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Honeydew milk tea is a fresh, vibrant, and flavorful beverage often served with chewy tapioca balls. With a base of ripe melon, green tea, and your choice of milk, it’s the perfect way to cool down during the summer months.
Table of Contents
📖 What is honeydew milk tea?
Honeydew milk tea is a refreshing boba consisting of ripe honeydew melon, milk, tea, and tapioca pearls. As with taro milk tea, honeydew milk tea doesn’t need to contain tea or boba to be considered a traditional recipe.
In fact, it is commonly referred to as ‘honeydew milk’ or ‘melon milk’ in many places around Asia. The optional ingredients are usually added for flavor and caffeine, but both can easily be omitted.
What separates honeydew milk tea from many other milk teas is the addition of fresh fruit. The melon gives this boba drink a beautiful green hue, fruity flavor, and sweet aroma.
😋 What does it taste like?
Honeydew milk tea tastes fruity, tropical, creamy, and slightly earthy from the green tea. Although there are many variations (more down below), in this recipe the main flavor comes from honeydew melon.
The overall flavor will change depending on which type of melon you get, the ripeness, the season, and other factors.
🍈 How to choose a perfect melon
- Size & weight — Make sure the melon feels heavy for its size. This will ensure it’s fresh and juicy.
- Inspect the rind — Avoid melons with bruises, cracks, or soft spots.
- Check the color — Look for a dull rind, which indicates a ripe melon.
- Knock — Give the melon a knock. It should have a deep hollow sound.
- Smell it — The honeydew should have a sweet smell, indicating it’s ready to be eaten.
In the 80s, Taiwan popularized fruit-infused boba teas like honeydew boba. Because the tea and fruit were shaken together, micro bubbles formed and created the first “bubble teas.”
However, it is believed tapioca pearls were introduced to Tawain a few years later. When added to drinks, tapioca balls also looked like bubbles and became all the rage.
These tapioca pearl drinks spread rapidly to neighboring countries in East and Southeast Asia. Later in the 90s, bubble tea shops made their way west and are now popping up all over the world!
🫖 Milk tea vs bubble tea
There are many different terms for drinks like these, but here is a basic outline.
Milk tea — Any tea drink with milk mixed in. It can be sweet or non-sweet.
Boba — Drinks containing tapioca pearls, fruit chunks, or jellies. They are usually made with a base of juice or tea.
Bubble tea, boba tea, pearl milk tea — These terms often mean the same thing depending on the country you’re in. But, they all usually describe tea with milk and cooked tapioca balls.
Note: This recipe is honeydew milk tea with boba or honeydew boba tea.
🌱 Is milk tea vegan?
Milk tea is traditionally served with dairy milk, but it is becoming more regular to find plant-based options at bubble tea shops.
For this honeydew milk tea, we prefer coconut, soy, or oat milk as we think the creaminess accentuates the fruity notes well. However, you can use any plant milk you enjoy.
🛒 Ingredients & substitutions
Honeydew — It’s common to use honeydew powder, but we prefer fresh melon for this bubble tea. Make sure your honeydew is ripe for an extra sweet and delicious flavor.
Green tea — The earthiness of green tea complements the light and refreshing taste of honeydew. Careful not to let it steep past 2-3 minutes to avoid a bitter taste. You can also try other teas like jasmine green, oolong, black, or herbal.
Milk — Our preferred choices for honeydew milk tea are soy, coconut, or oat milk. For a thinner consistency, use almond or rice milk.
Matcha — Mostly for color and subtle earthy flavors. Matcha is optional, but we love it because it contains many health-promoting nutrients like L-theanine (important for brain health).
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Step 1 — Bring the water for the tapioca pearls to boil in a medium-large saucepan. Once boiling, add in the tapioca pearls and lower the heat to just under medium.
Step 2 — Simmer for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook time will depend on your specific pearls. Make sure to check your package for instructions, but ours take 30 minutes.
Step 3 — Add the cane sugar and water to a small saucepan and whisk them together. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, or until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from heat and reserve a few tablespoons, then add the rest to a medium mixing bowl.
Step 4 — Strain the tapioca pearls through a fine-mesh strainer, rinsing them lightly. Transfer the pearls to the mixing bowl with the syrup and stir to combine. Set aside to soak while you make a few cups of green tea.
Step 5 — Peel and cube the honeydew melon, then add the cubes to a blender followed by the brewed tea, matcha plant milk, and 3 tablespoons of simple syrup. Blend it together, then taste and adjust the sweetness to your preference.
Step 6 — Strain the honeydew mixture through a fine-mesh strainer for a smoother drink. If you don’t mind a few little bits of melon, skip this step!
Step 7 — Using a slotted spoon, transfer 3-4 tablespoons of tapioca pearls to a glass or cup and fill it ½ – ¾ full with ice.
Step 8 — Fill the rest of your cup with the honeydew milk tea mixture. Give it a stir and serve immediately. Happy drinking!
If you have questions about this honeydew boba tea, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!
🧋 How to drink bubble tea
If you are serving your honeydew milk tea with boba, it’s best to use a wide-mouth straw made for bubble tea. There are a lot of different materials to choose from like bamboo and metal, but we like glass bubble tea straws.
Once your tea is made, simply slurp some up with a few boba and enjoy! Note: Careful not to sip too quickly to prevent choking on the tapioca pearls.
Follow these steps if you have leftover honeydew boba tea:
Complete boba — It’s best to consume a fully made bubble tea immediately after it’s made. The tapioca pearls become less soft and chewy the longer they sit.
Fridge — Honeydew milk tea without boba can be stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Freezer — We freeze our extra milk tea using ice cube trays. When we make another batch, we use flavored ice to prevent a diluted drink!
Prep in advance — You can prep the syrup in advance and keep it in your fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. If you’re using tea, steep it and chill it in a glass jar.
Uncooked tapioca pearls — Store uncooked tapioca pearls in an airtight container for up to 6 months (in a cool, dry place).
Different tea — Try Assam tea, oolong tea, or jasmine tea instead of regular green tea. There is even honeydew-flavored green tea available nowadays.
Caffeine-free — Use decaf green tea or omit it altogether.
Sugar-free — Try a sugar-free sweetener like stevia or monk fruit. You can also leave out the sugar if you have an extra-ripe ripe honeydew.
Different pearls — Popping boba, mini boba, or jellies make tasty replacements for standard tapioca pearls.
Other fruit — Although this will change the name of the drink, you can try mango, watermelon, lychee, peach, or strawberry bubble tea.
🧑🍳 Top tips
Max steep time — To ensure you don’t end up with a bitter drink, only steep green tea for a maximum of 3 minutes.
Prep in advance — To make things quicker, prepare the simple syrup and tea a few hours in advance so they have time to cool.
Use fresh pearls — Make sure to use the cooked pearls right away for the softest and chewiest boba. When they cool, they start to harden up again.
Bubble tea straws — Use a bubble tea straw to slurp up tapioca pearls with each sip of honeydew milk tea.
High-quality tea — Use premium green tea for the best flavors and health benefits.
Although honeydew boba tea contains many nutrients, consuming it in excess will likely result in a calorie surplus. This type of drink is best enjoyed in moderation.
Honeydew milk tea only contains caffeine if the tea contains caffeine (e.g. green or black tea). This particular recipe contains caffeine, but you can use a decaf tea or replace it with more milk.
Yes, of course! You can replace honeydew with equal parts Christmas melon, Galia melon, canary melon, Crenshaw melon, or ananas melon.
🍴 More tea recipes
If you enjoyed this honeydew boba tea recipe, be sure to check out some other popular bubble teas and lattes:
- Taro milk tea: Purple taro root mixed with milk of your choice, cane sugar, and tapioca pearls.
- Hokkaido milk tea: A Japanese milk tea that’s extra creamy and filled with chewy boba.
- Jasmine milk tea: Creamy and floral jasmine green tea, plant milk, and tapioca balls mixed together.
- Oolong milk tea: Made with bold, toasty oolong and creamy soy milk.
- Thai tea boba: Thai iced tea served over ice and with chewy tapioca balls.
- Matcha latte: A light and energizing green tea drink that is ultra-creamy.
- Butterfly pea tea: A vibrant and visually stunning herbal beverage.
Honeydew Milk Tea (With Boba)
- Medium saucepan
- Small saucepan
- Boba straws
- ½ cup uncooked black tapioca pearls ($0.70)
- 6 cups water
- ⅓ cup cane sugar + ⅓ cup water ($0.03)
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 green tea bags ($0.35)
- 4 cups honeydew cubes ($1.08)
- 1 cup soy, coconut, or oat milk ($0.45)
- 1 teaspoon matcha optional
- 3-4 tablespoons extra simple syrup ($0.02)
- Ice to serve
- Bring the water for the tapioca pearls to boil in a medium-large saucepan. Once boiling, add in the tapioca pearls and lower the heat to just under medium.
- Simmer for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook time will depend on your specific pearls (check the package for instructions — ours take 30 minutes).
- In the meantime, prepare the simple syrup. Add cane sugar and water to a small saucepan and whisk together. Bring to a simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from heat and reserve ¼ cup, then add the rest to a medium mixing bowl.
- Strain the tapioca pearls through a fine-mesh strainer, rinsing them lightly. Transfer the pearls to the mixing bowl with the simple syrup and stir to combine. Set aside for 30-40 minutes to soak.
- While the tapioca pearls are soaking, bring water for the tea to boil, then let it cool for a few minutes (it should be ~175-180°F). Brew the green tea for 2-3 minutes, then remove the bags and let the tea cool down.
- Add the honeydew cubes to a blender followed by the brewed tea, matcha, milk, and 3 tablespoons of simple syrup. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness to your preference.
- Strain the honeydew mixture through a fine-mesh strainer for a smoother drink. If you don't mind a few little bits of melon, skip this step!
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer 3-4 tablespoons of tapioca pearls to a glass or cup. Fill it ½ – ¾ full with ice, then the rest with honeydew milk tea. Happy drinking!
- Max steep time — To ensure you don’t end up with a bitter drink, only steep green tea for a maximum of 3 minutes.
- Prep in advance — To make things quicker, prepare the simple syrup and tea a few hours in advance so they have time to cool.
- Use fresh pearls — Make sure to use the cooked pearls right away for the softest and chewiest boba. When they cool, they start to harden up again.
- Bubble tea straws — Use a bubble tea straw to slurp up tapioca pearls with each sip of honeydew milk tea.
- High-quality tea — Use premium green tea for the best flavors and health benefits.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe to recipe. All prices are in USD.