Brown Sugar Bubble Tea

I first developed this recipe for Food52, and wrote about on the location , in hopes that folks would be encouraged to form their own brown sugar boba reception . a neighborhood of me also hoped that Malaysians would stop bloody queuing up at Xing Fu Tang (幸福堂), The Alley, DaBoba, or the dozen other boba shops in Subang SS15, and stop clogging up the streets. (What wont to be a 30-second drive through this one street now takes a constipated quarter-hour .)

While I don’t think the recipe actually altered the flow of traffic in Subang, it might be a true shame to not share this one on the blog too, because I honestly think this beats XFT’s overly milky, over-hyped drink.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I love my Asian milk teas, from lactose-rich Hong Kong lai chas, to foamy hōjicha lattes, to super floral Thai cha yens, to local Malaysian hawker stall teh susus. But the addition of chewy tapioca pearls (or boba) into any of those teas does nothing on behalf of me . The pearls are often gloopy, flavorless, incessantly chewy, and stick with your incisors like gum under a shoe. So despite the increase of Gong Cha, Boba Guys, CoCo, and dozens of other boba chains sprouting across cities within the U.S. and throughout the planet , I always had my milk tea plain over pearled (and always with half-ice and half-sugar).

There was a neighborhood of me that refused to believe that each one bobas were bad. Surely, I thought, there’s a milk tea out there that’s to my liking, one with bubbles so supple and flavorful, that yields under the slightest bite, like sweet little jelly balls. So call it due diligence, culinary research, or an Asian bias for boba, but i made a decision to offer it another try, by making my very own reception . And oh, did it turn me around! I went from boba basher to boba believer.

Brown Sugar Milk Tea – What You Might Not Have Known [Updated 2020]
If there is one drink that people can’t seem to get enough of around the world, then it is brown sugar milk tea. Bubble tea, in general, is becoming a worldwide choice for people who want to refresh their taste buds.

If you are no stranger to the boba tea craze, then you might already be familiar with its story. Even if you are not, then here is a quick wrap up. Bubble tea was first invented in Tainan and Taichung area back in the 1980s. It was designed to be a dessert drink that was initially made with a mix of organic tea, sugar syrup, milk, and of course, the famous chewy tapioca pearls. In its early days, the drink was usually consumed hot due to the cultural notion that tea and milk should be served warm. But, nowadays, since the sweet boba tea epidemic has spread across the world like a wildfire, it is more common to see it served cold and with a limitless range of flavors.

More recently, the bubble tea drink has seen lots of new varieties, most of which have taken the world by storm. You might have heard of the cheese tea, which was cold tea that was topped with whipped cheese cream. This flavor mix might not be a favorite of some people, but whatever it was, it became a world phenomenon. The phenomenon of recent years is brown sugar milk tea. This drink is a mix of brown sugar caramel, fresh cold milk, and tapioca pearls. Down below are some things you might not have known about this now famous bubble tea drink. Let’s get sipping!

Brown sugar milk tea came from Taiwan
This one might not have been a surprise for lots of people. As you might already know, Taiwan is the birthplace of Bubble tea. This makes it only natural that brown sugar milk tea originated from Taiwan itself. The drink was first introduced in Taichung, Taiwan. Most tea shops in the area were already serving endless varieties of boba tea. The original goal of brown sugar beverage was to spark the nostalgic flavors of traditional desserts of Taiwan. To be honest, it seems like a better flavor mix than the cheese cream bubble tea. The scrumptious looking caramel tiger stripes that streak inside of the cup became the main reason for the queues that were created in front of bubble tea joints. Some lines were three hours long, depending on how good the joint was.

After the drink became more common, and other cafes started to adopt the brown sugar milk tea recipe, more places began to offer it. Nowadays, the drink can be found almost everywhere around Taiwan, and Los Angeles. Even some specialty coffee shops are starting to provide these delicious flavors due to their high demand.

The ingredients are simple
Did you know that brown sugar milk tea has no tea in it? That’s right! No tea, just brown sugar syrup, fresh milk, and tapioca pearls (QQ balls). But no need to worry, because this drink does not hold back on its flavors like the original boba tea mix. The best way to prepare the drink is to cook the tapioca balls in low heat mixed with brown sugar syrup. This makes them absorb the caramel, smoky flavor. After the cooking process, the whole mix of caramel goodness is topped off with fresh cold milk.

If you are looking for the best milk tea in Los Angeles, then you are sure to come across this assortment of flavors. Due to its high popularity, many cafes are offering this drink regardless of your location. If there is a bubble tea cafe nearby, then you can bet your pretty penny that they have brown sugar milk tea on offer!

Getting the Pearls Ready
In your average brown sugar bubble tea, the pearls of tapioca consist of three different ingredients which are namely: water, tapioca starch, and sugar. At the beginning of the preparation process, all you see is a dough. However, they become evenly rounded balls after some rolling and portioning. As simple as this may sound, tapioca starch can be very stretchy and sticky.

Thus, the chewiness and sticky nature of the pearls. You need to remember to keep too much moisture out of your tapioca dough since this can make them sticky to any surface they come into contact with. This renders them almost impossible to roll out. This explains why most of the recipes you find online only use pre-made bubble pearls. However, the secret to getting these magic balls perfectly made is the ratio of starch to water.


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