Brown sugar milk tea is still one of the most popular bubble tea flavours since it was introduced. Also known as Mudflip or tiger milk tea, this brown sugar boba drink and its variations are a cult favourite.
It is one of the most ordered drinks along with taro fresh milk and the original flavour. We love this drink for its sweet caramel taste, silky texture, and aesthetically pleasing colours.
Learn how to make brown sugar milk tea in 6 easy steps and under 20 minutes. Once you’ve learned our recipe, you can easily adapt it to make either the Tiger or Mudflip version. You can even use our recipe to make boba ice cream, toast, cake, and more. We’ll also show you some great variations to this drink to customise it to your taste.
What is Brown Sugar Milk Tea?
This drink is made from 3 ingredients, tapioca pearls, caramelised brown sugar and milk.
The original boba drink from Taiwan does not contain any tea and is caffeine-free. It is called 黑糖珍珠鮮奶 (Hēitáng zhēnzhū xiān nǎi) in Chinese, which translates to Brown Sugar Fresh Milk.
However, as the drink grew in popularity and was commonly referred to as a “milk tea” overseas, more shops started offering the drink with different leaf blends and topping combinations. This is called 黑糖珍珠奶茶 (Hēitáng zhēnzhū nǎichá) in Chinese.
Some people also call this drink a dirty brown sugar milk tea due to the messy look of the syrup.
Tiger Milk Tea
Alternatively, we've also seen some places market the drink as tiger milk tea. This is because the drizzling of sweet brown syrup on the cups looked a lot like the streaks of a tiger.
What is Mudflip Tea?
Mudflip Tea is another fun twist on the original drink which was invented by YiFang. Instead of drizzling the syrup on the cup-like tiger patterns, it is simply poured in and carefully topped with fresh milk.
Customers are encouraged to flip their drink around and watch the layers mix together slowly. The hands-on action and lava lamp effect make this drink popular.
Who invented the drink?
In 2017, Tigar Sugar became the first bubble tea store to sell brown sugar milk tea in Taiwan. Sweet syrup is drizzled on the cup to resemble tiger stripes; hence the name of the store.
In 2018, Xing Fu Tang patented their unique method of making brown sugar boba pearls in Taiwan. Within a year of its establishment, Xing Fu Tang expanded overseas to Hong Kong. Now, the brand has hundreds of stores across the globe in popular destinations including New York, London, Australia, Japan and more.
Capitalising on their successful product, Xing Fu Tang recently released a Beauty Brown Sugar Milk Tea that’s topped with gold foil leaf and edible rose. The brand now has branched into making other products such as hot pot and xiao long bao.
Brown Sugar Milk Tea Tapioca Pearls vs Regular Boba Pearls
Tapioca pearls in this drink are tapioca balls that have been infused with brown sugar syrup.
This can either be achieved through making the pearls with brown sugar, boiling the pearls in sugar or slowly simmering the pearls in the sweet brown syrup.
Out of the three methods, we found that the pearls made with sugar and later slow-simmered gave us the most flavorful results. However, the method of slow simmering also gave us very similar results. It is easier and quicker than making the boba from scratch too.
For our recipe, you can either make your tapioca pearls at home or use ready-made ones. The key to this recipe is the level at which the sugar caramelises and how long the boba pearls are infused.
If you want to use ready-made boba pearls, we recommend using the brand Wu Fu Yuan. Their black sugar-flavoured tapioca pearls are quick to soften and have a very similar texture to store-bought bubble tea. To learn more about the tips and tricks on how to make the perfect boba balls from scratch see our Easy Tapioca Pearls Recipe.
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
- 40 g brown sugar
- 30 ml water
- 600 ml fresh milk
- 100 g tapioca starch
- 60 ml water
- 50 g brown sugar
- In a pot, add 60ml of water and brown sugar. Allow this to boil and mix well. Then add half of the tapioca starch and mix well. Take the mixture off the heat and add the rest of the starch flour.
- Take the dough mixture and shape evenly into a ball. Add more starch flour if the mixture is sticking to your hand. Roll this out to 2-3cm thick and cut into small squares. Roll these into ball shapes.
- On high heat, boil the tapioca pearls for around 6-8 minutes. Or until they begin the emerge from the water. Remove from the water and set aside in an ice bath.
- In a pot, add 30ml of water and the rest of the sugar to it. Allow this to boil and wait for the consistency to become a thick translucent brown. At this point, turn the heat to low and add in the pearls to slow simmer in the syrup for another 5 mins.
- Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool and thicken further.
- Take a few spoonfuls of the sweet brown syrup and drizzle on the glass. For the tiger stripe to look more realistic, add the syrup to the bottom of the glass. Flip it over and let the excess drip out the glass. Then add the tapioca pearls. Finally, add fresh milk to complete.For the Mudflip tea version of this drink, use a mason jar with a lid to serve. Pour the brown sugar syrup directly into the bottom of the jar and top with fresh milk.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
How many calories are there?
Brown sugar milk tea typically has 620 calories per 700ml. Although some people consider this drink healthier than a classic boba drink, the fresh milk and the large amount of sugar used make this drink high in calories. If you're curious about more calories, have a look at the research we did on boba calories.
Top Variations To Try
Here are some of the top variations you can do with this recipe.
- Add a tea blend of your choice to the fresh milk. We recommend starting with black teas such as Ceylon. Once you’re comfortable you can go wild. Try our matcha latte, taro fresh milk or even rose milk tea recipe for some fun combinations. We recommend the hot tea mixture is cooled before you assemble the drink together. Otherwise, the sweet brown syrup will melt almost immediately.
- Add another topping. We recommend trying coconut jelly or coffee jelly toppings in this drink. We love how these give a chewy texture and make it more fun to drink. One gives you a more neutral taste while the other gives you a nice caffeine boost.
- Top it off with a hard layer of caramel
- Experiment with the consistency of the sweet brown syrup. Try adding more water, or letting it simmer for longer. This will give you a different consistency and vary the lava lamp effect for the Mudflip version. You will need a mason jar with a lid to try this one out.
What else can you make with this?
With a strong craze for everything boba related, there are many things you can make with this recipe as a base. Here are our top favourites.
Brown sugar boba ice cream
Use the sweet syrup on plain vanilla ice cream. Alternatively, make boba-infused ice cream with this recipe below.
Brown sugar boba cake
Nino’s lava cake has us all drooling.
Jiggly Japanese souffle pancakes with boba
We love this Japanese souffle pancake recipe by Smiling Foodie.
Let us know if you try out making this delicious drink at home. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more easy drink recipes.