Today we’re so excited to introduce you to tiger milk tea and show you how easy it is to make tiger milk tea or tiger boba at home. You only need three ingredients to make this homemade bubble tea recipe with its signature tiger stripes. It’s one of the sweetest bubble teas on the market right now and a must-try!

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What’s tiger milk tea

Tiger milk tea is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular bubble teas besides the fan favorite, taro milk tea. It’s unknown whether this is because of the simple ingredients or the sweet caramel taste.

Tiger milk tea or tiger boba is a very uncomplicated bubble tea that’s made with just brown sugar, tapioca pearls, and milk. So tiger boba is a brown sugar boba. The name is after the tiger strips formed by drizzling dark brown sugar syrup down the cup’s interior.

It also has some other names including tiger boba and tiger bubble tea.

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Tiger bubble tea ingredients

Ready to make tiger milk tea at home? You only need three ingredients:

  • Brown sugar: brown sugar is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. It actually is white sugar with molasses. It gives a lovely caramelized color to both sweet and savory dishes.
  • Tapioca pearls (cooked with brown sugar): use brown sugar boba pearls in brown sugar syrup in a summarized way. We will show the details in the recipe card. You can use store-bought tapioca pearls or make some boba pearls at home.
  • Milk: use whole milk for a creamy taste.


Step 1: Cook the boba pearls

We will start by cooking the boba pearls. Bring 8 times of water to a boil and then place tapioca pearls. Read the instructions on the package (find the required time). It may be 20 minutes or 5 minutes. Cover the lid, turn off the fire, and let it rest for another required time. If you are using store-bought tapioca pearls, check out this detailed guide on how to cook boba pearls.

Cook the tapioca pearls in a large amount of water

Step 2: Rnise the boba pearls

Rinse the boba pearls under running water, this can remove the stickiness.

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Rinsing under running water

Step 3: Simmer with brown sugar

Add around ¾ cup of brown sugar in a pot, then place the boba pearls in. No need to add water. Slow down the fire and stir from time to time to avoid being sticky.

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Add brown sugar, there is no need to add water.
Place the tapioca pearls in

Cook until brown sugar is bubbled. Now our brown sugar-simmered tapioca pearls are ready.

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Now we can further assemble our tiger milk tea.

How to make the tiger stripes

The tiger strips can be formed by rotating the cup when adding the brown sugar syrup with boba. An easier way is to use your scoop to smear the brown sugar on the inside of the glass.

Tiger boba is served warm usually. But you can also choose to add some extra ice cubes in summer. Adding ice cubes will help to freeze the strips and make them last longer.

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Make the tiger stripes
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simply pour in whole milk tea

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Tiger boba- Tiger Milk Tea

Tiger boba with brown sugar boba pearls. Lovely creamy and caramlized bubble tea
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Calories: 223kcal


Brown sugar boba with brown sugar syrup

  • 1/4 cup cooked tapioca pearls already mixed with brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Water as needed


  • 1 cup whole milk


Cook the boba pearls

  • Bring 8 times of water to a boiling and then place tapioca pearls. Read the instruction on the package (find the required time). It may be 20 minutes or 5 minutes. Cover the lid, turn off the fire and let it rest for another required time.
  • Rinse the boba pearls under running water. Then mix the boba pearls with brown sugar.
  • Add around ¾ cup of brown sugar in a pot, then place the boba pearls in. No need to add water. Slow down the fire and stir from time to time to avoid being sticky.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes until there are large bubbles and a thick brown syrup is formed. Now our brown sugar boba pearls are ready for all types of bubble tea, milk tea, latte, or even as toppings for desserts.


  • Then place the caramelized tapioca pearls at the bottom of your boba glass. Take your spoon and rub the pearls against the glass to coat it in the caramelized brown sugar syrup and create the tiger stripes.
  • Fill the glass with milk. Stir for around 10 times and enjoy!



Nutrition fact is calculated based on every single serving of around 500ml with 3 tablespoons of tapioca pearls. 
Those tapioca pearls can assemble around 4 cups of tiger boba. 


Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 421mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 928IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 344mg | Iron: 2mg

Why it is named Tiger Boba?

Tiger boba gets its name from the brown sugar syrup drizzled down the side of the cup, which resembles tiger stripes. Who do we have to thank for the name? Tiger Sugar, an award-winning boba brand recognized worldwide, created tiger boba in Taiwan in 2017. They were the first company to add tiger stripes to all of their boba drinks, which are made with their unique handmade syrups.
They use an eight-hour cooking method to make the tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup (which they call black sugar). Their signature drink is tiger bubble tea: black sugar boba with pearl milk and cream mousse. This copycat tiger bubble tea recipe is the perfect homemade replica. If you want to add the cream mousse, you can add a dash of heavy cream to the cup or top it with whipped cream.

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Assembled tiger milk tea

Variations of tiger boba

This messy look and the brown color of the milk, when stirred, is also why you might see tiger boba called dirty milk tea elsewhere. However, despite the name, tiger milk tea doesn’t include tea, while dirty milk tea is often made with black tea. Tiger Sugar and Xing Fu Tang all provide this type of bubble tea.

Another similar type is Mudflip Tea, created by YiFang. Instead of making tiger stripes, they just add the brown sugar syrup and boba to the bottom of the cup and pour in the milk. Then they encourage customers to “flip the mud” and watch the layers slowly mix together. You can easily make this into a Mudlfip Tea if you skip the stripes and use a cup with a secure lid.

Baskin-Robbins’ Tiger Milk Bubble Tea

Introduced across the States in 2022, Baskin-Robbins’ Tiger Milk Bubble Tea “pays homage to the beloved Taiwanese milk tea.” It’s a combination of tiger and brown sugar bubble tea, with the addition of Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream, of course. So the ingredients are brown sugar tiger stripes, brown sugar bursting boba, black tea, whole milk, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

What does tiger milk tea taste like?

Tiger milk tea’s most similar counterpart would be a caramel milkshake because the brown sugar syrup and milk combine to give it a deliciously deep and sweet caramelized flavor. However, tiger boba goes one step further and pairs the caramel taste with chewy tapioca pearls for extra texture.


What’s the difference between tiger milk tea and brown sugar milk tea?

The main difference between tiger and brown sugar bubble tea is that brown sugar milk tea includes black tea. Besides that, the remaining ingredients are the same. So brown sugar bubble tea is also made with brown sugar tapioca pearls and milk.

What’s the difference between a tiger and Thai milk tea?

Thai milk tea doesn’t include tapioca pearls. Instead, it’s just black tea sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and served over ice. So if you’re choosing between the two, tiger milk tea is much sweeter, while Thai milk tea has a stronger tea flavor.

Does tiger bubble tea have caffeine?

No, tiger bubble tea doesn’t include caffeine. Although there’s “tea” in the name, it doesn’t include tea. The only three ingredients are brown sugar tapioca pearls and milk.

Is tiger milk tea vegan?

Simply use your preferred dairy-free milk and you instantly have vegan tiger boba. Creamy milk alternatives like oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk are our top recommendations.

Is tiger bubble tea healthy?

Because tiger bubble tea is essentially made with caramelized brown sugar and milk, it’s higher in calories and not the healthiest bubble tea option available.

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