Brown Sugar Boba Hojicha Milk Tea

Also known as “bubble tea,” this refreshing beverage is more than just a pretty face on social media – it’s also incredibly delicious! We made our version with Japanese roasted green tea and homemade tapioca pearls. So take a picture, give it a swirl, and then reward yourself with a cafe-quality drink you made yourself.

Prep Time
45 minutes
approximately 45 minutes of rolling time

Cook Time
33 to 35 minutes
25 minutes residual cooking (inactive time)
 Two glasses of boba hojicha milk tea shown with a pitcher of tea and a bowl of tapioca pearls

Drinking glasses x 2

Small heavy-bottomed saucepan

Heat-proof spatula

Scale or dry measuring cups

Liquid measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Plastic wrap

Ruler (optional)

Bench scraper OR paring knife

Small bowl x 2

Baking sheet

Parchment paper

Fine mesh sieve

Large pot

Large sieve or colander

Large bowl

Slotted spoon

Large mason jar or an airtight, heat-proof container

Medium heavy-bottomed saucepan

Small whisk or fork

Drinking glasses x 2

2 servings
For the brown sugar boba:
  • ⅓ cup (83 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (113 g) tapioca starch
  • Tapioca starch for dusting and coating
For the brown sugar syrup:
  • 2 cups (434 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
For the hojicha milk tea:
  • 2½ tsp (4 g) hojicha powder
  • ¼ cup (63 ml) cold water
  • 1½ cups (375 ml) milk, cold
For the brown sugar boba:

Step 1

In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat; cover pot to reduce as much evaporation as possible. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add the Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.

Step 2

Stir the simple syrup a few times to ensure it is no longer bubbling. Quickly stir in ¼ cup (28 grams) of the tapioca starch until dissolved. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and forms a smooth, gelatinous paste; about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Step 3

Remove from heat, and add the remaining ¾ cup of tapioca starch. Stir until most of the tapioca starch is absorbed and the dough starts coming off the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

Transfer to a work surface dusted with tapioca starch and carefully knead the warm dough until smooth and no lumps of tapioca starch remain. If dough is sticking to the surface, lightly dust the surface with a small amount of tapioca starch. It is important to knead the dough while it is still warm as it will become increasingly harder to knead as it cools. Knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky.

Step 5

Divide the dough in eighths and cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out and cooling too quickly.

Step 6

Roll the dough into a thin rope about ¼-inch thick (see Chef’s Tips). With a bench scraper or paring knife cut into ¼-inch segments. Roll each segment into a ball or “pearl.” Drop rolled dough into a small bowl with a few tablespoons of tapioca starch and shake the bowl to coat them with the starch; this helps prevent pearls from sticking together. Remove and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (see Chef’s Tips).

Step 7

Repeat process with the remaining dough until finished.

Step 8

In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring 6 cups of water to a boil.

Step 9

While the water is coming up to a boil, place the boba pearls into a fine-mesh sieve to shake off any excess tapioca starch.

Step 10

Once the water comes to a rolling boil, carefully add the pearls to the boiling water and immediately stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot and each other. Once all the pearls float to the surface, boil for 30 minutes or until the edges begin to turn translucent. Cover pot and remove from heat.

Step 11

Allow the boba pearls to soak in the liquid for 25 minutes or until almost completely translucent. 

Step 12

Drain boba pearls in a large sieve or colander and rinse with cold water. Place pearls into a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process.

For the brown sugar syrup:

Step 1

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar and water. Place over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Bring the simple syrup to a boil.

Step 2

With a slotted spoon, add the cold boba pearls to the brown sugar simple syrup. Reduce heat to medium and bring the mixture back to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until boba pearls are completely translucent (see Chef’s Tips).

Step 3

Remove from the heat and let cool in the saucepan for 5 minutes before transferring to an airtight container (e.g. a large mason jar) while making the tea.

For the hojicha milk tea (see Chef’s Tips):

Step 1

Place hojicha powder into a small bowl or measuring cup. Slowly pour and whisk the cold water into the powder. Whisk vigorously to ensure powder is dissolved.

Step 2

Measure the cold milk into a large measuring cup or pitcher. Stir the tea concentrate into the milk. If not making the drinks immediately, place into the fridge to keep cold until needed. Stir tea before pouring into glasses.

To assemble the brown sugar boba hojicha milk tea:

Step 1

In two tall drinking glasses, place approximately 3 to 4 tablespoons of the boba pearls into the bottom of each glass by sliding the pearls and syrup down the sides. Alternatively, add the brown sugar boba and the brown sugar syrup into the bottom of each glass.

Step 2

Tilt and swirl the glass so that the pearls and syrup run around the inside of each glass, creating stripes and streaks.

Step 3

Fill glasses halfway with ice.

Step 4

Divide and pour the hojicha milk tea into each glass. Serve with a bubble tea straw.