While you may be familiar with black milk tea, oolong milk tea is not something you often stumble upon in cafes or restaurants. Which is quite a shame, actually. Oolong tea is a wonderful choice for making a milk tea.
What is oolong milk tea?
Oolong milk tea can be made in different ways. The most popular one may be boba or bubble tea, made with tapioca pearls. This type originates from Taiwan, and it’s very popular. Bubble tea can be made with any type of tea and comes in hundreds of flavors. The other type of oolong tea is similar to regular milk tea – made with pure tea leaves, milk and sugar. Although boba milk tea can be both hot and cold, cold is the more usual way of serving it. On the other hand, regular milk tea will taste better hot.
Extra idea: Another great way of making a milk drink with oolong tea is making an oolong tea syrup first, then mixing it with milk and ice cream to make a unique milkshake.
Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized type of tea that can be more or less oxidized. Less oxidation will make oolong more similar to green tea, and more oxidation will move it closer to black tea. Oolong tea is special for its unique range of aromas – from very fruity to very floral. Some oolong teas can mimic flavors in such a way you may even think there are other natural or artificial flavors present in your tea leaves. However, not all oolong teas have a strong flavor – some are more delicate and may not be the best choice for making milk tea. For making the best oolong milk tea, choose teas with more body, with darker color and stronger flavor.
Caffeine level in milk tea
Caffeine in a cup of tea depends on many factors – from tea plant to growing conditions, harvesting and processing methods, and brewing. Oolong tea can have caffeine content lower than green tea, or even higher than some black teas. Expect moderate levels of caffeine.
How to make a simple oolong milk tea
Simple oolong milk tea is very easy to make. Think of a simple chai, only instead of black tea you will be using oolong tea. This recipe is enough for one larges cup of milk tea.
You will need:
- 2-3 teaspoons of Red Robe tea or a similar type (Qi Lan, White Tipped Oolong, Formosa Oolong)
- 1 ½ cups of water
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or honey
- Add water to a small saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil and reduce to medium-low fire.
- Add tea leaves and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a cup.
- In another saucepan, heat the milk, but don’t let it boil.
- Use a hand frother to make a froth.
- Pour milk into a cup.
- Add a sweetener.
How to make a simple boba oolong milk iced tea
Making boba oolong milk tea may require a bit more of time, but is definitely worth it if you enjoy novelty drinks and unique textures. You can buy already made black tapioca pearls and significantly reduce the time for making boba tea. This recipe is enough for 2 glasses of milk tea.
You will need:
- 1 cup of water
- 3-4 teaspoons of oolong tea
- A few spoons of honey
- A cup of black tapioca pearls
- Water for boiling tapioca
- 1-2 cups of whole milk
- Ice cubes
- Cook tapioca pearls following the instructions on the packaging.
- When they have floated to the top, strain and put under running cold water.
- Steep the tea in one cup of boiled water for around 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea into tall glasses.
- Add honey, cold milk and top up with ice.
- And 1-2 spoons of tapioca pearls per glass.
- Serve with a big straw.
Want to add more flavor to oolong milk tea?
Try adding other ingredients to spice up your recipe. For example, add 1 star anise, half of crushed cinnamon stick and a small piece of fresh ginger in the first step of the previous recipe. Or try adding fruits or even a teaspoon of jam instead of a sweetener to oolong tea with fruity undertones. Alternatively flavored blends can give even more flavor and charm to milk teas. Try Crème Brulee or Spiced oolong.
How long do you steep?
To make the best oolong milk tea, boiling tea leaves in water may give a better taste than simply brewing them. If there is any bitterness present in tea leaves, it will be balanced with milk and a sweetener. Add tea leaves in boiling water and simmer or medium-low fire for 10 minutes. Alternatively, steep them in hot water at around 203°F for 10 minutes. Add an extra teaspoon of leaves to intensify the flavor.
Should you use oolong tea bags?
Although oolong tea is available in tea bags too, loose oolong tea leaves will always contain more flavor – especially oolong loose leaf tea. Oolong is not not as widely available in tea bags as other type of tea, such as green or black.
Which sweeteners are the best for oolong milk teas?
You can use many different sweeteners in oolong milk tea. Because oolong teas can often have a note of honey, brown sugar, caramel or ripe fruits, brown sugar, honey and simple syrup all be wonderful choices for enhancing the tea flavor, reducing potential bitterness and adding sweetness.