, then top with ice.
Tips & FAQ
Taro is a root vegetable, similar to rutabaga or sweet potato. It has small, purple lines through the vegetable, which inspires the purple milk tea look of this recipe.
Yes, it does! This taro boba tea is made with 1 cup of jasmine green tea, so it has about 25-50 mg of caffeine, depending on how strong and how long you steep it.
Do you drink taro milk tea hot or cold?
Taro milk tea is usually poured over ice or blended with ice and is most often served cold. However, there is no reason you couldn’t drink it hot!
Instant taro powder dissolves a lot better in liquid than ground taro paste does. If you use ground taro paste for taro milk tea, your drink will be slightly thicker and more grainy. Instant taro powder ensures a smooth, flavorful drink!
Taro powder can be found on Amazon, local grocery stores, and Asian markets. You can find the taro powder that I used on Amazon here.
I’ve found that the best way to store this taro bubble tea ahead of time is to store things separately in the fridge. Make sure to store the taro tea mixture separately from the cooked boba, both in air-tight containers.
Store the cooked boba pearls in their leftover sugar water for 1-2 days maximum so they don’t dry out. After 1-2 days, the tapioca pearls do get dry, especially on the inside. They’re definitely better fresh!
Taro Milk Tea Calories & Nutritional Info
Total nutritional content per serving with tapioca pearls is:
- Calories: 255 calories
- Protein: 4 grams
- Sodium: 43 mg
- Carbohydrates: 56 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
Without tapioca pearls, calories drop down to 199 kcal and carbohydrates drop to 29 grams.
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
This is what I paid to make this recipe:
- 1/4 cup dry tapioca pearls: $0.16 (I paid $15 for a 5 lb bag)
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar: $0.24
- 1 jasmine green tea bag: $0.12
- 2 tbsp taro powder: $1.00
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar: $0.36
- 2 tsp vanilla extract: $0.50
- 1/2 cup whole milk: $.08
The total for 2 servings is $2.46 or $1.23 per serving!
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Easy Taro Milk Tea
- ¼ cup dry black tapioca pearls (try to find with as natural ingredients as possible)
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 cup Jasmine green tea
- 2 tbsp taro powder
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk
- In a medium saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Add the dry tapioca pearls, and cook per the manufacturer's instructions. Once done cooking, stir in the 2 tbsp coconut sugar until dissolved, and allow tapioca pearls to soak in the sugar water for 30 minutes.
- While the tapioca pearls are soaking, prepare the green tea. Steep 1 jasmine tea bag in 1 cup of hot water for 5-6 minutes. Add the taro powder, 3 tbsp coconut sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is dissolved and well blended, then allow to cool to room temp.
- Prepare the taro bubble tea. Divide the prepared tapioca balls evenly between 2 glasses. Top each glass with 1/2 cup of the taro tea mixture and 1/4 cup of whole milk. Stir until blended, then top with ice. Grab your boba straws and serve!
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Taro milk tea is a really refreshing and fun recipe to sip on this summer! Save some money and make taro bubble tea at home!
Haven’t tried this recipe yet, but we’re a no tea household. Is there a good substitute for the tea or would it still turn out well if we leave it out entirely?
Megan Byrd, RD says
You could try it without the tea! I’m sure it would taste great, basically like taro milk instead of taro tea!
Cathy B says
Megan, this recipe is so good, and so good for you! Me and my family love it, especially when we dont want to make the drive all the way to the tea shop. Thank you!!
Megan Byrd, RD says
I love this one too and yes it’s so nice to be able to make it at home! 🙂