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What Is Taro Tea?

Raw sugar, which can be used to flavor taro tea.
Dates, which are often used to make sugar for taro tea.
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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 12 April 2014
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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.

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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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