Milk Tea with Boba is a worldwide phenomenon, but it was once a Taiwanese specialty only natives and tourists had the pleasure of enjoying. The drink originated in Taiwan circa 1980. Since then, it exploded throughout Southeast Asia before coming to the U.S. in the 1990’s. Thanks in part to the Internet, social media, and the photogenic look of black boba dots in brightly-colored cups, milk tea is ubiquitous today.
For those who don’t have a local shop or wish to try their hand at making this drink at home, the process is quite simple if you get the ingredients. Taro milk tea is a truly delicious variation that has more creamy and unctuous body thanks to the addition of starchy taro root. Taro is a purple potato-like tuber widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Taro milk tea is very recognizable for its pastel purple hue.
Makes 2 servings of Taro Milk Tea
This recipe is inspired by the milk teas from the Boba Guys, who have some of the highest-rated milk teas in the U.S. Note that this recipe uses powdered taro, but if you have access to taro root, you can absolutely use that instead by boiling the taro root until soft and blending in a food processor with the hot tea.
Cook the tapioca pearls before you prepare the milk tea. Bring about two cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt.
Meanwhile make the simple syrup by heating 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water until the sugar is fully dissolved. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove, whichever is easier. Add the honey and transfer to a bowl or jar.
When the sweetened boba is ready, make the tea. Bring the water to a temperature of 176°F (80°C) and brew the tea for 5 minutes.
Remove the tea leaves from the hot tea. Whisk in the taro powder until fully dissolved. The mixture should be a pale purple color. Note that most taro powder comes sweetened so extra sugar is unnecessary, but feel free to add more to your taste.
Add ice to a cocktail shaker and pour in the taro tea. Shake until combined and at least room temperature. Scoop in some of the boba into two glasses, followed by ice, then divide the taro tea into the two glasses. Top with the half-and-half to complete your taro milk tea.
Finish with bubble tea straws and stir the taro milk tea several times to swirl the milk and the tea together.
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