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What does coffee milk tea boba taste like?

Coffee milk tea boba has become an increasingly popular drink in recent years, with bubble tea shops popping up on every corner. But what exactly does this creamy, coffee-flavored milk tea with chewy tapioca balls taste like? Keep reading to find out.

The Origins of Coffee Milk Tea Boba

Bubble tea, also known as boba tea, originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. The most common variety was black tea with tapioca pearls, but over time more flavors like green tea and fruit teas emerged. In the 1990s, bubble tea shops began experimenting with non-tea bases like coffee, milk, and fruit purees. This resulted in combinations like coffee milk tea, mango milk tea, and honeydew milk tea.

Adding tapioca boba pearls to milk tea created an even more unique texture and flavor profile. The coffee milk tea boba trend took off in the early 2000s and spread from Asia to Europe, North America, and beyond. Independent bubble tea shops and Asian franchises like Gong Cha, Kung Fu Tea and Quickly gained popularity for their extensive milk tea and boba menu.

The Basic Ingredients

A classic coffee milk tea boba contains just a few main ingredients:

  • Milk – Usually a combination of milk and creamer to produce a richer, creamier texture.
  • Black tea – Most commonly Assam black tea or Ceylon black tea.
  • Coffee – Brewed dark roast coffee like arabica or robusta.
  • Sugar – Cane sugar or simple syrup added to sweeten the drink.
  • Tapioca pearls – Starch balls made from cassava root that have a chewy, gummy texture.

The milk provides the body and some sweetness, while the black tea gives it a subtle malty flavor. The coffee imparts a nutty, slightly bitter taste. And the tapioca boba pearls add fun textural contrast.

Making the Perfect Cup

There are two main methods for making coffee milk tea boba:

1. The Hot Method

The hot method involves brewing hot black tea and coffee separately before mixing everything together. The steps are:

  1. Brew a strong pot of black tea and let it cool.
  2. Brew a batch of fresh coffee, let it cool slightly.
  3. Prepare the milk and sugar mixture – heat milk and dissolve in sugar.
  4. Mix the cooled tea and coffee with the hot milk. Adjustsweetness as needed.
  5. Pour the mixture over a cup filled with cooked boba pearls.
  6. Add any toppings like coffee jelly cubes or pudding.

This hot method produces a warm, comforting drink with well-infused tea and coffee flavors.

2. The Cold Method

The cold method brews the tea and coffee cold before mixing. The steps are:

  1. Brew strong chilled black tea, ideally overnight.
  2. Brew a cold coffee concentrate by steeping ground coffee in cold water for 8-12 hours.
  3. Mix the chilled tea, coffee concentrate, milk, sugar and stir well until fully dissolved.
  4. Pour the cold mixture over a cup of cooked boba pearls.
  5. Add any toppings like coffee jelly cubes or pudding.

This cold brew method produces a refreshing, chilled coffee milk tea with lighter tea and coffee flavors.

Unique Texture and Flavor Profile

Now onto the main question – what does coffee milk tea boba actually taste like? Each shop will have its own spin, but in general coffee milk tea boba has a unique flavor and texture experience:


Coffee brown color with black tapioca pearls sunk to the bottom


Milkiness with notes of malt and nutty coffee


The flavor profile is multi-layered and complex:

  • Milkiness – The creaminess of the milk is the foundation.
  • Malt – Subtle malty flavor from the black tea.
  • Sweetness – Usually made sweeter to balance the coffee.
  • Coffee – Nutty and slightly bitter coffee flavor comes through.
  • Tapioca pearls – The soft, chewy pearls provide textural contrast.


Thick and creamy from the milk, with soft and chewy pearls throughout. The tapioca balls pop delightfully.


Slightly bitter coffee with a hint of residual sweetness and milk.

The complexity arises from the interplay between the creamy dairy, rich coffee, malty tea and sweetener. When you bite into the starchy tapioca pearls, it adds even more fun texture.

Customizations and Variations

One of the great things about coffee milk tea boba is how customizable it is at most shops. You can tweak your drink to match your personal preferences:

  • Sweetness – Choose your sugar level from no sugar to 100% sweet.
  • Ice level – Pick from no ice, less ice, normal ice, extra ice.
  • Milk options – Swap regular milk for low-fat, almond, oat, or soy milk.
  • Boba – Choose between classic black tapioca pearls or colorful fruit flavors like mango, lychee, or strawberry.
  • Toppings – Level up with coffee jelly, red bean, grass jelly, or popping boba.

There are also many popular twists on the classic coffee milk tea boba:

  • Thai tea – Made with Thai black tea and spices for a richer, spiced flavor.
  • Matcha – Swaps the black tea for nutty Japanese matcha powder.
  • Chocolate – Uses chocolate syrup or cocoa powder.
  • Brown sugar – Sweetened with brown sugar syrup.
  • Oreo – Topped with crushed Oreo cookies.

The possibilities are endless for crafting your ideal coffee milk tea boba experience.

Health Considerations

While delicious, coffee milk tea boba is a high calorie, sugary drink. A typical 12-16 oz cup contains:

  • 300-500 calories
  • 30-68g of sugar

The milk, sugar syrup, and boba pearls pack in a lot of calories and carbs. And the tapioca balls have little nutritional value aside from some starch. Despite its milk and tea ingredients, coffee milk tea boba lacks the protein, vitamins, and antioxidants of an actual coffee with milk and tea.

Moderate your intake of these sugary boba drinks if you are concerned about calories. Opt for less sugar, low-fat milk, and smaller sizes. Or try making a lighter version at home with simple syrup instead of sugary mixes, low-fat milk, and smaller boba pearls.

Here is a nutritional comparison of a 16oz coffee milk tea boba vs. a 16oz homemade light coffee milk tea:

Nutrition Facts Coffee Milk Tea Boba (16oz) Light Homemade Version (16oz)
Calories 504 251
Total Fat 12g 6g
Sugar 68g 34g
Protein 9g 9g

As you can see, simple adjustments like using less sugar and lower fat milk can make coffee milk tea boba a more occasional treat in your diet.

Making Your Own at Home

Want to recreate the coffee milk tea boba experience at home? It’s easy to DIY with a few key ingredients:


  • Strong brewed black tea
  • Dark roast coffee or espresso
  • Milk of choice – 2% milk, almond, oat etc.
  • Sweetener – white sugar, brown sugar, honey, simple syrup
  • Large tapioca pearls
  • Ice


  1. Brew black tea and coffee of choice, then chill.
  2. Cook tapioca pearls according to package instructions until translucent and soft. Drain and chill.
  3. Mix milk and sweetener together until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Assemble in a cup – tapioca pearls, chilled tea, chilled coffee, milk mixture, and ice.
  5. Adjust sweetness, milk amount, and ice to taste.
  6. Top with extra toppings as desired like fruit jelly.
  7. Enjoy with a fat bubble tea straw!

It may take some trial and error to find your perfect ratios. But the beauty of DIY boba is customizing it just how you like!

Where to Enjoy the Best Coffee Milk Tea Boba

If you don’t want the hassle of making it yourself, visit a reputable boba shop for high quality coffee milk tea. Here are top spots in the US and internationally:

United States

  • Boba Guys – San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles
  • Boo Tea – Chicago, Illinois
  • ViVi Bubble Tea – Nationwide
  • Kung Fu Tea – Nationwide


  • Tiger Sugar – Taiwan
  • Xing Fu Tang – Taiwan
  • Gong Cha – Taiwan, China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia
  • OneZo – Hong Kong

Hit up one of these top-rated boba cafes for a proper coffee milk tea experience complete with perfectly cooked boba pearls!


Coffee milk tea boba is a beloved drink thanks to its addictive taste and fun, chewy texture. It combines creamy dairy, malty black tea, nutty coffee, sugar, and soft tapioca balls. The result is a complex flavor profile with layers of creaminess, sweetness, bitterness, and textural delight from the boba pearls. Though high in sugar, the drink can be enjoyed occasionally as a treat. You can also customize versions at boba shops or whip up your own lighter homemade boba drink. With so many tasty variations, coffee milk tea boba has cemented itself as a bubble tea staple loved across generations.