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Thai Pearl Milk Tea | Cha Nom Khimuk | ชานมไข่มุก

Thai Pearl Milk Tea | Cha Nom Khimuk | ชานมไข่มุก

With the start of this blog, I shared my love for Thai iced tea.  I guess now it’s time to admit my obsession with Thai pearl milk tea, the wonderful Thai tea drink served with tapioca pearls (also known as bubble milk tea or boba tea).

It started when I had my first gulp of pearl milk tea in college about 10 years ago.  This was right about at the height of the pearl milk tea craze in the US, when cute little boba tea cafes were popping up on every street corner.  Pearl milk tea had become so popular in my college town that the university actually opened a pearl milk tea stand on campus, just so students without cars could enjoy this sweet drink.

Thai Pearl Milk Tea | Cha Nom Khimuk | ชานมไข่มุก

The draw of pearl milk tea was two-fold for me.  First, there was the cold, sweet tea that appealed to my Southern roots.  Some additional creaminess with all kinds of different flavors to choose from just heightened this appeal.  But then there were these unusual, chewy tapioca balls that somehow slid straight down your throat as you drank.  This combination of familiar and unusual was enough to hook me.

I frequented these boba tea shops with my college friends, sitting outside and enjoying the sweet, milky drink with tapioca.  And one summer when I went back home to Louisiana, where the boba tea trend hadn’t quite caught on yet, I bought a 5 pound bag of tapioca pearls, just to last me through the summer.  Yes, my parents thought I was crazy :)

My obsession with pearl milk tea lasted for a year or two.  Although this drink is still fairly popular in my area, I’ve moved on and found newer foods on which to expend my daily calorie intake!  But last week, I saw a small bag of tapioca pearls at the store and decided to relive my college days by making some Thai pearl milk tea.  After it was prepared and chilled, I found a spot in the sun and sat down, gulping the cold, sweet concoction while remembering with fondness those fun college days.

Thai Pearl Milk Tea | Cha Nom Khimuk | ชานมไข่มุก

Thai Pearl Milk Tea | Cha Nom Khimuk | ชานมไข่มุก

Makes 2 servings

Thai Pearl Milk Tea | Cha Nom Khimuk | ชานมไข่มุก


    For the Thai Tea:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Thai tea mix
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tablespoons evaporated milk
  • For the Tapioca Pearls:
  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Steep the Thai tea in boiling water for 5-10 minutes or until it's very dark orange in color.
  2. Strain to remove the tea mix. Add the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Add more or less of the sugar and sweetened condensed milk depending on how sweet you like your tea.
  3. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge.
  4. To cook your tapioca pearls, bring 6-8 cups of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the tapioca pearls and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes or until they are thoroughly soft.
  5. While the tapioca pearls are boiling, prepare a simple syrup by heating 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Drain the tapioca pearls and immerse in the simple syrup solution until ready to use.
  7. Add 1/4 cup cooked tapioca pearls to each glass. Pour the chilled and sweetened Thai tea over the pearls and serve with a large boba tea straw. Enjoy!

29 comments… add one
  • Allin August 30, 2018, 6:08 pm

    How many drinks does this recipe make?
    I am planning on having a fundraiser for a high school of 500 students. How many Thai milk tea drinks do you think I can make with one bag of the Thai tea?

    • Rachel September 2, 2018, 3:39 am

      Hi Allin, this recipe makes 2 servings of Thai tea. If you are using a 16 ounce (1 lb) bag of Thai tea loose leaves, you should be able to make roughly 75-100 servings of Thai tea. Best, Rachel

  • Megan July 8, 2018, 9:28 pm

    Your recipe is so great! Thank you so much! No changes made at all! Reminds me of my time in Thailand! ❤

  • Megan June 12, 2018, 9:47 pm

    Hi found your recipe weeks ago. Finally got my supplies! The tea is amazing!
    Thank you!!

  • Julian May 14, 2018, 7:27 am

    Dear Rachael, I love your delicious, luxiourious, succulent, boba balls. I adore them so much, that I have decided to read your entire recipe of over 50 people during the first event of its kind…

    AMSR: an experience. An experience like no other. I seranaded my dear friends, with your lovely recipe, and the responses of the many people that it has touched. Without you, my throat would be dry on this hot day… because I would had no tea to drink.
    So thank you.

    ASMR thanks you.

  • Tan srey mich March 12, 2018, 10:51 am

    Hello do you know suppliers boba tea in Thailand

    • Rachel March 12, 2018, 8:42 pm

      Hi Tan,
      I’m not familiar with boba tea suppliers in Thailand, as I live in the US. Best of luck!

  • Dani F December 13, 2016, 7:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! Currently in a Vietnamese restaurant and loved the bubble thai tea so much that we decided to make our own! Will let you know how it turns out!

  • Tracy August 7, 2016, 12:55 am

    Hi! I finally found a true Thai Tea with milk and Boba!! I come from Northern Pennsylvania and Thai Tea has not been found up here. Plus, we aren’the sweet tea Drinkers! I made the recipe here……..now I just have to tweak it…..cutting back on the Sugar!
    It was delightful, love the Boba pearls and thank you for a delicious fun drink!!!

    • Tracy August 7, 2016, 1:08 am

      Forgot to ask. Do you sell the Thai Tea Mix and Boba Pearls? I had to order mine and have to wait for the strainer and straws.
      Response would be Appreciated! Thank You!
      Blessings in Love and Light

    • Rachel August 7, 2016, 10:16 pm

      Hi Tracy, no I don’t sell Thai tea or boba pearls. Best, Rachel

  • Christy April 23, 2015, 10:45 pm

    Love this recipe! We’ve made this several times over the last few years and just wanted to comment on how awesome it is. Thanks!

    • Rachel April 26, 2015, 4:18 am

      Wonderful! I’m so glad you like it, Christy!

  • Katie March 29, 2015, 12:13 am

    I loved this recipe. I reduced the amount of sugar and added a little more evaporated milk. It tastes just like it does at bubble tea shops! Thank you for sharing :)

  • presa1200 November 11, 2014, 3:44 pm

    True, bubble tea came from taiwan but every country has its own version of tea. With the emergence of tea selling kiosks like chatime and latte mei, everything is possible.

  • Cath August 20, 2013, 6:11 am

    Uwaaaa!!!! Cha!!!

    Love this post Rachel. Absolutely love it!

  • Ash- foodfashionparty August 14, 2013, 9:45 pm

    omggg, this looks so good. I’ve been looking for a nice pearl drink and I have it. You’ve used condensed milk and I am with you..love it.

  • Meridyth August 5, 2013, 6:42 pm

    Looks so yummy! Beautiful photographs too! Where did you get the bottle that you stored the tea in?

    • Rachel August 6, 2013, 2:17 am

      Thanks, Meridyth! The bottle is from Ikea…

  • iet July 30, 2013, 8:03 pm

    Didn’t know Thailand had bubble tea, I thought only Taiwan did because its origin came from there. Lovely pictures

  • Irina @ wandercrush July 30, 2013, 1:52 am

    Thai tea is the epitome of luxurious and refreshing! I love your blog that much more now that I’ve finally visited Thailand… that first travel post is finally up, by the way, in case you’re interested :) But now that I’m back, I’ll be getting all my Thai food from you!

    • Rachel July 30, 2013, 2:28 am

      Irina, your pictures are stunning!! It looks like you had an absolutely amazing time with all kinds of fantastic Thai food! You’ve definitely made me excited for my next trip there :)

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