Ah, milk tea – the quintessential beverage of childhood memories, and afternoon pick-me-ups. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the classic variation or a newcomer to the world of tea, there’s no denying the allure of a perfectly brewed cup of milk tea.
And, my friends, today we’re going back to basics with a traditional milk tea (also known as Hong Kong-style milk tea) recipe that’ll transport you straight to the heart of tea culture.
So, put on your comfiest tea cosies and get ready to indulge in a little nostalgia, as we take a deep dive into the world of classic milk tea. In this post you’ll find everything you need, from choosing the right tea leaves to the perfect ratio of milk to tea, and even some tips and tricks to elevate your brew game.
You’ll be sipping on a delicious cup of milk tea that’ll make you feel like you’re sitting in the garden of your grandparents’ house, surrounded by the warmth and love of family.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Then, let’s get started!
Traditional | Classic Milk Tea Recipe
- Large pot
- Medium saucepan
- Measuring cups (1 cup and 1/4 cup)
- Measuring spoons (tablespoon and teaspoon)
- Glasses or mugs
- Blender (optional)
- 2 tea bags black tea
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
- Ice cubes
- Optional: honey or sugar syrup for sweetness adjustment
- Start by boiling the water in a large pot.
- While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the tapioca pearls according to package instructions. Rinse them in cold water, then soak them in a mixture of equal parts water and sugar for at least 30 minutes. Drain and rinse the pearls again before using them.
- Once the water is boiling, remove it from heat and add the tea bags. Let them steep for 3-5 minutes, or until the desired strength of tea flavor is achieved.
- Fill a medium saucepan with milk and place it over low heat. Warm the milk until it’s hot but not boiling.
- Add the sugar to the warm milk and stir until it’s fully dissolved.
- Remove the tea bags from the pot and discard them. Pour the tea into a strainer placed over a large bowl or container. Discard any loose tea leaves or sediment.
- Stir the tapioca pearls into the tea and let them soak for a few minutes. This will allow them to absorb some of the tea flavor.
- To serve, pour the tea and tapioca pearls into glasses or mugs filled with ice cubes. You can blend the tea and pearls together using a blender if desired.
- Adjust the sweetness level to taste using honey or sugar syrup. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Traditional Milk Tea Recipe, also known as Hong Kong-style milk tea, is a strong and rich tea beverage that is often enjoyed with various types of food.
Here’s a comprehensive list of some common foods that pair well with Traditional Milk Tea Recipe:
Remember, feel free to experiment with different combinations to find your perfect pairing!
Tips for a great Milk Tea:
Can I use loose leaf tea instead of tea bags?
Yes, absolutely! Simply steep 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea per 8 ounces of water.
What type of sugar works best for this recipe?
Granulated white sugar is ideal because it dissolves quickly and evenly. However, feel free to experiment with brown sugar or raw sugar for a slightly different flavor profile.
How do I adjust the sweetness level without using honey or sugar syrup?
You can add more or fewer tapioca pearls to suit your taste preferences. The pearls absorb some of the tea’s natural bitterness, which affects the overall sweetness.
What type of tea leaves should I use for this recipe?
For traditional milk tea, it’s best to use black tea leaves. You can use any variety of black tea leaves you like, but Assam tea leaves are a popular choice because they have a strong flavor that holds up well against the addition of milk and sugar.
How much tea should I use per cup of water?
The general rule of thumb for making tea is to use one teaspoon of loose-leaf tea or one tea bag for every 8 ounces (240 ml) of water. So for a 3-cup (720 ml) batch of milk tea, you would need 3 teaspoons of loose-leaf tea or 3 tea bags.
Should I use whole milk, skim milk, or a non-dairy milk alternative?
Whole milk is traditional in milk tea, but you can also use skim milk if you prefer a lower-fat version. Non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk or soy milk work too, but keep in mind that they may affect the flavor slightly.
Can I add sugar to taste while the tea is still hot?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, many people find that adding sugar to the tea while it’s still hot helps dissolve the sugar more evenly throughout the drink. Just stir until the sugar has fully dissolved before adding ice cubes.
Is there an easy way to froth the milk without using a frothing pitcher?
Yes, there is! One method is to heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk it vigorously with a wire whisk just before it reaches boiling point. This will create a nice foamy texture on top.
Alternatively, you can shake milk vigorously in a sealed jar or bottle for about 15 seconds to froth it.
Help! My milk tea tastes bitter! What went wrong?
There could be several reasons why your milk tea tastes bitter. Maybe the tea leaves were steeped for too long, or maybe the tea wasn’t strained properly before adding milk.
Another possibility is that the tea was made with water that was too hot – try brewing the tea with water at around 190°F (88°C) next time.
Finally, check whether the tea leaves used were old or low quality; fresh high-quality tea leaves should yield a smoother flavor.