Matcha-Black Sesame Milk Tea with Mini Tapioca Pearls

Recipe and post by Tatiana Bautista. Follow her on Instagram @tatbautista.

Matcha-black sesame milk tea recipe created by Tatiana Bautista, as part of AAPIHM collaboration.

Growing up, black sesame was the star of my favorite dim sum dish: zi maa gyun. Like most Asian desserts, it was “not too sweet”, the highest of compliments. The flavor of sweetened black sesame is a warm reminder of the many Sundays I spent eating dim sum with my extended family, where I was often found unraveling each roll of zi maa gyun (my Chinese-American version of a fruit roll-up, if you will) at the table. 

Black sesame has always been a favorite flavor of mine to play with in the kitchen. Black sesame and matcha are two earthy and bittersweet flavors that go hand-in-hand. Here, the two flavors team up in a refreshing, homemade milk tea with mini tapioca pearls. (They’re tiny enough to fit through a standard straw, if you don’t have a wider boba straw at home!)

Matcha-Black Sesame Milk Tea with Mini Tapioca Pearls

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 5 min

Serves: 2


Tapioca Pearls

  • 1/8 cup mini tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup water

Brown Sugar Syrup

  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

Black Sesame Milk


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1:1 simple syrup, optional


  • Ice


  1. In a small pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add tapioca pearls and cook for 10 minutes. At this point, the pearls will still look opaque. Transfer to a small bowl and cover for 20 minutes. (This will help the pearls to continue to cook, and eventually turn translucent when done.) 
  2. While the tapioca pearls are resting, prepare the remaining drink components. 
  3. Stir or whisk milk and black sesame crunchy butter until well combined. Add simple syrup to taste, about 1 teaspoon at a time. Set aside. 
  4. Heat ⅓ cup water to just below boiling, and combine with matcha in a small bowl (or matcha bowl). Whisk until well combined. Add simple syrup to taste, about 1 teaspoon at a time. Set aside. 
  5. In a small pot, bring ⅛ cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and cook until brown sugar is fully dissolved. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the stove. 
  6. Once the tapioca pearls are fully cooked, strain with a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. 
  7. Add the strained tapioca pearls to the brown sugar syrup, and simmer over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  8. To assemble, add a spoonful or two of brown sugar-tapioca pearls to an 8-ounce glass. Add ice cubes. Pour in half the black sesame milk. Then, carefully pour matcha over the black sesame milk. Serve with a straw and enjoy!

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Tatiana Bautista is a home cook-baker-writer based in New York. She’s currently a project manager at King Arthur Baking Company, and has previously worked as an editor at Taste and Punch. In 2020, she co-founded Bowl Cut Table, a culturally-minded cooking collective that released assorted dessert boxes inspired by their Asian American heritage and shared experiences. The proceeds of each box were donated to local organizations.


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