Ube milk tea is a vibrant drink originating from the Philippines. Combine a splash of cold milk with the unique taste of ube (also known as purple yam), and you have successfully concocted the perfect summer beverage!
This purple bubble tea delights with its sweet, nutty flavour and light vanilla-like undertones. Boba fanatics will be overjoyed to know they can achieve this distinctive taste at home. Try out our time-tested ube boba recipe – we never disappoint when it comes to refreshing bubble tea drinks.
What is ube milk tea made of?
This refreshing beverage comprises a purple yam base, milk tea, and tapioca balls.
The foundation of this purple bubble tea lies in its yam paste. Filipinos may also call this purple paste "halayang ube". You can typically create it by mixing thawed purple yam, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a saucepan.
After heating the mixture, the yam base is stored in a fridge to cool down for three to five days. This step is essential. Without the purple yam base, we could never achieve the classic ube milk tea taste.
Our recipe is relatively simple. First, add your chosen tea bag to boiling water and wait for it to brew. Next, pour in a dairy base and some purple yam paste. Your drink base is then ready to be used for this ube boba recipe.
What does ube boba taste like?
The ube milk tea taste is mellow and subtly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. It is because purple yam does not have an over-the-top sweet flavour.
Compared to other boba drink types, we can say that this purple bubble tea has quite a balanced taste. This light beverage can satisfy your sweet tooth without overwhelming you with its sugariness.
This ube boba recipe also guarantees that you can attain the creamy consistency of this gorgeous drink without sacrificing its unique taste.
Taro vs ube milk tea
Taro milk tea has a nuttier and creamier taste than ube milk tea, which is sweeter and more vibrantly purple.
Therefore the main difference between taro and ube boba is their level of sweetness.
Taro is nuttier than its sweeter counterpart, making its texture grainy and slightly dry. This more pronounced nutty taste might be pleasant for other drinks, but milk tea tastes better sweet.
Additionally, the purple yam has a more intense and saturated colour, producing a purple bubble tea that stands out in photographs. Ube milk tea is a must-make for Instagram food aficionados and café owners looking to promote their creations on social media.
In terms of health, they both have similar health benefits since they are both root vegetables. However, purple yam is associated with potential cancer prevention due to the quantity of quercetin in the vegetable. Therefore, this aesthetic violet drink is better for a healthier beverage.
In short, we can settle the taro vs ube milk tea debate by concluding that purple boba is generally the better option between the two. Nothing can beat purple boba in health and flavour, not even taro. Check out our taro vs ube guide for a more detailed breakdown of the differences.
However, taro boba can be great for individuals with love for earthy nutty drinks or people who dislike sweet flavours. Try experimenting with both recipes to see which version works best for you.
Ube Milk Tea Calories
Ube bubble tea consists of approximately 320 calories for a 16-ounce serving. It is precisely why this low-calorie beverage makes a healthier alternative compared to other calorie-dense bubble tea drinks.
Ube Milk Tea Ingredients
Our recipe's ube bubble tea ingredients include purple yam, milk, cold tea, sugar, and tapioca balls.
You need to watch out for some things when getting these ingredients.
There are three ways to use purple yam for this recipe. You can use ube extract, drink powder or even fresh yams.
We recommend using fresh yams since they provide the best taste for this recipe. However, if you want a super convenient option, opt for ube powder.
Although you might think whole dairy milk is best for this boba recipe, you should also try coconut as an alternative.
Too much creaminess would be overwhelming, so the light consistency of coconut milk pairs with the already creamy properties of purple yam.
It is also possible to try other alternatives such as oat and almond, but coconut is the best of all the plant alternatives in terms of flavour and consistency.
For the infused boba base, we recommend using white tea because its delicate and floral flavour blends well and compliments the sweetness of the yam.
However, if you prefer a more robust flavour, you can also use the black alternative.
If you are health-conscious, it is best to use brown sugar for this recipe. However, you can also use regular sugar, honey, or other sweeteners such as stevia for those who want a low-sugar option.
For added sweetness, you can add brown sugar syrup.
When making boba pearls, look out for stickiness or irregular shapes. The overtly chewy taste and bumpy texture might ruin your experience drinking ube milk tea.
Using Fresh Ube
Mashed fresh purple yam makes an excellent blend with milk and sugar. Doing so would recreate the perfect original taste of this boba flavour since the purple yam is still fresh.
In addition, fresh yam has a more robust flavour and is richer in antioxidants than powder.
Having said that, it may be difficult to source fresh ube depending on where you are located. However, you can likely find fresh cassava roots at Asian grocery stores, especially Filipino ones.
In some cases, you may not want to use the fresh root. While you will get the natural purple colour from the plant, the colour may not be as vibrant and bold as the ones you see some stores sell.
In addition, the fresh version will not last as long as the powdered version. So, if you plan to prepare the drink for yourself only occasionally, buying and storing the powdered alternative may be more economical.
How to make Ube Milk Tea using Fresh Ube
- Fresh purple yams (200g)
- Milk (1 cup)
- Water (240 ml)
- One black teabag
- 60g tapioca pearls
- To make this purple boba drink using fresh purple yams, you must first dice the yams into 0.5 to 1-inch cubes.
- Then, boil them in a pot with milk for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until they become soft. You may have to use a fork or masher to help thoroughly dissolve the yam.
- Once the milk turns into a lovely purple colour, filter out the solid yam remains and let it cool in the fridge.
- Next, brew your desired tea of choice and let it cool. Meanwhile, cook your tapioca pearls according to the packaging’s instructions or until cooked thoroughly.
- To assemble the drink, you must first add the tapioca pearls to the base of the cup. Then, add some ice and the brewed tea. Finally, add the refrigerated purple milk mixture into the cup to complete the beverage.
Using Ube extract powder
Our ube milk tea home recipe below will be using ube powder instead of preparing it from the fresh root.
While fresh yam has its advantages, most households will find it easier to find and store the powdered version in their pantry. Moreover, this extract powder is a much more convenient option as it is less time-consuming than fresh yams.
Please note that ube drink powder may taste too sweet due to additives. You can level out the sweetness in your boba by using less sugar as compensation.
However, a pro you can look forward to when using the extract is that your ube milk tea will have a brighter colour.
Ube boba pearls
Want a better experience when enjoying your purple boba? You might like to create ube-flavoured tapioca balls for a heightened flavour compared to regular boba pearls.
Here are the ingredients for the purple yam-flavoured boba pearls:
- 70g tapioca starch
- 30g potato starch
- One teaspoon of ube powder
- 100 ml of boiling water
Here are the steps to make the purple yam-flavoured boba pearls before adding them to your ube milk tea:
Firstly, combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. After boiling some water, add half the dry mixture and incorporate well. Then, add the rest and knead well. After achieving a smooth consistency, roll into small spherical shapes. Afterwards, you can add the mini-sized ube boba pearls into your beverage based on your liking!
A useful tip to note for a more robust yam flavour is adding more yam powder when making the tapioca balls. Alternatively, you can steep the cooked purple boba pearls in brown sugar for a sweeter taste.
Ube Milk Tea Recipe (Boba) | Purple Bubble Tea
- First, we will prepare the purple paste. Pour the powder into a pot and add coconut milk to it. Mix the powder and coconut milk while cooking them under medium heat for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to bring to a boil. After bringing the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to medium and leave to simmer.
- While simmering, continue stirring the purple mix until it starts to thicken. Once all the powder has dissolved and become a consistent purplish milky mixture, turn off the stove and let it cool.
- Next, we will prepare the infused base. Boil some water, add the teabag and let it steep for about 2 to 3 minutes in a pot. Once it’s reached the consistency you like, remove the bag from the pot.
- Next, boil water in a pot and add the purple boba pearls. Once they have floated to the top of the water’s surface, cover the pot and wait for 2 minutes. After turning off the heat, wait a few more minutes to let the boba pearls cool down in the pot.
- Add the boba pearls into a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds and drain the water. If you want them to be sweeter, mix them with a sweetener (honey or maple syrup).
- Pour the flavoured boba milk base into a tall cup. Next, pour the infused base into the cup and mix well. Then, top the drink with tapioca balls and add a few ice cubes to keep the beverage cold. Your ube milk tea is now ready to enjoy!
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.
Beating the hot summer heat can be challenging without some good boba to freshen you up. So make this recipe and share this fantastic creation with your family and friends. Like our ideas? Follow Honest Food Talks on Instagram @honestfoodtalks for more fabulous recipes to try.