My husband and I love this 3:15 brand roasted milk tea* with these 5 minute boba since we’re eating at home out of an abundance of caution during the first few months of the pandemic. Each roasted tea bag contains 11g of sugar. I use cold water instead of steeping the tea bag in hot water. For the best flavor per drink, I use 2 roasted tea bags and 1 cup cold water mixed well using a cocktail shaker.
Since it’s not as cost effective to use 2 roasted tea bags I’ve sometimes use 1 roasted tea bag with 1 stick of OWL 3-in-1 instant tea mix**. I’ve also tried steeping the tea bags in hot water and letting it cool in the refrigerator in advance but the taste is similar to if you started with cold water.
* I recently bought a box of 10 3:15 brand original milk flavor tea bags for $4.29 at my local Chinese grocery store. I also noticed that a box of 12 in the original flavor is $5.99 at HMart via instacart. Their original milk tea flavor contains 12g of sugar and the flavor tastes good but it’s a bit more watered down. Again it tastes best if you double up on the tea bags per 1 cup of water.
**Alternatives to the OWL tea mix that I’ve also tried are 1 packet of this GINO milk tea powder (my husband prefers this powder to the OWL tea mix), 2 tablespoons of this Milkman’s milk tea powder or 1 tablespoon of this Bossen milk tea powder.
In my opinion, the Bosson milk tea powder (available via Bossen’s direct website here) smells like Lipton’s iced tea mix . UPS Ground shipping for purchasing directly from Bossen is $10 which is almost the price of one 2.2 pound bag. Using 3.5 tbsp of the Bossen powder for 1 cup of cold water plus ice tastes decent to me but the powder has a strong tea taste and it doesn’t taste not very sweet even though one serving of the Bossen powder mix contains 44g of sugar. It tastes sweeter if you use 1 cup of 1% milk in place of water.
I’ve also tried making bubble tea using 2 sticks of this OWL 3-in-1 instant tea mix (each serving has 10g of sugar) which tastes best with 1 cup of 1% milk and ice. Note that when I ordered the OWL tea mix via Amazon I was able to purchase 3 packs for $29.99 (each package contains 30 sticks so 90 sticks for $29.99).
If I had to choose only one milk tea mix to recommend then I prefer the 3:15 brand roasted milk tea because the flavor rivals that of my favorite Taiwanese bubble tea chains. Bubble tea is very personalized and my usual in store order is oolong milk tea, 0% sugar with herbal jelly (also known as quilinggao) and less ice.
When making bubble tea at home I like to use the Companion brand of Taiwanese style herbal jelly which is very soft and silky compared to other brands such as Chin Chin which has a firmer texture. The jelly also tastes good on it’s own served chilled with sugar/honey flavored water.
If we eat out our favorite bubble tea shops are Shinmio Tea (local), Kung Fu Tea and Chatime.