If you love bubble tea, you may quite familiar with brown sugar syrup. That consistent brown syrup creates so many possibilities for bubble milk tea. It gives lovely and beautiful tiger strips for tiger milk tea. Let’s look inside it and found what is it and how to make the brown sugar syrup for boba with super-simple steps.

brown sugar syrup|ohsweetcups.com

What’s brown sugar syrup

Brown sugar syrup is a sweetener for lots of drinks, desserts and cocktails, and coffee drinks. It can add a sweet taste and a lovely caramelized color.    

What brown sugar syrup is made of

To make brown sugar syrup at home, you will only need two ingredients: brown sugar and water. That’s all. But you can add some add on to it for extra flavors.

What’s brown sugar

Brown sugar made from granulated white sugar with molasses is a type of sugar that is commonly used in baking and cooking. It is featured by its brown color and a slightly caramelized flavor. The amount of molasses added to the sugar determines the darkness and flavor of the brown sugar. The more molasses added, the dark the sugar will be.

If you want a richer taste, choose the type with dark color.

History of brown sugar syrup

Since it is widely used in lots of countries, the creator of brown sugar syrup is not clear. However, it is believed to have originated in Asia, where sweetened drinks made with tapioca pearls and sugar syrups have been popular for many years. Brown sugar syrup is a common ingredient in bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink that became popular in the 1980s and has since spread around the world. Now, brown sugar syrup has become a popular sweetener for cocktails, coffee drinks, sauces, and desserts.

What does brown sugar syrup taste like

I am quite caught by the taste of brown sugar syrup. Compared with regular simple syrup made from white sugar, it has a much richer and more complex flavor. For me, I think it is a little bit less sweet than simple syrup. It is very easy to find the molasses notes in this syrup.


It is popular not only because of the taste but also the color.

The exact color can vary depending on the type of brown sugar used (light or dark) and the consistency. But in general, it has a lovely amber color.

This deep amber color, similar to honey or maple syrup but usually darker makes it lovely coloring ingredients for milk teas.

brown sugar syrup|ohsweetcups.com

How to use

  • You can use the syrup to add a sweet taste to desserts, ice creams, and coffee drinks.
  • Another common usage of brown sugar syrup is to coat cooked boba pearls to make brown sugar boba or other dirty boba drinks.
  • Or you can mix it with milk and tea to make a lovely milk tea without boba pearls.
brown sugar bubble tea
boba pearls in brown sugar syrup

Consistency: thick vs thin

The consistency of brown sugar syrup can be adjusted by the water amount as well as the simmering time. You need to determine the consistency of your brown sugar syrup can depending on the recipe and how it is prepared.

The common consistency is similar to honey. But if you plan to use it as a topping for desserts like pancakes or waffles or as sweeter for drinks and coffee, use thin brown sugar syrup.

However, for trips of tiger milk tea also named dirty milk tea, we will need a thick consistency similar to oyster sauce.  I am making brown sugar syrup for boba or bubble tea, then you may find it has a thick consistency. With this consistency, it forms beautiful strips on the serving glass of milk tea.

brown sugar syrup

Simmer brown sugar syrup with boba

There is a shortcut way of making brown sugar syrup if the final purpose is to coat boba-simmering along with the boba pearls. This method is created by Taiwanese boba milk tea brands. And I found this super convenient too. Here is how to do this.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boiling and then place the boba pearls in.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes. Then use a strainer to transfer the boba pearls out. Strain if necessary.
  3. In a small sauce pot, add 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water, then place the boba pearls in, continuing to simmer for 5 minutes over the middle fire.

Then you will get a thick mixture of brown sugar syrup and boba pearls.

brown sugar syrup
a mixture of brown sugar syrup and boba pearls

Then you can add the mixture into serving cups and then rotate to get strips or dirty looking of bubble tea.

brown sugar syrup|ohsweetcups.com
brown sugar syrup

Brown sugar syrup

Brown sugar syrup for boba
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate Video
Servings: 10
Calories: 84kcal


Regular brown sugar syrup

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water


  • Add brown sugar and water in a sauce pot.
    brown sugar syrup
  • Stir to make sure the sugar is not attached at the bottom. Heat over middle fire and it starts to boiling.
  • Slow down the fire to middle and continue heating for 5 to 10 minutes depending on desired consistency.  
    brown sugar syrup
  • Set aside and wait for it to cool down.  Transfer to air-tight container and store in fridge.
    brown sugar syrup|ohsweetcups.com



Tips for brown sugar syrup for boba 
  • if you want a thick brown sugar syrup in a quick time, decrease the water amount and use 1/2 cup of water only.   
  • another way is to simmer the mixture for longer until it reaches your desired consistency. But check the consistency from time to time at the last stage.


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 0.03g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 21g | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.2mg


The brown sugar syrup can have extra flavors by adding extra add-ons.

  • Vanilla extract: to get your brown sugar syrup with a faint aroma of vanilla, add around a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the recipe above.
  • Cinnamon: you can use either a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon to warm up the syrup. But just a little bit.  
  •  Butter: butter can enhance the aroma of the brown syrup.
  • Ginger: ginger is a warm and spicy spice. You can simmer the syrup with a small piece of ginger.

Storage Tips

For healthy and long storage, make sure your airtight container is completely clean and dry.  Either Mason jars or glass bottles with a lid are great to store tools.

Transfer the syrup after it becomes cool. Covered and placed in the fridge. The shelf life of homemade syrup can be up to 1 month.

Note: the syrup may become a little bit thicker after chilling, so next time before using, warm it up slightly if necessary.

brown sugar syrup|ohsweetcups.com


Why molasses provides the caramelized flavor

The caramelized flavor is the part that I am fascinated about with brown sugar syrup. So learn some basics about why this happens.  Molasses provides a caramelized flavor because it is a byproduct of the sugar refining process that contains a high concentration of sugar and minerals.  Molasses is a thick and dark syrup that are produced at the first boiling stage of original sugar juice, maybe sugar cane or beets. So it keeps the most original minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium and other compounds including crosse, glucose and fructose.
So compared with white sugar, brown sugar that contains molasses has more caramelized.   

Can I make brown sugar syrup without brown sugar?

Using brown sugar is the most convenient way.  But if you don’t have some, you might use white sugar +molasse.

Brown sugar syrup vs simple syrup.

Brown sugar syrup is a type of simple syrup but it is made from brown sugar while simple syrup is made from white sugar.  Personally, I love brown sugar better because it contains more flavors.  

This is our guide to homemade brown sugar syrup for boba and milk teas. You can choose a thinner texture if it is mainly applied to desserts, ice creams, and coffee.

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