How to make the best pearl milk tea

Making pearl milk tea at home is a cheaper, more convenient alternative


Irene Ezran

Making homemade pearl milk tea can be an enjoyable activity to do with friends.

Over the past few years, there has been a hype over Taiwanese pearl milk tea, also known as bubble tea, within the Palo Alto community. No matter what time of the day, students flock to stores that sell the beverage, such as Verde Tea Cafe and Tapioca Express on Castro Street in Mountain View and Tpumps in San Mateo to satisfy their craving for this flavorful, fun drink. Although the pearl milk tea sold at those stores is delicious, it is equally easy, enjoyable and much less expensive to make the drink at home with friends or family.


Tapioca pearls and wide straws specifically made for this drink can be found at Chinese specialty stores such as Ranch 99 in Mountain View.

The tea and sweeteners, such as condensed milk, half-and-half or honey can be found at most grocery stores.

The Recipe

1. The tea: Begin by brewing one cup of tea per person, typically a black tea such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast. If a cold drink is desired, steep tea ahead of time and place in a refrigerator to cool.

2. The pearls: To cook pearls, boil water in a small pot and stir in a ½ cup of granulated sugar. Place a ⅓ cup of uncooked tapioca pearls per person into the sugar water. Cook for about 20 minutes until the pearls are a soft and gelatinous texture, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Then, drain the water from the pearls in a colander and divide evenly into cups.

3. The sweeteners: To add a boost of flavor into the tea, add a sweetener such as condensed milk, half-and-half or honey.


To have the variety of choices found at stores, put the cooked pearls in coffee or fruit juice instead of tea. Use green tea pearls instead of regular. With all of these choices, you will be sure to satisfy your pearl milk tea craving while avoiding spending excessive money.