Spending Too Much on Boba? Here’s How to Make Boba at Home!

Boba is not just a drink. It’s a lifestyle. And just like every other lifestyle, it has a cost. 

Since it’s the start of a new year, I decided it was the perfect time to reevaluate my priorities. As I was conducting a ruthless inventory of all my choices as of late, a trend emerged in my camera roll and my bank statements—boba. I get boba a lot. I know you do, too. (That’s probably why you’re reading this!) And it got me thinking. How much do I actually spend on boba? I took a look at some data to find out.

The de facto standard order at every boba shop is a regular-sized milk tea with boba. I chose five popular boba chains and compared the cost of that order. 

And voila. Quickly rang up to $3.75, T4 to $4.20, Gong Cha to $4.25, It’s Boba Time to 4.50, and Sharetea to $4.75, meaning on average, a standard boba drink costs $4.29. And let me tell you, there is no way it costs them five bucks to give me a cup that’s mostly ice.

So I had a dilemma on my hands. I love boba. I really love boba. But I don’t love going broke. The solution? Make it at home—the motto of this era of stay-at-home. If you have the same dilemma as me, here’s a Milk Tea recipe that’s sure to satisfy your craving. You don’t even have to leave your kitchen. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases from the links below and it would really help us out! 

Homemade Boba Milk Tea

Total Cook Time: about 2 hours 

Makes: 4 drinks


Milk tea

Boba pearls

Brown sugar syrup 

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar


  1.  First, prepare the tea. Steep the tea bags in the four cups of hot water. Leave the tea bags in the water until it cools. While it’s cooling, you can work on the pearls.
  2.  Heat 4 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of brown sugar over medium heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Then turn off the heat.
  3.  Add 1 tbsp of the tapioca flour and stir until smooth.
  4.  Turn the heat back on and continue stirring. The mixture should thicken. Once it thickens, turn off the heat. Add the rest of the tapioca flour and mix until you have a sticky dough.
  5.  Lightly flour a flat surface with some of the tapioca flour. Knead the dough until it is soft and elastic.
  6.  Roll the dough into thin rod shapes. 
  7.  Cut the rods into small pieces. Then roll those pieces into balls to create your pearls. Keep in mind that the pearls will expand when cooked later on. 
  8.  In a pot, boil enough water for the pearls to be completely submerged. Once the water starts to boil, add in the pearls.
  9.  Cover the pot with a lid and let the pearls cook for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat, and let them sit for another 20 minutes. 
  10.  Empty the contents into a strainer to drain the pearls.
  11.  Make brown sugar syrup to add a sweeter and more authentic touch to your pearls. To do so, add 1 tbsp of brown sugar to a pan. Turn the heat to medium and let the sugar warm for a few minutes.
  12.  Add the pearls to the pan and mix in with sugar until they are coated. 
  13.  Divide the pearls over four glasses. 
  14.  Add ice to each glass, as preferred. 
  15.  Pour one cup of the cooled black tea to each glass. 
  16.  Add about 1½ tbsp of milk to each glass. You can use any kind of milk, like whole milk, almond milk, or half and half. 
  17.  Each person can add sweetener to their tea, as preferred. Sweetener options include honey, sugar, or agave syrup. 

And just like that, your homemade milk tea is done. If you have extra boba pearls you want to save for the next time you make milk tea, place them in an airtight container, and leave them somewhere cool and dry for up to 6 months. No need to refrigerate. Alternatively, you can freeze your pearls. You can cook them right out of the freezer without thawing when you finally decide to use them. 

Boba pearls recipe from Alpha Foodie.

Milk tea recipe from Healthy Nibbles.

Learn what your boba order says about you here!

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