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Enjoying a Cuppa: Hong Kong Style Milk Tea


[TRANSCRIPT: Any references to real people are absolutely intentional, but what they say is completely fabricated. :)]

SHOREL: Hi, I’m your host, Shorel Kleinert and welcome to the Milk Tea show. I’m here to answer a few audience questions and then get down to business making some milk tea. Let’s take our first caller, Collin of Elton, Louisiana. Hi Collin, how are you today?

COLLIN: In need of some caffeine. Just tell me, when did you experience your first milk tea?

SHOREL: Really good question. I’d have to say Hong Kong back in ’99. But it wasn’t really authentic. It was tea-flavored milk with ice in it–

COLLIN: –I’m sorry. When did you experience your first real milk tea?

SHOREL: Also Hong Kong, but it was a decade later. I sat down for breakfast one morning at a small Cafe in Mongkok and ordered a milk tea. I remember it because it came in this really cool nostalgic-looking tea cup. I remember taking a sip and almost gagging at first. It was strong…stout. Really good. We’ve got Bruce on the line from Riverside, California. Hi Bruce!

BRUCE: Hey, bro. So I’m here taking a break from surfing. What do you think of your local versions versus Hong Kong style milk tea?

SHOREL: It’s the difference between your local truck-stop coffee…frappe…slushy thing…and don’t get me wrong, I love truck-stops…and a slow poured shot of espresso. One is just a bunch of sweetened milk with perhaps a little tea discoloring it. The other has depth and richness. You really can’t compare the two.

BRUCE: Sounds good.

SHOREL: Seriously, you make it back over here and I”ll give you an introduction. You may need it with your upcoming doctoral studies. Ok, here’s Kurt from Enterprise, Oregon. What’s your question?

KURT: Great beard, by the way. Looks like you just crawled in off the Lostine. What made you want to learn to make your own milk tea? Sounds exotic.

SHOREL: [laughing] Yeah, I guess it is in a way. Actually, the first time I heard the name milk tea I thought it was some British thing. And you know, it probably does connect with the British colonial rule in Hong Kong. But, really, you know the saying “necessity of the mother of invention?” In my case, it was craving. I enjoyed the Hong Kong milk tea so much that I found myself looking throughout our city to find a good cup. Interestingly enough, we did find a restaurant that served them. Authentically made.  But at RMB11 per cup, I certainly couldn’t indulge in a daily habit. So I said to myself, “I can make this.” Why not? I got on Taobao, found a milk tea supply company, ordered a few basic ingredients…and the rest was history. Actually finding the right recipe took some research and lots of experimentation…Thanks and good question, Kurt. We’ll take one final question. Let’s see…Ryan of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

RYAN: Can you tell us what you’ve learned through your milk tea adventures? I thought about moving to Vancouver and starting a milk tea cafe…so, do you have any tips?

SHOREL: Actually, I can do better than that. How about I teach you to make your own Hong-Kong style milk tea?

Hong Kong Style Milk Tea


Tea Pot (You’ll need a tall one to fit the…)
Cotton Tea strainer


100g – Hong Kong Blend of Milk Tea (No, you can’t just use lipton tea bags or any ol’ black tea blend. This blend has just the right flavor.)
12 cups – Filtered Water
Black & White Evaporated Milk


1. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat.

2. Place the tea in filter, immerse in the water, put the lid on and steep in for 10 minutes. (I put the filter in first, then use a chopstick to stir it into the water so that all the tea is swimming.)

4. Using another similar sized container. Pour the water back and forth through the tea 4 times. Watch this video.

5. Put the strainer back into the tea pot, lid on and steep another 10 minutes.

6. Remove the strainer. You now have the tea concentrate.

7. Make a cup and savor. My perfect cup is 200g tea, 40g Black and White milk and 20g white sugar. Not too sweet. Rich and creamy. I store the remaining tea in the fridge and just heat up a cup as I need.


– For Iced HK-style tea, mix a cup as per the above ratio, then place the cup into a larger container of ice. This ice-water bath will cool the milk tea without watering it down.

– Hong Kong milk tea is quite heavily caffeinated. I had two cups one morning…and was buzzing the rest of the day. Careful.

– The tea will change color in the fridge (a milky color), probably from the oils cooling. No harm done.

– HK Milk tea is also sometimes called stocking or pantyhose tea, because the cotton gets tanned the color of a pantyhose. Please do not use your stockings to brew this tea.






2011-12-27@16-50-38 2011-12-27@16-50-51

Straining, with a baby on hip. Train ’em early.


Taste off between a common evaporated milk used in Singapore and Malaysia…and the B&W used in HK.

The Double Happiness has palm oil added to it.


All said and done, the B&W was noticeably creamier and came out a clear winner. This one truly is richer. Don’t skimp.

Ok, now you know how to make your own Hong Kong style milk tea.

Thanks for joining us today.  Enjoy the journey and see you on the other side!

2 comments to Enjoying a Cuppa: Hong Kong Style Milk Tea

  • Jen

    I went around for months thinking something was wrong with me and that I was the only one in this city who doesn’t like milk tea. It wasn’t that I didn’t like milk tea, it’s just that I hadn’t tried it Hong Kong style.

    I amen the tip to not put ice in it but rather put ice and the cup in a bowl to chill.

    I’m sure you can get those fun, colorful bendy straws on taobao too =)

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