How to Make a Tasty Taro Milk Tea Treat

Updated on: July 11, 2023
Author: Nick
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Taro Milk Tea or Taro Bubble Tea

Taro milk tea is an Instagram-worthy drink.

With its bright purple color, it looks like The Little Mermaid’s Ursula in drink form. Unfortunately, the delicious Taro milk tea won’t give you her powers and unlike Ursula, it is slightly sweet.

Learn how to make the perfect eye-catching Taro milk tea at home and find out what the heck taro is anyway (admit it, you were just pretending you already knew).

What is Taro Milk Tea?

Taro milk tea or Xiāng yù nǎichá in Chinese is made from a root vegetable called Taro. It is like a purple sweet potato, a starchy root vegetable. Similar to a yam (or sweet potato) with its slightly sweet taste. The Taro flavor can also have hints of a nutty flavor and vanilla. It looks like a yam too with a misshaped outside only instead of an orange center, it’s purple.

This Parma Violet colored drink contains either powdered or pureed Taro, milk, tapioca pearls, and black tea. Other teas can be used including green tea, jasmine green tea, or any other kind you fancy. 

Taro bubble tea is usually served cold, and this beautiful lilac color drink is refreshing, balancing the sweetness of the Taro, the creaminess of the milk, and the chewiness of the pearls.

For a caffeine-free drink, try it with jasmine tea instead for a slightly floral and fragrant variation. Jasmine tea is an infusion rather than a tea, making it free from caffeine, so you can drink it later in the day without having your eyes sitting out of your head like Rodger Rabbit.

How to Make a Tasty Taro Milk Tea Treat

How to Make Taro Milk Tea at Home?

There are two ways to make Taro bubble tea at home, either by using the taro root vegetable itself (purple sweet potato) or using taro powder.

It's an easy recipe that doesn't involve many ingredients.

It is easier to find taro powder than the Taro vegetable, but you could try your local specialty food shops or online from specialty food stores. It is also on eBay, but it’s probably best not to get it from there.

The prep time should take either up to half an hour using the root vegetable or 10 minutes using the taro powder.

How to Make Taro Milk Tea at Home Using Fresh Ingredients


  • Scales
  • Pot
  • Masher or blender
  • Wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon or colander
  • Kettle/coffee machine
  • Reusable bubble teacup and straw

Ingredient List

  • 150g real taro
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tablespoon tapioca pearls
  • Half a cup of black tea (you can use any kind of black tea although Assam is typically used as the black tea base in bubble tea)
  • 150 ml milk
  • 3 tsp sweetened condensed milk
Taro Boba

Taro milk tea recipe - with fresh ingredients

  1. Peel the Taro and cut it into cubes.

  2. Boil the cubes in a small saucepan for 20 minutes or until soft.

  3. Mash the cubes as you would for mashed potato until smooth, pretending it’s someone you don’t like, or if you’re already Zen-like, use a blender or food processor.

  4. Add the sugar to the Taro while hot and stir until completely dissolved. Ensure it doesn’t become gritty. You can also use a simple syrup which will mix easier.

  5. Fill a pot with boiling water and add the boba pearls for 5-10 minutes.

  6. When the boba float, they are ready and can be removed.

  7. You can then soak the boba in a dark brown sugar syrup or leave it as is.

  8. Make your black tea (or another type of tea either as a tea bag or tea leaves) and mix with the Taro paste.

  9. Add the milk, condensed milk, and tapioca pearls. You can use any milk or oat milk to make it vegan.

  10. Serve hot or cold in a reusable boba cup with or without ice and enjoy your taro boba.

How to Make Taro Milk Tea at Home Using Taro Powder

Equipment for taro milk tea

  • Scales
  • Pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon or colander
  • Kettle/coffee machine
  • Reusable bubble teacup and straw

Ingredient List for taro milk tea

  • Qbubble Tea taro powder (see Link below)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp tapioca pearls
  • Half a cup of black tea (you can use any kind although Assam is typically used as the black tea base in bubble tea)
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 tsp condensed milk

Taro milk tea recipe - using powdered taro

  1. Boil water in a pot and add boba for 5-10 minutes.

  2. When the boba float, they are ready and can be removed.

  3. You can then soak the boba in a sugar syrup or leave it as is.

  4. Make your black tea (or another type of tea, either a tea bag or tea leaves).

  5. Add the powdered taro. The taro powder mix is a premixed powder containing Taro root, sugar, and non-dairy creamer.

  6. Add the milk, condensed milk, and boba pearls.

  7. Serve hot or cold in a reusable boba teacup for a rich taro milk tea drink.

How to Best Serve Taro Milk Tea?

Even when you make it at home, it’s fun to use the typical bubble tea cup. It just doesn’t seem quite like a proper bubble tea without it.

To cut down on the boba plastic waste, so it doesn’t end up in the ocean with The Little Mermaid using it as a hat, buy a reusable cup.

It not only reduces your plastic waste but it’s economical because you can use it again.

Many bubble tea kits and cups come with wide straws to get those chewy pearls into your mouth.

Local Asian Grocery Store

Taro Milk Tea Recipe Variations?

Like any other milk tea, you can also get Taro milk tea as a milkshake, taro smoothie, or slushie.

While these aren’t technically milk tea, they’re still fun to try.

The smoothie can be made with ice, condensed milk, and sugar and the milkshake can be created with Greek yogurt, milk, and whipped cream.

You can also mix it up by adding other popular toppings instead of pearls, such as grass, fruit, or aloe vera jellies. Or add other flavors such as strawberry to give your milk tea a fruity hint. 

If you’re vegan, you can substitute the milk with oat or almond milk, or even forgo the milk completely.

Where Does Taro Milk Tea Come From?

Bubble tea including Taro milk tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and has become popular worldwide. It is especially popular in America where there are now nearly four thousand boba shops with a market size of $1 billion (1).

It is typically a cold drink with either a tea, milk tea, or fruit tea base. It comes in a variety of boba tea flavors and traditionally has tapioca pearls lazing at the bottom. There are other pearls such as crystal boba and popping boba.

Taro itself has been around for thousands of years and was even used for medicinal purposes by Hawaiians who call it Kalo (2).

Taro is a perennial herb that has a good source of protein, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, and fiber.

Cooked Taro has even been shown to inhibit colon cancer cells (2).

Frequently Asked Questions

How many calories does Taro milk tea have?

A typical 16 ounces can contain 278 calories (3). When a black tea has 2 calories, you can see that it’s a lot for a drink.

It also contains 0.6 grams of fat, 68 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.2 grams of protein. Which answers your actual question: is boba bad for you?

What is best, Taro Milk Tea, using fresh ingredients or powder?

It depends on your taste but fresh taro milk tea is usually better and healthier. Powders could be pre-mixed and contain additives whereas using a fresh Taro root shouldn’t have any additives.

The powder can be more fragrant with a deeper purple color, but the root will have the natural sweetness and hints of flavor that are hard to replicate.

Does Taro Milk Tea Contain Caffeine?

Yes. This bubble tea, if it is made with black tea, then it will contain caffeine.

Although if it’s made with jasmine tea, then it will be caffeine-free. Jasmine tea and other fruit and herb teas are simply infusions in hot water rather than actual tea.

Taro Flavor Taro Bubble Tea

Bottom Line

Taro tea is an eye-catching drink that not only looks good but tastes good too. It is a staple on any bubble tea shop menu and one of the first classic milk tea flavors you have to try.

Plus, taro milk tea really does look great for Instagram!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Do not consume any type of tea if you are allergic to it. The information in this article is not intended to treat serious medical conditions. Please seek professional medical advice before using home remedies.

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