Learn how to make taro milk tea from either instant powder or from the ground root. Enjoy it hot or cold. Customise it the way you like with the variations below. We’ll also show you how to make full use of the root vegetable with a few alternative drinks to make too.
Taro milk tea is one of the most ordered drinks after a classic bubble tea. Its mellow sweetness and creamy taste are what attracts most people to order it. The addition of pureed root plant thickens the drink and adds a great texture.
Not to mention the extremely photogenic light purple colour that it comes in! Before we begin, let’s get the difference right between taro bubble tea, fresh taro milk tea, smoothie, and milkshakes.
Taro Milk Tea
This drink is also sometimes called taro bubble tea and is made with purple ground root, tapioca pearls, and jasmine tea. It is called 香芋奶茶 (Xiāng yù nǎichá) in Chinese which translates to ‘Taro Milk Tea’.
The pureed ground root serves as a thickener for the drinks and adds a mellow sweetness. However, some boba shops will also use instant powder as a substitute for the puree. This tea has approximately 480 kcals in one regular serving.
Fresh Taro Milk Tea
Fresh milk tea is made from only two ingredients: the root vegetable and milk. This is called 芋頭鮮奶 (Yùtou xiān nǎi) in Chinese which translates to ‘Taro Fresh Milk’. Despite some boba shops calling it a ‘tea’, there is no tea inside this drink. Therefore, it is caffeine-free.
In Taiwan, this is one of the most popular options as it boasts itself as a healthier option than other beverage snacks. However, don’t be fooled, fresh milk drinks like this one can equally have up to 340 calories per one serving of 300ml.
Most bubble tea shops might not make it clear straight from the menu. Therefore, the way to know is if the drink is called “fresh milk”. This will usually indicate that fresh milk is the main ingredient. In addition, most boba shops will only serve this drink cold.
Uses ice, condensed milk and cane sugar. In terms of consistency, it is a little thicker than the two mentioned above.
Typically, Greek yogurt and milk is incorporated to thicken the drink and make it more creamy. It is topped off with whipped cream. We wouldn’t recommend using bananas in making a milkshake. This is because the banana flavour would be too overpowering.
Difference Between Instant Powder and Ground Taro Paste
As mentioned above, there are usually two types of taro milk tea that are commonly found in boba shops. However, both can be made either with the powder or the pureed root vegetable.
Taro milk tea made with instant taro powder is usually more watery in content. It is usually more vibrant in colour because of food colouring is added. However, the drink tends to taste more fragrant.
Drinks made with fresh ground paste will typically have a thicker consistency. It also has a more granular texture due to the bits. The drink is mildly sweet and fragrant. The colour of this type of taro milk tea is usually a light purple hue.
Which is better?
Both options are equally tasty. When it comes to making this delicious taro milk tea drink at home, it will depend on a few questions.
How much time do you have on your hands?
If you have only 10 minutes, we recommend making taro milk tea with instant root powder. If you have more time then you can use the fresh ground root.
What ingredients can you source?
Taro root is not a common vegetable sold in stores so might be hard to get your hands on. Check out your local ethnic store for the ground root. We recommend using the fresh plant as it gives more flavour and better texture in our opinion.
We suggest making a large batch of fresh paste from the root vegetable which can be frozen for later use.
Taro Milk Tea Recipe From Taro Root
- 150 g taro peeled and cubed
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp tapioca pearls
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ cup ceylon tea strongly brewed can use any other black tea
- 200 ml milk can use plant based milk
- 1 tsp condensed milk
- Boil the cubed taro root for 20 minutes on medium heat. It should be soft enough to poke through with a fork.
- Discard the water. Smash the cooked ground root until an even paste is formed. For a smoother paste, use a food processor or blender. Incorporate the sugar while the paste is still hot. Set aside.
- Add your boba to a pot of boiling water. Add 2 tsp of sugar and allow this boil for 5-7 minutes. Once the boba begin to float these are done. Adjust the timing depending on how firm or soft you prefer them. Remove from hot water and set them aside.
- Brew the ceylon and let this mix well with fresh ground root paste and condensed milk.
- Finally, add the milk and tapioca pearls to the mixture. Serve the taro milk tea hot or cold.
Taro Milk Tea with Instant Powder
- 3 tbsp tapioca pearls
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp instant taro powder
- ½ cup ceylon tea, strongly brewed can use any other black tea
- 200 ml milk can use plant-based milk
- Bring a pot of hot water to a boil and add in your tapioca pearls with 2tsp of sugar. Let this boil for 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, until the boba begins to float above the boiling water. Adjust the timing of how long these are boiled depending on how soft or chewy you want these. Remove these from the pot and set them aside.
- Meanwhile, brew the ceylon. Mix well with taro instant powder and add the condensed milk.
- Lastly, add both milk and boba to the mixture. Serve the taro milk tea hot or cold.
Fresh Milk (Caffeine free)
You can easily make the above recipe into the fresh milk only version by removing the tea. Follow this easy video (English subtitles available):
If you have mastered how to make taro milk tea with instant powder or fresh paste, this will be easy. First, add either 150g of fresh root paste or 2 tbsp. of instant powder into a blender. Secondly, add ½ cup of ice with 1 tsp. of condensed milk and 2 tsp. of cane sugar. Blend together and serve cold.
To make a creamy milkshake, Greek yogurt is the key to success. Firstly, add either 2 tbsp. of instant powder or 150g of fresh paste, into a blender. Next, add 200ml of fresh milk, 1 tsp. of condensed milk and 2 tbsp. of Greek yoghurt. Blend this together and voila! The Greek yogurt helps make the drink thicker while adding a hint of tartness.
Taro Milk Tea Top Variations
Like any other boba drink, this is extremely versatile. Here are the top variations to make.
- Brown sugar tapioca pearls
- Taro boba pearls
- Add other toppings e.g. coffee jelly, grass jelly, azuki red bean
- Incorporate ube or purple sweet potato to make the colour of the drink brighter
- Use a different type of tea. We recommend sticking with other black leaf blends to start. However, you can experiment with green teas like jasmine and the strength of these.
Taro is a flavour that’s sweeping across Taiwan and there are multiple other snacks that use fresh taro paste. Other taro root recipes include sandwich fillings, tangyuan, ice cream, cake, mochi, and much more!