Did you know that taro root is among the world’s oldest domesticated crops? Before rice became the staple on East and South Asian tables, taro root was the dominant crop consumed in these regions. 

Today, taro root has taken a different role in terms of pleasing the palate of not only Asians but of all people across the globe. It’s a mainstay in many tea shops as the much-enjoyed taro milk tea. Taro boba tea, or taro tapioca bubble tea, is well-known for its unique flavor and appealing texture. 

Excited to learn a bit more about taro milk tea and how you can make one at home? Read on.

What is Taro Milk Tea? 

Taro Milk Tea on a glass cup on a wooden coaster with a yellow background

Taro milk tea is a variation of the famous bubble milk tea that originated in Taiwan. 

The term milk tea is due to the mixture of tea and milk to a specific flavor. However, bubble milk teas can be served with or without tea, depending on your preference. 

Like any other milk tea flavor, you can customize your taro milk tea ingredients to achieve your preferred taste. With taro bubble tea, purple taro root is the main ingredient. It’s a tuber, similar to a potato, distinct for its purple color. 

What Does Taro Milk Tea Taste Like?

Taro Boba Milk Tea with tapioca pearls on a glass cup with a yellow straw

When consumed as a crop, taro root tastes like a sweet potato but with a nuttier flavor. 

When used as a milk tea, it retains its nutty flavor. It perfectly complements the sugar, milk, and tea concoctions to achieve a refreshingly sweet taste with hints of vanilla. It’s like having a dessert as a drink.

Are you ready to make your own taro boba tea? 

What is in Taro Bubble Tea?

Taro Boba Tea Ingredients:

Yield: 2 glasses

Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Cooking Time (tapioca pearl): 20 to 30 minutes

Here’s what you need: 

  • Green or Black Tea (1-2 bags): Adding tea to your recipe will help you get the nutritional benefits of this beverage, including a boost of energy. You’re free to choose any tea flavor. However, either green or black tea will highlight the taste of taro. 
  • Taro Powder (4 tbsps): It’s best to use instant taro powder if you don’t have time to prepare fresh taro from scratch. While using fresh ground root will give your taro milk tea that authentic nutty taste, they’re pretty hard to come by in grocery stores. 
  • Sugar Syrup (2 tbsps): Complement the nuttiness of your taro with the sweetness of sugar. If you don’t have sugar syrup, prepare brown sugar and water in equal parts. Alternatively, you can also use honey.
  • Tapioca Pearls (6 tbsps): Your taro boba milk tea won’t be complete without the tapioca pearls. If you can get yourself taro-flavored tapioca pearls, the better! 
  • Milk (400 ml): For a healthier option, you can use plant-based milk. They have the same taste, but oat or almond has more nutrients. 
  • Vanilla Extract (4 drops): Adding vanilla to your taro boba milk tea will give it a boost of the taro flavor. 
  • Condensed Milk (1 tsp): Make the best bubble tea purple tuber
  • Cubed Ice: Experience the delightful burst of flavor by adding cubed ice to your milk tea. 
  • Salt (to taste):  You can counter the sweetness of your concoction by adding salt. Add sparingly!

How to Make Taro Milk Tea

Taro Milk Tea on two plastic cups with tapioca pearls on the side placed on marble tiles

Let’s show you the steps on how to make taro boba tea!

Step 1: Cook the Tapioca Pearls.

Since cooked tapioca pearls will spoil easily, it’s best to cook them only when preparing your taro boba tea. For store-bought tapioca pearls, it’s best to follow their package instructions, so you get the best consistency for the boba. 

  • Bring the water to a boil before adding the tapioca. 
  • Make sure to keep stirring them lightly as they cook, so they don’t stick to the pan. 
  • Wait for the tapioca pearls to float before covering the pan.
  • Continue cooking on high heat for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  • Let it sit for another 15 minutes, keeping it covered to keep the heat inside. 
  • Drain the water and let it run over cold water. This will help maintain its chewy texture. 
  • Transfer to a clean pan.
  • Mix it with sugar syrup or honey.

Some choose to add the sugar syrup while the tapioca pearls are still in the pan. When you do this, you cannot run it over cold water since it will only wash away the syrup. 

Prepare the sugar syrup by mixing equal parts of brown sugar and water in a pan. Over medium heat, continue stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Allow it to simmer for at least another 5 minutes to further reduce and thicken the syrup. Soak the tapioca pearls in sugar syrup honey or sugar to allow the sweetness to seep into the boba. 

Step 2: Steep the Tea.

The length of time spent steeping the tea will determine the strength of the tea flavor. The longer you let the tea infuse, the strong the taste will be. If you plan to use green tea, steep only for 3 minutes max to prevent it from having a bitter taste. You can steep it for about five minutes for black tea to get its full flavor.

Step 3: Add the Taro Powder.

After steeping the tea, remove the bags and add the taro powder. Once they’re mixed, add the condensed milk. You can add your vanilla extract here. Mix them well. Allow it to cool. 

Note: You can blend the ingredients together if you prefer to consume it with crushed ice!

Step 4: Assemble Your Drink!

Now that you have everything ready, you can start mixing all the ingredients together. To make it the most appealing and appetizing drink there is, follow these steps: 

  • Start with the tapioca pearls, so they sit nicely on the bottom of your glass. 
  • Add the ice, followed by your milk.
  • Add the taro mixture.
  • Drizzle it with salt (if preferred).

You can top it off with sugar syrup if you want it to be sweeter. Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to use your boba straw!

How to Make Taro Powder

Do you prefer to use homemade taro powder for a more farm-to-table feel? You can easily make your taro powder. You simply have to cook a taro root by boiling it in water and dehydrating it afterward. Once it is devoid of any water, you can blend it to achieve the powder consistency. 

Alternatively, you can also use fresh taro root on your drink. Peel the taro and slice them into cubes. Boil them over high heat until soft. Blend it with the other ingredients until your desired consistency is achieved. 

How Do You Use Instant Taro Mix?

Using instant taro mix depends on the brand. It’s best to follow package instructions, as different brands will have varying concentrations of taro in their content. 

Take note, however, that instant taro mix has a more watery content than fresh taro root. They will have a more vibrant color because an instant mix usually has added food coloring. They tend to have a more delicious scent. 

What are the Benefits of Drinking Taro Milktea?

Before you drink your taro boba tea, you might be wondering, “Is taro healthy to eat?” The short answer is yes. 

Taro is a tuber, so it has tons of dietary fiber. When you mix it with tea that similarly has nutritional digestive benefits, you can expect to have the full benefits of taro milk tea for your digestive system. This will allow you to have better nutritional absorption that can contribute to boosting your immunity. 

Since it’s a tuber like potatoes and sweet potatoes, taro also has high potassium levels. Potassium contributes to maintaining good blood pressure. Likewise, taro has antioxidants that can help improve skin health and the immune system. 

However, since taro milk tea has sugar content, it’s best consumed moderately to keep other illnesses, like diabetes, in check. 

FAQs

Is Taro Milk Tea Made From Taro?

Yes, taro milk tea is made from taro. You can use an instant taro mix or prepare your homemade taro powder using ground taro. 

What Is Taro Coconut Milk Tea?

Taro coconut milk tea is another tasty variation of the famous taro boba tea. In this version, you use coconut milk instead of your regular milk. Using coconut milk adds a new dimension to the drink with its sweet and refreshing taste. Coconut milk has the same consistency as that cow’s milk. You can make this from scratch by soaking shredded coconut in water to squeeze out the milk. 

What Color Is the Taro Milk Tea?

Taro milk tea is purple in color since the taro root is distinct for this. Fresh taro root would often appear pale purple. Instant taro powder mixes usually have additional food coloring and would have that strong purple color. 

Is Taro Milk Tea Actually Ube?

It’s common to confuse taro and ube because they are both starchy root crops with a sweet taste and have distinct purple colors. Like taro, ube or purple yam is an ingredient commonly used for desserts. 

However, their similarities end there. Taro and ube are unrelated crops. You can distinguish the two by looking at the skin. The taro’s skin is brown, and the flesh is white with flecks of purple when first harvested. 

Ube, on the other hand, has a purplish skin that extends to its flesh. 

How Many Calories Are in a Taro Boba?

The caloric content of taro boba tea depends on the ingredients you add. But if you’re using the basic ingredients, a 16-ounce taro boba tea can have roughly 278 calories. You can lower the calorie count by using healthier alternative ingredients. This is why preparing your own drink is a better option – you can control what ingredients you can put as you prefer. 

Now that you know how to prepare your taro boba tea, the next best thing to do is invite your friends for a weekend of refreshing drinks and fun!