Tiger Milk Tea

Are you a tea-lover wanting to try something new and exciting? Do you want to learn how to craft your own unique bubble tea concoction at home? Then, you absolutely must try making tiger milk tea! The delicious boba drink is flavored with brown sugar syrup and is known to be incredibly sweet and rich! Indulge your senses with this decadent beverage!
Tiger Milk Tea pinit

About This Tiger Milk Tea Recipe

Tiger milk tea is a beloved beverage that originates from Taiwan. Today, it has become an increasingly popular favorite amongst tea enthusiasts! This unique tea’s distinguishing feature is the “tiger” patterns that caramel syrup creates when blended with the other ingredients.

The milky texture of the tea makes it similar to traditional bubble tea, while its origins liken it more closely to tapioca-flavored teas like Boba or Oolong.

This delicious concoction combines creamy milk with fragrant brown sugar syrup for a truly unique flavor experience. Although admittedly, it is incredibly sweet, the tapioca pearls prove to be a delightful addition that is sure to give your taste buds a treat. On particularly hot days, there’s no better way to cool off than sipping on a cup of this irresistible beverage.

And don’t let the name fool you — this drink doesn’t have any tea! That’s right, even though it has a really awesome name, tiger milk tea is made with just milk, sugar syrup, and tapioca pearls.

Prepared from tapioca starch, the pearls add an interesting texture that you won’t find in your regular cup of tea. It makes this beverage stand out among all the other drinks.

So, if you haven’t tried it yet, give tiger milk tea a chance — you won’t regret it!

Tiger Milk Tea

What You Need for This Tiger Milk Tea Recipe

Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Muscovado Sugar: Muscovado has a deep color and a unique and intense toasty-buttery taste, unlike anything you have ever tasted before. Unlike other sugars, this one contains natural minerals from the soil and remains unrefined, giving it its distinctive flavor and making it perfect for baking or sweetening your favorite beverages.
  • Brown Sugar Tapioca Pearls: The sweet and chewy texture of brown sugar tapioca pearls is what makes them so popular among those with a sweet tooth. The slightly caramelized flavor from the brown sugar complements the mild taste of the tapioca, which appeals to adults and children alike. Not to mention their delightfully fun texture! Rich in carbohydrates, these brown sugar tapioca pearls are extremely comforting as a snack or an ingredient for many popular drinks such as bubble tea.
  • Milk: I’m all about making life a little bit more luxurious. So, when it comes to the milk in this recipe, there’s no better way than full fat. Its thick creaminess gives me so much pleasure; it’s like taking a sip of happiness! Full-fat milk has a rich flavor that will make you feel energized for the day ahead!
  • Heavy Cream: It is the ultimate dessert ingredient! Spooning out some heavy cream on top of this drink will instantly upgrade it!
  • Ice Cubes: The ice cubes help keep the drink cold without watering down the flavor.

Tiger Milk Tea

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Muscovado Sugar: Maple syrup or honey are popular substitutes for muscovado sugar because of their flavor, but both can add more moisture and sweetness than the original ingredient. You may also use light brown sugar, but it doesn’t have the same depth of molasses flavors that muscovado has. Agave nectar is also an excellent substitute, as it’s quite sweet without having any strong flavors like other natural sweeteners do. Coconut sugar might be worth trying, too — it has a mild caramel flavor and is less processed than other types of sugar.

Tiger Milk Tea


How to store tiger milk tea?

Tiger milk tea is to be enjoyed when it’s fresh. For this reason, I recommend always making tiger milk tea a few minutes before drinking it. This gives the sugar syrup “tiger stripes” enough time to settle nicely around the cup, but not too long as they tend to dissipate quickly. Enjoying a cup of tiger milk tea that has been freshly prepared is always a special experience!

What does this tiger milk tea taste like?

Tiger milk tea has a unique taste that’s unlike any other type of tea. It typically starts off sweet, with a deep caramel flavor, and has a savory twist at the end. The flavor is often described as a mix between cocoa and oolong tea, but it has its own distinctive taste.

Many people enjoy the creamy addition the milk gives to the tiger milk tea, which makes it even more flavorful! Whether you’re a fan of sweet or savory drinks, it’s worth giving tiger milk tea a try. Its one-of-a-kind flavor will keep you coming back for more!

Can I make vegan tiger milk tea?

Yes, you can make a vegan version of the tiger milk tea with a few simple swaps and still keep all the flavor. All it takes is a plant-based milk substitute, such as cashew or oat milk. You can also use agave syrup or a non-dairy creamer instead of heavy cream for sweetness and creaminess. Garnish with coconut flakes or vegan Boba pearls to really take your tiger milk tea up a notch!

Tiger Milk Tea

Tiger Milk Tea

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 40 min Rest Time 20 min Total Time 1 hr 5 mins


With its creamy, rich, and decadent flavor profile, this tiger milk tea is perfect if you’re up for an indulgent treat!

Yield: 2 large servings


For the brown sugar syrup:

For the tapioca pearls:

To assemble the tea:

How To Make Tiger Milk Tea Step By Step

  1. To make the brown sugar syrup, place the water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 1
  2. Once it begins to bubble, bring down the heat to low, and let it simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until the syrup looks sticky and thicker.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 2
  3. Refer to the pack to cook the tapioca pearls — or bring the water to a boil, add the pearls, and wait for them to float. Once all the pearls float, reduce the heat and let them simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat, cover it with the lid, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 3
  4. Drain and discard the water, add the cooked tapioca pearls to the brown sugar syrup and cook on low heat for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 4
  5. Whip up the heavy cream until frothy, then set aside.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 5
  6. To assemble the milk tea, tip the glass at an approximately 45° angle and drip the tapioca pearls into the glass using a spoon or a small ladle. Swivel the glass around while dripping the tapioca pearls to create the “tiger” patterns. You can add as many tapioca pearls as you wish.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 6
  7. Add the ice cubes over the pearls and add the milk, leaving about 2.5 cm / 1 inch from the brim of the glass.

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 7
  8. Spoon frothy cream over the milk, and serve immediately!

    Tiger Milk Tea Recipe Step 8


  • The secret to getting the syrup just right lies in its consistency — you need the syrup to be thick and have a slight stickiness to get that signature flavor. To craft this delicious syrup, cook the sugar and water slowly until it has reduced to the desired viscosity. But be careful to keep it from boiling, or you’ll end up with a syrup that’s too thick and won’t work quite as well!
  • Boba has become an iconic part of many people’s diets, and the experience can be ruined if the tapioca pearls aren’t cooked to perfection. While they should definitely have a chewy texture, they shouldn’t end up becoming too tough or hard.
  • It's best to enjoy while fresh to prevent the tapioca pearls from going rock-hard. So, pay special attention to how you prepare your boba — otherwise, you might find yourself with some unpleasantly crunchy surprise when drinking bubble tea.
  • One thing that makes this type of bubble tea special is its creamy and silky texture. It’s important not to skip the heavy cream when making tiger milk tea! To achieve the full-bodied flavor and mouthfeel that this beverage has come to be known for, use a generous helping of heavy cream — trust me, it’ll be worth it.
  • Bubble tea, often consisting of tapioca pearls, ice, and a variety of syrups and liquids, is not complete without one very important addition: boba straws. These straws are popular because they are wide enough to allow the aforementioned bubble tea additions to fit through them.