Hong Kong style milk tea originated from England’s colonial rule over Hong Kong, from 1841 to 1997. You can easily find it in any local restaurant or cafe in Hong Kong. This drink is made with black tea and evaporated milk, or sometimes sweetened condensed milk and was heavily influenced by English customs.
In Britain, hot tea is brewed with Ceylon tea leaves and served with sugar and regular milk. But the Hong Kong style milk tea uses a much stronger blend of tea mixed with full-cream condensed milk for extra smoothness and aroma.
The Hong Kong style milk tea is usually blended with several types of tea leaves. Every cafe and restaurant has their own secret recipe. The most common tea leaves are Ceylon and Pu Lei (Yunnan black tea). The flavor of Ceylon is bold and brisk and adds fragrance and a strong taste. The Pu Lei is dark, mellow and rich, perfectly balancing the Ceylon tea. Blending with the evaporated milk reduces the bitterness of the tea and mellows the taste.
The traditional way of making the tea is to brew the loose leaves in a sackcloth (muslin) bag. It extracts the flavor from the tea very well by drawing the hot water repeatedly through the bag. This helps release the tannins and caffeine for an extra smooth texture. Due to the color of the bag and the finished tea, it’s also commonly called “silk stocking tea”.
When making traditional milk tea in the old days even nowadays, the cafes in HongKong use Black and White full cream evaporated milk that is produced in the Netherlands exclusively for Hongkong milk tea. So there’s no way you can find it in the grocery stores in the US and other countries. I have to use the one from Nestle.
You can easily turn it into boba tea with homemade tapioca. It’s my favorite drink of all time!
- 2 tbsp Ceylon loose leaves 12 g
- 2 tbsp Lipton Yellow Label loose leaves 12 g
- 1 tbsp Pu Lei (Pu'er) loose leaves 6 g
- 1 1/4 cups boiling hot water 300 ml
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk 80 ml
- 2 tbsp sugar
Pour the tea leaves into a muslin bag or tea filter and place over a cup or a container.
Bring water to a boil. Pour the water through the tea bag/filter. Repeat this process 3-4 times.
Place the tea bag in the cup and steep for 3-4 minutes.
Alternative method: to make sure the tea leaves fully release its flavor, I pour the tea leaves out of the filter bag into the water and steep for a few minutes, then return the tea to the filter.
Add 2 tbsps sugar to the tea and mix well.
In a cup/mug, add 1 cup of ice cubes and the tea. Stir in 1/3 cup evaporated milk. The common ratio tea to milk is 3:1 if you like it more silky and smooth. Enjoy!