Coffee Milk Tea is the ultimate midday pick-me-up. With cozy black tea, bold coffee, sweet boba, and creamy half-and-half, you can't help but smile when drinking it!
When I think about guilty pleasures, bubble tea is up there. It is a rather expensive habit that brings me so much joy. My favorite part is the flavor combinations and that you can specify exactly how sweet you want it! Like why isn’t everyone doing this?
Bubble tea is, in short, milk tea with boba pearls. Sometimes it's coffee instead of tea and sometimes, when you’re feeling crazy, it’s both tea and coffee. Enter coffee milk tea. This is typically what I go for when ordering boba drinks. Thankfully, it's pretty simple to make this at home, so let’s get cracking!
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted
Coffee: We recommend using a strong dark roast coffee or espresso for this boba coffee.
Substitutions: Any of your favorite dark roast or espresso roast coffee will work, you can even use instant coffee or cold brew coffee.
Half and Half: Half and half is great for this drink because it has a higher fat content than whole milk
Substitutions: Any type of milk or non-dairy milk you like can be used, this includes coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, whole milk, or others. If you want to know more then check out our post all about oat milk in coffee.
Honey: I like to make this coffee boba tea with a touch of sweetness. So, feel free to adjust the amount of honey you add so it fits your liking.
Substitutions: Maple syrup, brown sugar syrup, simple syrup, coconut sugar, white sugar, or condensed milk can be used. If using condensed milk, this is known as Hong Kong Style tea.
Black Tea: We used an Earl gray tea bag but you could use any strong flavor of black tea you like.
Substitutions: Any black tea leaves can be used. We just recommend a stronger flavor since it is equal parts coffee and tea. Green tea and Thai tea is another great option!
Boba: Boba, or tapioca pearls, are those little black blobs that sit at the bottom of coffee boba tea. They are usually made with tapioca starch flour but can be made with rice flour.
Substitutions: Any boba can be used or it can be left out of this coffee-tea drink. It can be found on Amazon here or in most Asian markets.
How to Make This - Step by Step
Making this coffee milk tea boba recipe really couldn’t be simpler! Just a few steps for a delicious drink.
Step one: Make the coffee. We use fresh ground coffee beans and a French press to make our hot coffee, but you can use any method you like. Check out our post about how much coffee grounds to use for the perfect cup!
Step Two: Make the boba: Heat water in a small saucepan and add the pearls to the boiling water. Stir occasionally and cook for approximately 5 minutes. You'll know the pearls are done when they float to the top of the water.
Once they float, strain them out with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer. Transfer to serving glasses and top with a splash of agave and stir to keep them from sticky.
Step three: Next, heat the milk in the microwave or over the stove. Once hot, stir the honey in and add the tea bag. Let this steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bag.
Step four: Let everything cool, then pour the boba into a cup, (add ice cubes if desired), then pour the milk tea mixture and the coffee in. Stir everything together and enjoy!
Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
Need to make this quicker? Try using store-bought cold brew coffee or make coffee ice cubes! The milk does have to be heated in order for the tea to steep properly, but by using cold-brew coffee you can enjoy it much sooner. And, if using coffee ice cubes, you can pour the hot milk directly onto them and not worry about watering down your drink from melted ice cubes!
Facts and Common Questions
What is coffee milk tea?
It is simply a combination of coffee and tea with milk into a latte-type drink. It can be served as a hot drink or an iced coffee. This recipe is inspired by, but not the exact same, as the Yuanyang tea that's a popular drink served at coffee shops in Hong Kong.
Does coffee milk tea have caffeine?
Yes! It actually has quite a lot with the combination of black tea and coffee. To reduce the caffeine, try using decaf coffee.
Are tapioca pearls sweet?
Yes, tapioca pearls can be sweet. It depends on what kind but generally, they are made with tapioca and brown sugar making them sweet.
What does this drink taste like?
I describe this coffee milk tea taste as a café latte with a hint of tea mixed in. It's seriously so good! I am a huge fan of lattes and I really think this tastes better.
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
This milk tea coffee can be made in advance without the boba and stored in the fridge for up to a week to enjoy throughout the week.
We love coffee, especially with milk, tea, and boba! We’re fortunate to get to enjoy this drink, but not everyone is so lucky. Did you know that it’s been banned from public consumption throughout history? Yep! In both the 17th Century Ottoman empire and Mecca in 1511! So be grateful you didn’t live in those times when you sip your coffee milk tea (source).
Recipes to Enjoy With Milk Tea!
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 bag black tea
- ½ cup strong coffee
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon tapioca pearls
- Make the coffee. We use fresh ground coffee beans and a french press to make our hot coffee, but you can use any method you like.
- Make the boba: Heat water in a small saucepan and add the pearls to the boiling water. Stir occasionally and cook for approximately 5 minutes. You'll know the pearls are done when they float to the top of the water. Once they float, strain them out with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer. Transfer to serving glasses and top with a splash of agave and stir to keep the from sticky.
- Next, heat the milk in the microwave or over the stove. Once hot, stir the honey in and add the tea bag. Let this steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bag.
- Let everything cool, then pour the boba into a cup, (add ice cubes if desired), then pour the milk tea mixture and the coffee in. Stir everything together and anjoy!