Milk tea combines the smooth, semi-bitter taste of strong tea with the creamy richness of milk. You can prepare both hot and iced versions of milk tea, and there are a number of additional ways you can prepare the tea to add even more flavor and dimension. Here are some methods worth considering.
Makes 1 serving
[Edit]Hot Milk Tea
- 4 to 6 oz (125 to 185 ml) water
- 2 to 3 tsp (10 to 15 ml) loose-leaf tea (or 2 tea bags)
- 4 oz (125 ml) whole milk or 2% milk
- 1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 ml) sugar or honey
[Edit]Iced Milk Tea
- 2 bags of tea
- 4 to 6 oz (125 to 185 ml) water
- 4 oz (125 ml) sweetened condensed milk
- 4 to 6 oz (125 to 185 ml) ice
[Edit]Hot Milk Tea
- Boil the water. Add the water to a tea kettle and heat it on the stove over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches a boil.
- Many tea kettles will whistle when done, but some do not, so you may need to be vigilant.
- You could also use a small saucepan or electric hot pot to boil the water.
- Note that you can boil water in the microwave, but you should boil the water in short 1 to 2 minute intervals to avoid superheating it. You should also make sure that a wooden chopstick or other microwave-safe object is placed in the water as you heat it.
- Place the tea leaves (or tea bags) and water in a teapot. Measure out your loose tea leaves into a teapot and pour the boiling water over.
- For this type of tea, oolong tea tends to be the favored variety. You could also use green tea or black tea, but white tea tends to be too delicate.
- For a non-traditional yet appealing taste, you could also try an herbal tea blend. Floral teas, like rose tea, are especially suitable. For an herbal tea, you should add about 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of loose-leaf tea. 
- If you prefer a stronger tasting tea, add more leaves rather than steeping the tea for a longer period of time.
- If you do not have a teapot, you could add the leaves directly to a saucepan of boiling water. Turn the heat off when you add the tea leaves to the water, though.
- Let steep. Cover the teapot and let the tea leaves steep for 1 to 5 minutes.
- Green tea should be steeped for roughly 1 minute, while black tea can be steeped for 2 to 3 minutes. Steeping these types of teas for a longer period of time can result in a bitter taste.
- Oolong tea should steep for 3 minutes ideally, but it responds better to being over-steeped and will not take on the same bitter taste that green tea or black tea will develop.
- Herbal tea will need to steep for 5 to 6 minutes and will not turn bitter if left unattended for slightly longer.
- Gradually add the milk. Add the milk to the tea as it steeps, stirring gently after each addition.
- Do not add the milk all at once. Doing so will cause the tea to become watery.
- If possible, avoid letting the milk reach temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius). When milk heats for too long, the denaturation of protein causes it to develop an odor.
- Strain the tea into a teacup or mug. Pour the tea through a tea strainer and into your serving cup.
- If you do not have a tea strainer, a sifter or any fine mesh strainer will work just as well. Some form of strainer is necessary, though, to prevent the tea leaves from entering your cup.
- Add sugar or honey and enjoy. Stir the sweetener of your choice into your tea to sweeten it to your liking. Enjoy the tea while it still remains hot.
- Boil the water. Heat the water in a tea kettle over medium to medium-high heat, allowing it to reach a boil.
- Most tea kettle whistle once your water is ready, but if yours does not, you will need to monitor it visually.
- If you do not have a tea kettle, you could use a small saucepan or electric hot pot to boil the water, instead.
- You could also boil water using your microwave, but there are a few precautions you should take to minimize the risk of superheating the water. Place a non-metallic object, like a set of wooden chopsticks, in the water as it heats, and only use a microwave-safe dish. Heat the water in short intervals, no longer than 1 or 2 minutes in length.
- Place the tea bags in a large mug. After situating the bags in the mug, pour the boiling water over them.
- Black tea works best for iced milk tea prepared in this method, but oolong tea would also work well. Regardless of the tea you choose, it should be fairly strong.
- If using black tea leaves, place them in a mesh tea ball or clean nylon sock to form a “bag” of sorts. Use 2 to 4 tsp (10 to 20 ml) of loose-leaf tea for this method.
- Let the tea steep. The tea should steep for about 2 minutes, unless the directions on your brand of tea specifically state otherwise.
- Since this will be an iced tea, you do not need to worry about the loss of heat caused by keeping the tea exposed as it steeps.
- Add the condensed milk. Remove the tea bags and pour the condensed milk in. Stir until well-incorporated.
- You can vary the amount of condensed milk based on your own individual tastes.
- Note that condensed milk is fairly sweet, so you will not need to add sugar or another sweetener after adding the milk.
- Fill a glass with ice. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes or crushed ice until it is at least half full.
- While filling the glass to the top with ice will cause the tea to be diluted and watery, adding too little ice will not allow the tea to cool down fast enough. The glass should be about 1/2 to 3/4 full.
- Pour the tea over the ice and enjoy. Pour the milk tea from the mug you steeped it in and into your glass of ice. Enjoy immediately.
[Edit]Additional Types of Milk Tea
- Make a simplified version of milk tea. Steep a tea bag of your favorite simple, black tea according to the directions on the box. After removing the bag, add powdered coffee whitener and sugar to taste.
- Prepare Chinese milk tea. For a flavor more traditional to Chinese cuisine, boil the tea for 30 minutes to create a richer taste. Add cold sweetened condensed milk instead of plain milk after straining it into your cup.
- Enjoy a glass of apple milk tea. This fruity, soft tea is prepared blending together apple slices, sugar, milk, prepared black tea, and ice until it forms a smooth slurry.
- Prepare bubble tea. Bubble tea is a special type of milk tea that has chewy tapioca pearls, or boba, mixed in. The tea is sweetened usually made with cream.
- Try almond milk tea for something different. Almond milk tea is a specific type of bubble tea, so it has tapioca pearls mixed into it. This tea also uses homemade almond milk, but store-bought almond milk would make a suitable alternative.
- Try making spicy, rich chai. Masala chai is a drink that originated in India and Pakistan, and it can be prepared with black tea, milk, honey, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom seeds. The tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.
- Consider preparing a cup of ginger tea. Ginger tea is a variation of chai tea. Along with traditional chai flavors, the tea is steeped with fresh ginger.
- Make a standard cup of English tea. While not typically defined as a milk tea, English tea is traditionally served with milk or cream.
- Change things up by making vanilla cream tea. Vanilla cream tea is very similar to English tea, but instead of sugar, you add vanilla extract.
- Use high quality tea.
- If using a traditional teapot, warm it up in advance to prevent your tea from going cold while it steeps. Pour boiling or hot water in the teapot just before steeping the tea. The hot water will warm the teapot up before you begin the steeping stage.
- Use full cream milk for creamier taste.
[Edit]Things You’ll Need
- Tea kettle, small saucepan, or electric hot pot
- Mug, teacup, or serving glass
- Stopwatch or timer