Cool down during the summer with your own addictive milk tea drink for a fraction of the cost of boba shops! Here I give options for brewing your own tea or using a pre-mixed powder.

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
CALORIES: 86 calories per serving
COST: CAD $0.80 per serving
FRIDGE: keeps for over a week, covered
FREEZER: keeps for several months


Brew Your Own Tea option:

  • 3 tbsp of dried black tea leaves (or 3 tea bags)
  • 500 mL boiling water
  • 3 tbsp of milk powder (malted milk powder is even better if you have it)
  • 15 drops of liquid sweetener, or to taste
  • Toppings like grass jelly, tapioca pearls (optional)

Pre-Mixed Powder option:

greenmax black tea flavoured boba milk tea powder

  • 80 g milk tea powder (I use Greenmax Black Tea Flavour, but any will work. I recommend buying a large bag of powder instead of the ones that come in individual sachets, to cut down on plastic waste.)
  • 500 mL boiling water


Brew Your Own Tea option:

  1. Add water and tea leaves to a saucepan.
  2. Place saucepan over maximum heat, covered, until boiling.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and let steep until the tea is cool enough to touch.
  4. Add milk powder to the bottom of a glass (followed by any optional toppings, like grass jelly or tapioca pearls).
  5. Strain 2/3 of the brewed tea into the glass.
  6. Add liquid sweetener (I use stevia; see recipe notes) to taste.
  7. Mix well, and place in the fridge to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, strain remaining tea into ice molds and place in the freezer to make ice cubes.
  9. Once ice cubes have solidified, pop a few out into your cold bubble tea. Insert straw and enjoy!

Pre-Mixed Powder option:

  1. Add milk tea powder to the bottom of a glass.
  2. Pour in hot water and mix well.
  3. Pour out some of the tea into 3–4 ice cube molds and freeze.
  4. Add toppings of choice to the glass. Place in fridge to cool down.
  5. Once ice cubes have solidified, pop a few out into your cold bubble tea. Insert straw and enjoy!

Recipe notes

nutrition information for milk tea made with powder nutrition information for milk tea made with brewed tea

Nutrition info is for milk tea without toppings.

* Btw, it’s totally fine to use honey, syrup, sugar, or anything else to sweeten your drink. I use stevia, a 0 sweetener, to make it healthier. You can even choose not to add sugar at all, to make a Hong Kong-style milk tea.

Mix-n-Match Toppings

herbal grass jelly

The great thing about making homemade boba is you can customize your drink to your heart’s content. Tea shops usually charge 50¢ for every topping, like tapioca pearls or jellies, but you can buy your own toppings at the store for much less.

My personal favourite topping is unsweetened herbal grass jelly. On its own, it’s quite flavourless, with a hint of herbal medicine, but it goes so well with a sweet, creamy tea.

The brand that I use (just the first one I spotted on the store aisles) is only 75 calories for the entire can, and I use just 1/5 of it for each glass of milk tea! It is firmer than the grass jelly they use in shops, and has a more satisfying chew to it.

Which option do you prefer?

homemade milk tea

Having tried both to brew my own black tea as well as using a pre-made powder, I have to say the powder option is tastier. The tea flavour is a lot more concentrated, like store-bought bubble tea. However, brewing your own is much healthier, without all the additives that powder mixes throw in, and it’s something you can drink every day.

Both are still healthier than store-bought options, though, and so much more affordable! I bought my 700 g bag of milk tea powder for $6.99, which comes down to 80¢ per glass. If you choose to brew your own tea and add milk powder, that’s even more inexpensive. Bubble tea cafes charge upwards of $3.99 for their smallest cups, so you’re saving over $3 every time you choose to make tea at home.

You can even brew a huge batch (I typically make 1–2 litres at a time now) and store them in plastic water bottles in the fridge, so you can quickly satisfy your boba craving whenever it hits you. :-)