I tend to fall in love with every local beverage of each country that I visit, and this particular drink is no exception. Historically, the Hong Kong milk tea was an invention of necessity to feed the masses, a version of the British-style tea with milk but cut with coffee.
This Milk Tea Stands Out From Others
The well-known signature element of Hong Kong milk tea ( 鴛鴦 – “Yuanyuang” in Mandarin and “yuenyeung” in Cantonese) is a base of brewed black tea. Strong Ceylon tea leaves brewed with boiling hot water and steeped for a long time with a silk tea sock create the distinct, slightly bitter aftertaste. Brewed black coffee, the most effective element, finishes the ingredient list. Coffee to me elevates milk tea, adding another dimension and a caffeine advantage over other milk teas around the world.
The added condensed milk and cream make for an intense sugar and caffeine bomb. This tea is best enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon. Otherwise, get ready for an all-nighter – unless that is what you are looking for. This tea can also be served hot or cold. I visited Hong Kong multiple times during the summer months, so the local milk teas I drank included ice.
Recreating Hong Kong Milk Tea in Your Kitchen
I doubt you have a regular old silk tea sock hanging around or even Ceylon loose leaf leaves to brew. I managed to recreate an authentic-tasting Hong Kong milk tea recipe with Lipton tea bags, french-pressed coffee, condensed milk, and full-fat milk. This simple recipe starts as a single serving because I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly have masses to feed. The recipe is perfect for a quick whip-up to accompany a lazy afternoon curled up with a book.
This milk tea echoes that bitter, yet sweet aftertaste and will definitely keep you awake all day. I try not to make these too often because of how addicting they can be. Paired with creamy eggs and toast this rounds out a luscious breakfast.
Sweets to Pair
If you want to double-down on sweets, try pairing the milk tea with the following: yema tarts, black sesame seeds, and Spanish bread.
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Hong Kong Style Milk Tea for One
- 3 bags Lipton Black Tea (Yellow Label)
- 1¼ cups boiling hot water
- 1 to 1½ tablespoon condensed milk (to taste)
- 2 tablespoon milk (evaporated or whole)
- 1 to 2 tablespoon coffee (to taste)
- Put three bags in boiling water and let steep for no less than 5 minutes
- Remove tea bags and mix in condensed milk
- Add coffee and milk, stir well
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