There is nothing better than a large chilled glass of caramel milk tea in the afternoon—or whenever.
Caramel milk tea may seem like a daunting recipe to attempt at home but is extremely simple once you have the right technique and ingredients at hand.
How to make caramel milk tea? Caramel milk tea requires milk, black tea, sweeteners, a caramel base, and optional salted caramel froth. You can even add boba pearls to the mix! All these components can either be made at home or bought from a store. Once you have everything, it is just a matter of mixing it all together!
This beverage is made two ways: one with boba and one without. While you can have this drink without boba, we highly recommend that you try it with tapioca pearls for that classic coffee-house flavor.
Read below to learn more about how to make rich and sweet caramel milk tea, how to prepare boba syrup, and some great garnish options that will take your tea game to the next level!
Caramel Milk Tea
Caramel milk tea can be found in multiple varieties. The classic milk tea recipe is a great starting point and example because it also perfectly encapsulates what boba pearls are all about.
Compared to regular milk tea, caramel milk tea takes things a bit further by adding a more complex layer of flavor in the form of delicious, thick caramel that just blends into the drink and creates an amazing drinkable dessert!
Like other bubble/boba beverages, this drink is made in separate components that you can mix as per your liking to create a homemade version of caramel milk tea.
Here is what this beverage is made of:
The type of milk you use for this tea will make all the difference.
If you don’t have any dietary restrictions then we highly recommend that you start with any full cream milk.
The fats in the milk will help create a creamier and smoother tasting milk tea vs if you were to use skimmed milk. You can also try using almond milk or oat milk for the same creaminess and texture!
If you are unsure about using 100% whole milk then you can either dilute it by adding water (more on this in the recipe below) or you could just swap with a lower milkfat percentage or skimmed milk too!
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Black tea adds an earthy, aromatic, and slightly bitter flavor to the caramel mixture that combines and forms an extremely well-balanced base that can go together with just about milk/non-dairy mixture!
You can either use loose leaves (recommended) or tea bags for added convenience.
Some people like to use green tea instead of black tea, which is fine but if you want to stick to the roots of this beverage then you have to use high-quality black tea.
Sugar And Caramel
Packed brown sugar is king when it comes to caramel milk tea but if you don’t have it at hand then you can easily swap it with regular white sugar too, although, the caramel will always taste better with brown sugar.
Don’t worry, table sugar will taste good too—it is sugar after all!
The caramel can be made to any thickness and quantity but we recommend that you start with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for one large glass of caramel milk tea.
Another great tip would be to first lightly toast the brown sugar in a saucepan to get that distinct dark caramel flavor and then add the milk base.
To make the caramel runnier, we recommend that you add a bit more water. Preferably, the best water to sugar ratio is 50:50, i.e., for 1 cup of brown sugar, you will need 1 cup of water.
Ice Cubes/Tea Cubes
Caramel milk tea is a chilled drink and the best way to keep your drink cold is to either refrigerate it or use ice cubes. However, the thing with ice cubes is that they are notorious for diluting the flavor of any beverage.
Basically, you will be adding more water to the mixture because as the ice cubes melt, they will saturate the glass and make the flavor of the caramel less impactful.
How do you fix this? The best way is to use tea cubes! Yes, we mean frozen cubes of tea!
Think about it, tea cubes will not dilute the flavor of the drink as they melt. They might just end up doing the opposite: they will add a more pronounced tea flavor to the mixture!
Don’t worry, we’ll list a great and easy recipe to make great-tasting tea cubes at home along with the caramel milk tea recipe below.
What is any milk tea without the inclusion of boba?
The best thing about tapioca pearls is that you can either go with a store-bought packet or if you are an enthusiast and a purist like us, you can make the boba pearls at home using simple ingredients.
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Boba pearls are very easy to make but require some time and effort, but once you have created just one batch of these chewy pearls, we are confident that you will set yourself up for many, many beverages!
We highly recommend that you make your very own boba pearls so that you can tweak their flavor as per your liking, but if you are after a quick drink then you can easily substitute with any good boba-pearl brand too.
This is completely optional but is extremely recommended.
If you want that same coffeehouse flavor from your homemade caramel milk tea then you have to go the extra mile. Trust us, adding a layer of froth will take things up a notch and will be very worth it!
You can either use plain whipped cream or you can also make homemade salted caramel milk froth that will float just above the tea and will also add a very delicate but delicious look and flavor to the beverage!
A Go-To Recipe For Caramel Milk Tea
This recipe will make one large glass of caramel milk tea. You can use the same recipe to make both varieties: one with boba and one without. Spoiler alert: the boba version will taste a lot better!
Here is what you need:
Garnishes For Caramel Milk Tea
Caramel milk tea can be enjoyed in several ways. Once you have created your masterpiece by following the steps above, you can add more amazing flavors to this drink!
Here are a few great garnish ideas:
If you enjoy fresh fruit then you just have to try adding sliced strawberries or berries to this drink.
The strawberries will add a nice fruity touch to the caramel milk tea and will also make it look pretty too!
This is a simple garnish but will add a layer of complexity to the flavor of the tea.
You can top the froth with some fresh coconut shavings. Dried coconut powder will work just as well but we have found thick shavings to taste the best with this drink.
Don’t want to improve an already perfect drink? Then just delicately dust the top with brown sugar to add a tad more sweetness but a whole lot of presentation!
The brown sugar will also help amplify the last few sips of the drink and may even stabilize the tea flavor if you plan to use tea cubes instead of ice cubes.
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This is a classic garnish that will add richness, presentation, and a whole lot of flavor. Caramel milk tea with chocolate syrup is a match made in heaven and we can’t recommend this garnish enough!
If you want to create a truly decadent beverage then we also recommend making chocolate syrup swirls within the glass before adding the tea.
To do this, simply keep the empty glass in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Take it out and immediately drizzle the chocolate syrup around the walls of the glass while rotating it, then assemble the tea as per usual!
Caramel milk tea is a treat like no other and now that you know how to make the best version of this wonderful beverage, here are some related questions that you may have!
What do caramel milk tea and boba caramel milk tea taste like?
Caramel milk tea has a rich, sweet flavor that distinctly tastes like liquified caramel with a hint of bitterness from the black tea and an overall earthy and bright flavor.
The boba variant has more or less the same flavor notes but with the added sweetness of the boba syrup. You also get a chewy texture along with a sweet and almost nutty flavor from the boba pearls.
Can you store caramel milk tea?
Yes, you can store the leftover tea in the fridge for about 1-2 days.
While you can probably stretch the storage time to 2-3 days, we recommend that you drink it while it is fresh as the tea will likely lose its aroma, texture, and flavor after 24 hours.
You can, however, store the individual components of the beverage (black tea mixture, boba syrup mixture) separately for about 3-4 days.
Can you use low-fat and sugar-free substitutes for caramel milk tea?
Yes, you can use low-fat alternatives like skimmed milk and sugar-free substitutes like artificial or herbal sweeteners to make caramel milk tea.
However, you will still have to create the caramel base using brown sugar as that is the best way to get that classic flavor.
We also recommend using almond or oat milk instead of whole milk. You can also dilute the milk in water or use skimmed milk to make the base of the caramel milk tea – and even the froth.
Please make sure that you add the sweeteners as instructed by the manufacturer because some sweeteners are extremely concentrated and will probably not follow the same measurement to replace brown sugar.
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