Is there anything more soothing than a cup of warm milk tea during cool autumn days? Or any days in fact. From China to Malaysia, India and Oman, Somalia and the tops of the Himalayan Plateau, milk tea is the ultimate warming and soothing drink in the world. Learn about different types of milk tea and try out our milk tea recipes to make the best authentic cup at home.
Milk Tea Recipes from around the World
The most popular milk teas come from Taiwan and India-Boba or Bubble Milk Tea and Indian Chai Tea are already a common assortment of many cafes, tea shops and restaurants. Boba Milk Tea was invented only about 30 years ago in Taiwan and managed to win over hearts of many tea and drinkers. It’s available in all colors, contains tapioca pearls, real tea, milk and usually fruit syrups. Options for making Boba Milk tea are countless, and you can use almost any type of tea and any fruit flavor you wish. In fact, nowadays, Bubble Teas don’t always include real tea. Even tapioca pearls may be replaced with other ingredients like fruit jelly. Boba Milk Tea can be served hot or cold, with cold types very popular during summer.
Unlike Boba Tea, Chai Tea should be hot. The only ingredient authentic types share is the real black tea. Chai is always made with milk, while for Boba Tea you may use may different creamers, milk or half and half. The tea for making those two teas is also different. While Chai needs a strong black tea like Assam, Boba might taste better with milder black leaves. When Chai Milk Tea is made with a mix of traditional spices, it is called Chai Masala, although nowadays, the word Chai usually implies spices too. An important part of making a real authentic drink is adding the right amount of spices, whole milk and sugar.
However, India is not the only country with the tradition of drinking chai. Many countries have their own authentic and traditional versions–from Kenya to Yemen. Yemen Milk Tea is usually made with evaporated and condensed milk, and Kenyan with more milk and sugar than Indian Chai, and often without spices, served at room temperature.
Teh Tarik is the Malaysian take on pulled tea, with strong black tea and condensed milk. It’s very similar to Chai, however, it contains condensed or evaporated milk and no spices.
Hong Kong Milk Tea
Hong Kong milk tea is a tasty drink made of evaporated milk and several types of black tea, sometimes including pu’erh tea too. The common blend includes Orange Pekoe, Broken Leaf and Earl Grey. Not surprisingly, milk tea offer in Hong Kong doesn’t stop here. Another unusual tea is a blend of milk, tea and coffee called Yuenyeung, made by mixing a part of coffee with almost two parts of milk black tea. As Yuenyeung is not an old traditional recipe but quite a new invention, the choice of milk ranges from fresh whole milk to half and half and evaporated milk.
Other Milk Teas from Around the World
The most popular milk green tea is Japanese Matcha Latte. It’s often served in a latte style, with foam on the top. Matcha Latte doesn’t need any sugar, because the green tea powder has a lot of flavor and freshness that don’t need any sweetener. Butter Tea, a traditional Tibetan drink, is made with pu’erh tea, salt and yak butter, or sometimes yak milk. Similar version appeared a few years ago in the U.S., called Bulletproof Tea, with tea, oil and butter blended into a brew very popular for keto dieters. Another type of Keto Milk Tea uses heavy cream, an ingredient that is rarely used for other milk tea types. The most beautiful milk tea in the world is very likely Kashmiri Chai, a pink milk tea made with Gunpowder green tea and baking soda.
How to Make the Best Milk Tea
To make the best Milk Tea, you will need to choose both tea and milk carefully. Strong broken leaf black teas are usually the best choice because their robust flavor will blend well with additional ingredients. CTC types with very small leaves, or even tea dust in tea bags can be used too. A great option for making a herbal caffeine free milk tea is rooibos, also with a strong robust flavor, but a lot of sweetness and no bitterness at all. Unlike most herbal teas, rooibos can handle both milk and spices.
Boba Milk Tea Recipe (Bubble Tea)
- 1 cup of water
- 3-4 teaspoons of black tea
- A few spoons of sugar syrup
- A cup of black tapioca pearls
- Water for boiling tapioca
- 1-2 cups of whole milk
- Ice cubes
Cook tapioca pearls following instructions on the packaging. Although you may use different pearls, opt for medium-sized ones. When they all floated to the top, strain and put under running cold water. Either mix them with sugar syrup or leave as they are and add all ingredient separately. You can replace sugar syrup with a mix of brown sugar and water, honey, fruit syrups, etc.
Steep the tea in one cup of boiled water for around 5-10 minutes and strain. You can adjust the amount of tea leaves or choose other tea types. Flavored teas are a wonderful option for making Boba Milk Tea, as they will give you a chance to try hundreds of different flavors combined with milk.
Pour the tea evenly into two-three cups evenly. Add syrup if you haven’t mixed it with pearls. Add milk and 1-2 spoons of tapioca pearls. If you want your Boba Tea cold, add ice cubes before adding tapioca pearls. Serve with a big straw.
- If you are looking for tea that’s less of a drink and more of a dessert,
- if you want to experiment with flavors, milk types, tea types or tapioca pearls or
- prefer to drink your milk tea cold
Teh Tarik Recipe
- 2 teaspoons of Nuwara Eliya black tea
- 2 cups of water
- 2-4 spoons of sweet condensed milk
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add tea leaves. Cover and steep for about 5-10 minutes. Strain and add condensed milk. As this is a pulled tea, pouring from one cup to the other is important to create the perfect texture and foam. Pour the milk tea from one cup into another for at least 4-5 times before serving.
- if you want a very simple sweet milk tea
- if you don’t have too much time
Best Chai Milk Tea Recipe
- 1 inch of fresh ginger
- 2-5 cloves
- 5-8 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon of crushed cinnamon bark
- 2 spoons of Assam black tea
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1-3 spoons of brown sugar
With Chai, there are many authentic recipes, with each region having different ratios and types of spices. You may replace fresh ginger with the powdered one, but fresh ingredients will always give a better flavor. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the spices to extract as much flavor as possible.
Add water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the fire and add spices and tea leaves. Simmer for a minute or two, then add milk. Simmer for around 20 minutes. Add sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. Remove from fire and strain.
- If you want the most warming milk tea in the world
- If you love spices
Need more ideas on how to make Chai Tea Latte? Find them here: 5 Easy Homemade Chai Tea Latte Recipes
Hong Kong Milk Tea Recipe
- 2 ½ to 3 cups of hot water
- 3 teaspoons of Orange Pekoe tea and 3 teaspoons of Blue Lady Grey or a combination of other strong Indian or Sri Lankan black teas
- ¼-1/3 cup of evaporated milk per serving
- ½ – 1 teaspoon of condensed milk per serving or sugar/sweetener to taste
The choice of tea leaves for Hong Kong Milk Tea is very important. This tea is the boldest, the strongest and the darkest of all mentioned milk teas. Choose tea types with broken small leaves or crush the leaves yourself. Add about 2 ½ to 3 cups of hot water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the fire and add tea leaves. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain the tea and mix with milk. You can enhance the flavor by pouring the tea from one cup into the other.
- If you want a strong and bold milk tea
- If you want to experiment with tea types