Learn how to make Earl Grey milk tea using only 4 ingredients: black tea, plant-based milk, sweetener and chewy sweet tapioca pearls! This homemade bubble tea recipe uses oat milk for an ultra-creamy drink and you can sweeten it just the way you want. It is loaded with an amazing aromatic flavor and easier to make than it seems!
Recently, I have been obsessed with bubble teas and I make them at home all the time. Making your own bubble tea is surprisingly easy and you can make them just the way you want!
But now, I wanted to share a classic way to prepare a bubble tea: Earl Grey milk tea.
This recipe is so delicious, a must-try for all the boba lovers!
I share here a tutorial to show you how you can make an iced Earl Grey tea with milk, but that also includes boba pearls. The combination of creamy and cold milk with the chewy tapioca pearls are absolutely amazing.
But my favorite part definitely is the incredible flavor you get from pairing aromatic, floral and earthy Earl Grey black tea with creamy and slightly sweet milk. It is something you have got to try if you have not already.
Earl Grey is not like any other black tea: it contains bergamot oil, giving it its unique and almost lemony flavor that's so addictive.
The tapioca balls also add more caramel-like sweetness, making this drink so delicious and special.
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Easier to make than it seems!
- Full of amazing aromatic flavors that are rich, malty and lightly citrusy
- So creamy in texture
- Can be done with or without the tapioca pearls
- Made with 4 ingredients only
- Perfect refreshing drink for all tea lovers
- Healthier & cheaper than the ones you get in bubble tea shops
- Sweetened to taste
- Can be batch-prepared for the week
- This version is dairy-free and naturally gluten-free
Ingredients you will need
- Black tea: I used 4 bags of Earl Grey black tea. I like the organic black tea from the brand Rishi, they have a strong floral aroma that's perfect for making milk tea.
- Plant-based milk: you can use any kind of milk that you like. My favorite one for drinks is full-fat oat milk from the brand Oatly, but soy milk, almond milk and cashew milk all work well. I recommend using unflavored and unsweetened milk so you can control how much sugar to add.
- Black tapioca pearls: you can find boba tea tapioca pearls online easily. Look for a quick-cooking tapioca brand (the ones that mention for boba, milk teas or bubble teas), which can be prepared within 10 minutes. If you have a local Asian supermarket, then also check it out, they usually have some bubble tea pearls as well.
- Sweetener: I used maple syrup as I enjoyed its caramel-like taste and works well for drinks. You can also use agave nectar or brown rice syrup. A simple sugar syrup works too and feel free to use granulated sugar, such as brown sugar. Just make sure to add it before chilling the drink as it will dissolve well in the hot milk tea.
Type of tea you can use
There are different forms of Earl Grey black tea you can use to make this recipe:
- Earl Grey tea bags: this is what I used. It is convenient and using bags means you do not have to strain the tea.
- Loose leaf tea: aim to use about 4-5 teaspoons of leaves to make this recipe (1 bag = about 1 teaspoon). In that case, you will have an additional step of straining the tea leaves before serving. I usually use my French press when making tea using loose tea leaves, which would work well here. Or, simply use a fine mesh colander.
- Earl Grey milk tea powder: you can make instant milk tea from powder, although I do not recommend it for best authentic flavor. Also, those powders often are made from whole milk (dairy milk) and they don't have much of an Earl Grey flavor.
How to make an iced Earl Grey milk tea
You will need about 10 minutes to prepare this recipe. Ideally, you would allow more time to let the tea chill before serving as well.
Prepare the Earl Grey tea with milk
In a small saucepan, add the milk, water and cover. Heat up on medium heat and once steamy hot, then remove it from the heat (don't let it boil strongly).
Add the tea bags and let them steep for about 5 minutes. You can stir once in a while to help get the flavor out of the bags.
Then, one bag at a time, squeeze the tea out in between 2 spoons and discard them. Add sweetener to taste and transfer in a jar.
Transfer the tea to the fridge or even the freezer to help cool it down it quickly. You want the tea to be as cold as possible so it does not melt the ice cubes instantly when serving.
Prepare the tapioca pearl
When about ready to enjoy the drink, then bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a small pot.
Add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water and let them simmer for about 5-10 minutes (the longer they simmer, the softer they get). Once done, remove the pot from the heat and let the pearls stand in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes.
Drain the pearls (I like using a slotted spoon for that) and transfer them to a small bowl. Add a little maple syrup (about 1 tablespoon) and stir.
Serve and enjoy
To serve, divide the boba pearls in between 2 tall glasses and then, top with ice cubes. Pour the Earl Grey milk tea over, stir and adjust the sweetness to your taste.
Serve with a boba straw, enjoy!
Can I make a cold brew Earl Grey bubble tea?
Yes! This can be a great option if you like to meal prep:
- To a large glass jar, add the water, milk and bags of tea.
- Stir to combine and cover
- Place in the fridge for 8-12 hours.
- Remove the tea bags and sweeten to taste
- Serve with cooked boba pearls and ice cubes
- This is meant to be a sweet drink, but feel free to make it with less sugar.
- This drink is best when served with lots of ice cubes to keep it nice and chilled. That being said, it can dilute the flavor of your drink if not enjoyed right away. A nice trick is to prepare a batch of Earl black tea ahead of time and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Use those tea-flavored ice cubes when serving your drink!
- When preparing the tea, it is essential to press on the tea bags while removing them. You will get so much more flavor by squeezing out all that amazing tea that gets trapped inside.
- You will need a wide straw that's made for bubble tea to enjoy this drink. The regular straws are too narrow to handle the large boba balls. I like these reusable boba straws: they are easy to find online and not expensive. If you don't have them, then simply serve with a regular straw to drink the tea part and then scoop the boba using a spoon.
- You can adjust the consistency of the tapioca pearl as you wish. Simply cook them longer for a softer texture and less for a chewier result. I like to taste them once in a while when they are boiling to check on doneness. Also, be sure to check the package directions for cooking instructions, which can vary from brand to brand.
This drink is great served cold with plenty of ice cubes. You can add more maple syrup as needed.
For a treat, top it off with whipped cream, a dust of cinnamon or cacao powder and try adding lemon zest to enhance the Earl Grey citrusy flavor.
I tried to keep this Earl Grey boba tea as simple as possible! Other than having to get the boba pearls, you can easily make it with regular ingredients you can find in your house.
The flavors are focused on the floral and citrusy Earl Grey, creamy milk and maple syrup, but you can add so much to this drink, such as:
- Cinnamon: simply add a pinch to the saucepan with the milk. Nutmeg or ground cardamom would also be amazing.
- Vanilla extract: include about 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to the saucepan to boost the sweetness of your drink.
- Lavender: add a small handful, about 1 tablespoon, to the saucepan with the milk and tea bags. Once done steeping, strain using a fine mesh colander to remove the buds. Check out my lavender milk tea for inspiration!
- Coffee: for a boost of caffeine, then add a shot of espresso or about ⅓ cup of strongly brewed coffee to your drink.
- Ultra creamy: try making it with coconut milk! Use the coconut milk from the box and not from a can so the drink isn't too rich. This would also add a nice coconutty flavor that would pair well with the Earl Grey. A non-dairy creamer would also be a good way to make this drink even more velvety.
- Stronger flavor: add about ½ teaspoon of orange zest when steeping the tea to add more citrusy flavors. Strain the zest before serving or leave it for more texture.
Storage tips and how to make it ahead
Once you prepare the bubble tea, then enjoy it right away. The boba pearls change in texture over time and simply are better when freshly prepared.
That being said, you can make the sweetened Earl Grey tea with milk ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Feel free to make more, maybe double or even triple the recipe!
You can keep the Earl Grey with milk (no tapioca) in an airtight container, such as a large mason jar, in the fridge for up to 4 days. Stir well before serving.
Yes! It can be enjoyed hot, which would be even quicker since you can skip the chilling step. To serve it warm, then simply follow the directives above and steep the tea bags in the hot milk. To serve, add the cooked boba to the bottom of a mug and pour the hot tea over it. Serve with a spoon to scoop the boba.
Yes absolutely. I often make 3-4 times this recipe and enjoy the leftovers without boba.
Each bag of Earl Grey tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine. For comparison, a small cup of coffee of 8 ounces contains about 90 mg of caffeine.
More recipes like this
- Cardamom latte
- Peanut butter coffee
- Chocolate boba
- Strawberry bubble tea
- Pink latte
- Iced blueberry matcha latte
- Honeydew bubble tea
- Iced dirty chai latte
- Iced strawberry latte
I hope you like this Earl Grey milk tea recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Earl Grey Bubble Tea
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags - or about 4-5 teaspoons of loose tea leaves
- 2 cups plant-based milk - I used oat milk from Oatly
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup uncooked bubble tea tapioca pearls
- 1-3 tbsp maple syrup or favorite sweetener - or more to taste
- In a small saucepan, add the plant-based milk, water and warm up on medium heat until steamy hot. Then, turn the heat off and add the bags of tea. Let them steep for about 5 minutes. Then, press on the bags to get most of their flavor into the milk and discard the bags.
- Add the sweetener to the saucepan with the tea (add to taste) and then, transfer to a large glass jar or container. Place the milk tea in the fridge until ready to use.
- Give a quick rinse to the saucepan and add about 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then add the bubble tea tapioca pearls. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, depending on how chewy you like them. Then, turn the heat off and let them soak in the hot water for another 5-10 minutes. Drain the pearls (I like using a slotted spoon) and transfer them to a small bowl. Add a little maple syrup over them and stir.
- To serve, divide the tapioca balls in between 2 large serving glasses. Then, add some ice cubes over and fill up the glasses with the milk tea. Stir and adjust the sweetener to your taste. Enjoy right away.
- How to prep a batch ahead: once the bubble tea is assembled, then enjoy it right away (the boba pearls are best when freshly cooked). But you can prepare the Earl Grey milk mixture ahead of time (you can make a double batch!) and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply make a fresh batch of pearls whenever you are ready to enjoy your boba!
- You can also use granulated sugar to sweeten this drink, which will dissolve easily in the warm tea.
- I share a lot of tips on how to make this recipe and more variations in the blog post. Be sure to check it out!