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What Is Taro Tea?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 16, 2024
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Taro tea is generally a flavor of bubble tea made from taro root powder, sugar, green tea, and black or white tapioca pearls. This beverage is very popular in Asia and is gaining in popularity in the rest of the developed world. Many coffee shops sell taro tea in cups equipped with very large straws so customers can suck up the tapioca pearls through them, along with the tea. The subtle, sweet flavor of the taro root usually makes this tea taste richer, and can also act as the vehicle for a number of different tea flavorings.

Commercial manufacturers often sell pre-sweetened taro tea powders online and in specialty coffee shops. These mixes usually include powdered taro root, green tea matcha powder, sugar, and flavoring extracts, like vanilla or honey. Consumers may simply stir a spoonful or two of the powder into a glass of water or milk and enjoy. The tapioca pearls aren’t generally added to pre-made mixes, so consumers may choose whether or not to add them. The pearls don’t usually add extra nutrition, they’re basically little pasta balls made from cornstarch that give the tea bulk and substance.

Those who want to know exactly what’s in their taro tea can purchase pure taro powder and create their own tea mix from it. Homemade taro tea usually starts with 1 or 2 parts chilled green tea and a spoonful or two of taro powder. Next comes the sweetener and any added flavorings. Some cooks may want to go all natural and use honey, agave nectar, or date sugar. Others may prefer white or raw sugar, sucralose, or saccharine. Extracts, like vanilla or almond, may be added and stirred in next.

Milk is almost always included in taro tea drinks. Most recipes call for dairy milk or cream, but home cooks may use any kind of milk they like. Low-fat milk is perfectly fine, as are non-dairy milks. Cooks can even play with taro tea flavors by adding coconut milk to one batch of tea and almond milk to the next. Flavored coffee creamers offer a very wide array of flavors for cooks to mix and match.

The tapioca pearls may or may not be used, depending on the cook’s preferences. Omitting them turns taro tea into a beverage rather than a snack, lowering the calories significantly. If the pearls are to be used, however, they should be carefully boiled and chilled according to package directions before they’re added to the tea. The serving cup should then only be filled about half full of tea, leaving plenty of room for the pearls.

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Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On Jun 20, 2014

I use a taro powder mix to make bubble tea at home and I love it. It tastes just as good as the store bought kind and costs much less.

I make mine with milk and tapioca pearls. Sometimes I make it with green tea too because the mix actually doesn't have any tea. I think that's the case with many taro teas on the market. Although the directions say to mix with water, I suggest mixing it with milk or tea because it tastes much better that way.

By ddljohn — On Jun 20, 2014

@bluedolphin-- Taro is a tuber or a root vegetable. It's sort of like potatoes and in Asia, it's mostly eaten as we eat potatoes.

Taro does have health benefits. First of all, it's nutritious and rich in fiber and antioxidants. It's also believed to lower cholesterol, so it can help prevent heart disease.

These are the benefits of taro but I'm not sure how much of these benefits are found in taro tea. The tea is made with taro root powder. The other ingredients are important too. I don't think that the commercial varieties are very healthy, but taro tea made at home probably is.

By bluedolphin — On Jun 19, 2014

What is taro exactly? And does taro tea have any health benefits? It sounds delicious and if it also has health benefits, that would be a plus.

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