Missing Berkeley? Recreate its boba scene with this homemade milk tea recipe

Beatrice Aronson/Staff

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It’s no secret that some UC Berkeley students are obsessed with boba. It seems like nearly every other store you pass near campus sells the popular drink. But now, with most students taking classes online at home, satisfying that boba craving is not as feasible as it used to be. Luckily for you, we at the Clog have spent the past month perfecting our recipe for homemade boba milk tea. Not only is making the drink yourself cheaper than buying it from a store, but it also allows you to customize everything about the drink you could possibly adjust — sweetness, amount of ice, texture of the tapioca pearls and type of tea. 


  • Tapioca pearls (you can make your own from scratch or buy dried, premade ones)
  • Tea of your choice
  • Milk (or alternative of your choice)
  • Sweetener of your choice
  • Ice


Brew your tea

Since you’ll most likely want to end up with iced tea, it’s a good idea to brew your tea first, so it has plenty of time to cool down. We chose to make Thai tea, but you can use any type of tea you prefer.

Cook the tapioca pearls

(Note: If you’re using prepackaged pearls, the instructions may vary slightly according to the brand! Follow the directions listed on the packaging. If you made your own pearls, follow the instructions according to the recipe.)

  1. Start by boiling some water in a small saucepan. Once it is boiling, add your preferred amount of tapioca. Stir right away to prevent sticking — the pearls should float in the water.
  2. Continue to boil with the saucepan uncovered for about 20 minutes. Then, turn the heat off, cover the pot and let the pearls sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the pearls and rinse them with cold water to prevent sticking.
  4. Return the pearls to the saucepan, and add a splash of cold water and some sweetener. Honey or agave syrup works great, but you can choose whatever you like.
  5. Depending on how much time you have, you can let the pearls sit in the sweetener for a couple of hours so that they soak up the sweetness, but this is not necessary.

Prepare your milk tea

Boba is usually served with a sweet milk tea, so add some milk (or your alternative of choice) and sweetener to your tea. You can also use half-and-half instead of milk for a creamier treat!

Put it all together

Spoon some boba into a large cup. Add ice, then pour your milk tea on top. Finish it off with a boba straw and you’re good to go!

Though it may not be the same as going to your favorite boba place with your friends after a tough midterm, making boba milk tea at home offers many opportunities for creativity and customization. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, your homemade boba drink will not disappoint!

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].