In Hong Kong, there’s a wonderful tea drink that is robust and flavorful. It is dark and bold. Mixed with evaporated milk and a touch of sugar, it becomes a creamy, rich tea drink that is so addictive.
A good milk tea is defined by its smoothness. Frothy bubbles on the top of the tea indicates a good ratio of milk fat to tea.
How do I describe it? Let’s compare it to what makes a good cup of espresso. Perfect crema makes an espresso exceptional.
Use Only Authentic Tea Mix
A few years ago, at the Hungry Chilipinos’ headquarters, we tried to duplicate the tea drink by using Lipton teabags. That was a big fail! Our version turned out to taste very weak and watery. Of course, it didn’t even come close to the authentic drink.
We were further schooled when one of our Hong Kong associates brought us a can of Hong Kong Style Milk Tea and told us, “this is what it’s supposed to taste like.”
So, we scoured the internet and found a company that distributed the actual grounded tea blend. We had to sleuth and delve deep into the internet because not many companies sold this proprietary mix to the public.
We finally found a company in Oakland, California that sold the tea blend to businesses. Since we were a business, (we had a café at that time), we snatched up a large volume of the tea blend and their company consultant taught us how to make a perfect cup of tea.
After a few tweaks and turns, our Hong Kong Milk tea was mastered! We even impressed our Hong Kong associate, who volunteered to be our taste tester. The verdict? A big thumbs up!
Tea Sock Is A Must
Another special thing about Hong Kong Style Milk tea is how it’s brewed and pulled. The ground tea is put directly into water and brought to a boil. Once it boils, it will steep for about 9 minutes.
Then, the brewed tea is poured into a “tea sock” and the ground tea and liquid is separated. The tea sock is so important because the tea grounds are so fine, that a regular tea mesh would not work.
Believe us, we tried to pour it into a tea mesh. Of course, a bunch of the tea grounds seeped through and it was a total mess. Suffice to say, the “tea sock” is a must.
There’s also a nickname for Hong Kong Style Milk Tea. Since a “sock” is used to filter the tea, people have dubbed it “sock tea” or in Cantonese, it’s “mutt cha”. Mmm, nothing more delicious than “sock tea.”
Here is a cool video which highlights the popularity of milk tea and also gives a look at the tea socks used to strain the brewed tea ~
Hong Kong Style Milk Tea is served either warm or cold. If you are drinking it warm, the tea temperature should be at 98 degrees and not any hotter. At this temperature, the bold tea flavor is heightened sip after sip.
The 98 degree temperature is achieved when the tea and evaporated milk is pulled back and forth. This action also creates that smooth and frothy texture, which is a must for a perfect milk tea.
Bottled Milk Tea
At the Hungry Chilipinos’ headquarter’s” the other day, we made a batch of chilled Hong Kong Style Milk Tea and wanted to have some fun.
Instead of the standard glass or mug, we found some cool milk bottles and decided to fill them up.
Those bottles worked out so well! It added a really whimsical look to the drink and it was fun drinking out of the bottles as well.
Everyone Drink Up!
As you can tell, we heart Hong Kong Style Milk Tea. It’s definitely not just a tea with a dash of milk. It’s a tea drink that has its own presence and when you drink it, you will know why.
Hong Kong Style Milk Tea
- 2 tablespoons Hong Kong Tea Style Leaf (use extra 1/2 tablespoon for very strong tea)
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer
- Tea sock filter
- Step 1 Put 2 tablespoons tea leaf and 2 cups of cold water in a tea kettle or a regular cooking pot.
- Step 2 Bring tea to a boil.
- Step 3 Turn the heat to simmer/low setting and let the tea leaf simmer for 10 minutes.
- Step 4 After simmering for 10 minutes, use another pot and strain tea into Tea Sock Filter. Squeeze out excess tea from filter.
- Step 5 Mix in sugar and creamer. Stir well until blended.
- Step 6 Add evaporated milk. Stir well until blended.
- Step 7 Makes approximately 3 cups mixed tea.
- Step 8 For an award winning tasting tea — An additional step used by expert Hong Kong Tea makers involve pouring the tea milk mixture back and forth 8 times until frothy. This step makes a very big difference in taste and smoothness and we highly recommended it.