Bubble tea oatmeal, hot and cold

The milk tea here is quite a bit stronger than you’d make for a regular bubble tea, because the oatmeal dilutes the tea flavor even more than the milk (or non-dairy creamer) does. Feel free to adjust to your taste. I borrowed an old tip from Southern sweet tea in reducing the sometimes puckery bitterness from strong tea — a pinch of baking soda is all it takes.


  • For the bubbles:
  • 1/2 cup uncooked black tapioca pearls
  • 12 tbsp sugar
  • For the milk tea:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp loose leaf black tea (or about 4 teabags; see Notes)
  • 34 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 tbsp evaporated milk (or 24 tbsp regular milk)
  • one pinch baking soda
  • For the oatmeal:
  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (try 2 tbsp less for a thinner oatmeal, or 2 tbsp more for a thicker one)
  • More sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk, to serve


  1. First, make the milk tea: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, then turn the head off, add the tea and let steep for 5 minutes. You’re looking for the tea to be fairly dark and strong, the color of black coffee — the tea taste will be diluted by milk and oatmeal later on. For even stronger tea, keep the water simmering while you steep the idea. When done, strain the tea out, then add sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk to taste. (See Notes for non-dairy creamer version.) Finish with a pinch of baking soda to cut any bitterness — a tip I learned from traditional Southern sweet tea.
  2. For overnight oats: Combine the tea mixture with 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats. Add a bit more oatmeal if you’d like a thicker oatmeal, or a bit less if you’d like it thinner. Refrigerate overnight, for about 8-10 hours.
  3. Make the bubbles: Just before you’re ready to eat the overnight oats or make the stovetop oats, make the bubbles according to the package instructions. There are tomes out there on how to get the right texture for the bubbles, and what brand to use — I used Wu Fu Yuan brand, followed the package instructions, and thought it was wonderfully quick and just fine. Once cooked, stir sugar into the bubbles and set aside.
  4. For stovetop oats: Bring the milk tea to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium, then add 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats. (You can also combine the oats with the milk tea at the very beginning — the oatmeal will be a bit thicker that way, but I prefer it for ease.) Cook at a low simmer for about 5 minutes, or until oatmeal is done to your liking and thickens to your desired consistency.
  5. To serve: For either stovetop or overnight oatmeal, divide the oatmeal between two bowls and add your desired amount of bubbles. Top with extra condensed milk or evaporated milk, if desired, and enjoy!


To make the milk tea with non-dairy powdered creamer or powdered milk, use 2 cups water instead of 1 1/2 cups, and add 3-4 tbsp powdered creamer or milk, plus 1-2 tbsp sugar (or as much as you’d like, to taste).

As for the black tea, I find that this works with most any black tea you prefer. Ten Ren is a solid brand and recommends a black tea blend specifically for bubble tea; Pu-Erh, Ceylon, Assam, or English Breakfast would all be great, too, and even Lipton is just fine.