Jasmine Milk Tea Boba is a quick and easy drink to DIY. You only need 4 easy-to-get ingredients and 20 minutes to make this delicious floral drink. It's much cheaper and faster than going to the boba shops!
Why Make This
- It's super easy to make Jasmine Milk Tea at home: 3 steps, 20 minutes and 4 simple ingredients.
- It has a subtle light floral taste that is very refreshing. Perfect for a hot day when you don't want something too heavy!
- It's a lot faster and cheaper than going to the bubble tea shop!
What is Jasmine Milk Tea?
Jasmine tea (茉莉花茶 mò lì huā chá) is made from a tea base that is scented with Jasminum sambac flowers. Thus, unlike other flower teas such as osmanthus gui hua cha, it is not made from actual jasmine flowers.
Jasmine milk tea is another name for Jasmine bubble tea, or jasmine tea that has had a liberal amount of sugar, milk and tapioca balls added to it. For other popular bubble tea flavors, click here.
Note: I am not a medical professional and this is FYI only. Please consult a qualified health or medical professional.
Consumed plain- i.e. no milk, no sweetener, no filling- jasmine tea has 0 calories. If made with a green tea base, the jasmine tea will also have a tiny amount of nutrients such as iron, potassium, zinc and copper as well as antioxidants.
However, keep in mind that bubble tea is a very sweet drink. Too much sugar is not great for one's health! Moreover, a study published in The European Heart Journal even stated that adding milk to tea eliminated some of its health benefits, such as heart protection.
You will need only 4 easy-to-find ingredients.
- jasmine tea bags: the most common is jasmine green tea but you can also make jasmine white/ black/ oolong milk tea. You can use tea leaves or jasmine dragon pearls (where the tea is rolled into tiny balls) if you wish, but those tend to be higher quality and more expensive. The copious amounts of sugar and milk bury the finer details so a tea bag is good enough! For a stronger tea flavor, use more jasmine tea bags.
- whole milk: instead of making jasmine tea with water, then adding milk, I prefer to steep my jasmine tea directly in hot milk. This creates a creamier boba drink! If you prefer something lighter, feel free to substitute up to ⅔ of the milk with hot water.
- boba pearls: I recommend making your own boba (healthier) or buying quick cook boba (saves time). You can get them from almost any Asian store or online.
- sweetener: I use white sugar but there are many variations of this drink which use alternative sweeteners, such as Honey Boba Jasmine Milk Tea. I do not recommend skipping the sweetener entirely. (If you're looking for sweetener free drinks, bubble tea isn't the drink for you!) Instead, click here for ways to sweeten your tea without sugar, such as agave syrup.
- Jasmine boba tea with cheese foam: top your tea with cheese foam, a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, a pinch of salt, whipping cream and water (optional.)
- Jasmine milk tea with mango pudding: add mango pudding in addition to/ in place of the chewy tapioca pearls
- Strawberry jasmine milk tea: add a strawberry compote base to your jasmine boba tea and use strawberry boba!
- Vegan/ dairy-free: you can use almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, soy milk etc. If using something sweet like almond milk, do slightly reduce the amount of sweetener added. I recommend avoiding coconut milk unless you want the jasmine milk tea to taste like coconut! (Coconut tends to overshadow other flavors.)
It's a simple process for homemade jasmine boba milk tea:
- Cook the tapioca pearls: fill half a large pot with water then bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the pearls, and boil till the pearls are floating over medium heat. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking.
Note: Although the pearls are said to be cooked once they float, the inside might still be hard, so I recommend boiling for another 5-10 minutes after they start floating. The time required will vary from brand to brand, the size of pearls and your desired chewiness.
Optional: you can soak the cooked pearls in homemade brown sugar syrup for more flavor.
2. Brew the jasmine milk tea: Whilst the pearls are cooking, you can heat the milk to about 175-180°F (80C- 85C.) Do not let the milk boil or it may split.
Once hot, steep the jasmine tea leaves/ tea bag for a minimum of 2-3 minutes then strain/ remove the tea bag. (Usually, jasmine tea is not steeped for longer than 2-3 minutes as it may lead to a bitter aftertaste, but the sugar and milk will help to mask any harsh notes.)
No longer or it will be bitter!
Note: if you want a lighter milk tea, you can steep the 3 tea bags in 1-2 Cups of hot water for 2-3 minutes then add 1-2 Cups of milk. (You want to use a total of 3 Cups of liquid altogether.) Remember not to use boiling water or the drink will be bitter!
3. Assembling: add the pearls to a heat-proof, tall glass. (You probably want to fill no more than ¼ - ⅓ of the cup with the pearls.)
For hot jasmine milk tea: fill the rest of the cup with the hot creamy tea from Step 2. After that, dissolve a sweetener of your choice in the tea (to taste.)
For iced jasmine milk tea: Ideally brew the tea (Step 2) 1-2 hours in advance, sweeten to taste whilst still hot, then allow it to cool in the fridge.
Right before serving, cook the pearls and assemble as per normal, but leave enough space for some ice cubes! (The pearls taste best right after cooking.)
You will need to taste again once chilled to check if the sweetness level works for you, as our perception of sweetness changes with the temperature.
Note: We cool the tea first to make sure that the ice doesn't milk and dilute the flavor of the Jasmine Milk Tea.
How to Store
Some people say you can make the tea 1-2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge. However, Chinese people traditionally don't believe in keeping tea overnight as they feel it is bad for you so I personally only make this drink when I want to drink it.
The pearls also don't store well- don't make them more than 2 hours beforehand, although you can pre-make uncooked tapioca pearls and keep them in the chiller.
Tip #1: Don't forget to stock up on big bubble tea straws! To be more sustainable, you can get reusable boba straws here.
Tip #2: For an extra creamy homemade pearl milk tea, add some cream, condensed milk or evaporated milk to each cup. (If using condensed milk, you can reduce the sweetener added.)
Tip #4: If making iced jasmine milk tea, using simple syrup to sweeten makes your life easier as you can just sweeten once, after chilling the tea.
Tip #5: Jasmine tea is very delicate- your milk won't change color much even when the tea is ready. If you want a colored drink, such as a green milk tea, you can add a little bit of matcha powder.
Best is of course subjective! Jasmine tea can be made with black tea leaves, green tea leaves, white tea leaves etc. Generally, jasmine tea from Fujian in China is considered to be of higher quality than other types.
As jasmine tea is usually made with black tea leaves or green tea leaves, it contains caffeine, but in a much smaller quantity than coffee. The exact caffeine content of jasmine tea depends on the tea leaves base used. For caffeine-free Chinese teas, click through to the post!
It is a perfumed tea with a rich floral, almost sweet scent (from the aroma of the jasmine flowers) and underlying bitter notes (from the tea leaf base.)
Regular tea leaves are perfumed by combining the jasmine flowers and the tea leaves in a machine, for a minimum of 4 hours. Better quality jasmine tea, such as Yin Hao, would require the process to be repeated several times. The tea leaves have to be refired again after mixing, due to the moisture form the jasmine flowers. Lastly, the now odourless jasmine flowers are removed from the dried tea leaves.
The most generic form of milk tea is a tea which has milk in it but not necessarily sugar- like the British afternoon cuppa, Hojicha Tea Latte or creamy Japanese milk tea. However, these days, most people actually mean the Taiwanese drink "bubble tea" (also known as boba, boba tea or pearl milk tea) when they use the word "milk tea." It is traditionally made from black tea, milk and boba tapioca pearls but you even have fruit flavoured ones like honeydew milk tea now.
What to Serve With
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Jasmine Milk Tea Boba
- 2 Pots
- Tall, heat-proof glass
Cooking the pearls
- 1 Cup Tapioca pearls After cooking, you can soak the pearls in homemade brown sugar syrup for more flavor.
- ½ Pot Water
- 3 Jasmine green tea bags Substitute: other types of jasmine tea, such as jasmine oolong etc
- 3 Cups Whole Milk If you want a lighter milk tea, you can replace 1-2 Cups of milk with hot water. (You want to use a total of 3 Cups of liquid altogether.) Remember not to use boiling water or the drink will be bitter!
- Evaporated milk, optional Only if you want a very decadent drink! Substitute: condensed milk or cream
Assembling the drink
- Sugar, to taste Substitute: simple syrup, honey etc
Cooking bubble tea pearls
- Fill half a large pot with water then bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the pearls, and boil till the pearls are floating over medium heat.
- Stir every now and then to prevent sticking. Although the pearls are said to be cooked once they float, the inside might still be hard. I recommend boiling for another 5-10 minutes after they start floating. (The time required will vary from brand to brand, the size of pearls and your desired chewiness.)
Brewing Jasmine Green Tea
- Heat the milk to about 175-180°F (80C- 85C.) Do not let the milk boil or it may split.
- Once hot, steep the jasmine green tea leaves/ tea bag for a minimum of 2-3 minutes then strain/ remove the tea bag. (I steeped mine for 5 minutes. Usually, green tea is not steeped for more than 2-3 minutes as it may lead to a bitter aftertaste, but the sugar and milk will help to mask any harsh notes. Try not to go over 10 minutes- the bottom of your pot may burn, unless you use very low heat or stir a lot.)
Assembling the drink
- Add the cooked pearls to a heat-proof, tall glass. (You probably want to fill a maximum ¼-1/3 of the cup with the pearls unless you really like them.)
- Top up the cup with the hot creamy jasmine tea from the previous step.
- Add a sweetener of your choice (to taste.) Mix well then enjoy!
- Optional: add a splash of cream or condensed/ evaporated milk for an extra rich drink.
- Ideally brew the tea 1-2 hours in advance then sweeten to taste (It's easier to dissolve sugar whilst hot.)
- Allow it to cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. (We cool the tea first to make sure that the ice doesn't milk and dilute the flavor of the Jasmine Milk Tea.)
- Right before serving, cook the pearls. (The pearls taste best right after cooking- cooked pearls don't store that well.)
- Add the pearls and ice cubes to a cup, then fill up with milk. I recommend adding the cream for this cold version, as the ice will dilute the flavor when melted!
Enjoyed this Homemade Milk Tea recipe? You may want to check out this Taiwanese Tiger tea recipe!