Milk tea is a beverage consumed all over the world. In its simplest explanation of what milk tea is, it is basically milk with tea added, or tea with milk added. However, there is a culinary art and level of complexity to making it. It can be prepared in different ratios of tea to the milk. Not only is milk and tea considered to be very healthy, but they are combined together all across the world in various ways to make flavorful milk tea drinks. It is consumed hot or cold (iced) by various people.
Milk tea is called milk with tea or tea with milk by some, and it is a general name for some bubble tea drinks. It is used to describe the type of bubble tea, which would include milk and tea in it, combined with tapioca pearls and additional flavorings.
A great example of how milk tea is used to describe a bubble tea drink is, “taro milk tea”. The beverage is a taro flavored bubble tea that is called taro milk tea, because it has both milk and tea (milk tea) included into the bubble tea, along with the taro flavoring. The words “milk tea” describe the type of bubble tea and its characteristics.
There are a large variety of milk tea flavors for bubble tea. Thousands of combinations can be made with milk tea as the base for a bubble tea drink. The combination of different types of boba used, along with a plethora of flavorings, combined with the complexity of milk tea, has made milk tea in bubble tea drinks a very popular base choice for the drink.
The practice of making perfectly textured tapioca pearls with milk tea has become a culinary art for many people. Milk tea with tapioca pearls has been made into colorful flavorful drinks by the inspired individuals.
The Key Attributes Of Milk Tea
Milk tea has four key attributes: the aroma of the milk tea, the strength of the tea in the milk tea, the creaminess of the milk in the milk tea, and the color of the milk tea. These four attributes vary from person to person on what they would classify as good milk tea.
The aroma of milk tea comes from the type of tea that is used, the herbs or spices mixed into the milk tea, or a combination of both. Milk tea doesn’t have to come with herbs or spices, but it can, as some milk tea masters use them in their milk tea recipes.
Jasmine flower tea is used, or lavender flower tea for example, to create milk tea beverages with a pleasant smell. Other herbs and spices are used to create aromatic effects as well. Cinnamon and ginger are commonly added to milk tea.
The strength of the tea that is added to create the milk tea is also important for making great milk tea. Many experts suggest that the tea should be made with fresh filtered water, instead of tap water if possible. This gives a more flavorful distinct taste and makes the tea clearer. Also, steeping the tea longer (3 to 5 minutes) gives the milk tea a better flavor.
Darker teas, like black tea, are commonly used to make most types of milk tea. Other popular teas are green tea and earl grey tea. Black tea is desired the most, because it is richer in flavor than most teas, and provides the milk tea with a full bodied taste. When sugar is added to the strong tea, it gives the milk tea a stronger flavor that most people enjoy the most.
Experts recommend using loose tea leaves to make the best milk tea, instead of tea packets. More flavor can be extracted from the tea leaves than what it can be when it is grounded.
What kind of milk do they use in milk tea?
The milk in the milk tea is responsible for the creamy texture in the milk tea. The most commonly used milk for the best results in milk tea is whole milk. Other popular choices that are used as a substitute for whole milk, is 2% milk, soy milk, and sweetened condensed milk.
The whole milk is desired the most, because it gives the fullest and most creamy texture to the milk tea. The fats in the milk help to give milk tea its creamy texture. For the best results, experts suggest using pasteurized milk to make the milk tea. Other creamers are also sometimes added too to make the milk tea even creamier.
The color of the milk tea is important for making the milk tea more appealing to the consumer. When different ratios of milk to tea or vice-versa is used, it can drastically affect the color of the beverage. The color of the milk tea can range from very light (as if it only has milk) to a very dark coloration. The most common color of milk tea is some form of brown (light or dark).
Milk tea can also appear yellow, blue, red, or even green. Basically, milk tea can be any color, depending on the tea leaves used and/or the additives mixed in it. All of these colors can be obtained without the use of food colors.
How Milk Tea Is Made In Various Ways
Though milk tea is enjoyed by many all across the world, it is made with different ratios of milk to tea, and it is prepared in many ways. Here are some popular ways that milk tea is made:
- Pouring the milk into the tea after the tea is made.
- Some individuals pour the milk on top of the tea to finish it off before drinking it. This is one of the most common ways, which is done for english tea, and bubble milk tea. When it is done this way the milk is often cold. When poured into the hot tea it makes the tea cooler.
- The amount of milk added to the tea varies from a splash of milk in the tea (breakfast tea), to half milk and half tea (milk tea for bubble tea).
- Boiling the tea leaves, then adding sugar and milk, then boiling it longer.
- This is a method used by some milk tea masters. They create stronger tea by adding the tea leaves first to boil. Then the sugar, milk, and other additives are added in later. Because, the tea leaves are kept in the water longer, the strength of the milk tea is increased.
- The amount of tea and sugar is left to the preference of the maker. There is no specified amount. Both are added and tasted to see if it is fit to the consumer’s preferences.
- Pouring the tea on top of the milk.
- Some milk tea masters pour the tea into the milk first. Some of the milk tea beverages were found to have a large portion of hot milk, with a splash of tea on the top to finish the milk tea.
- The small amount of tea is made with high concentrations of spice, herbs, or a combination of both. A high concentration of tea leaves can also be used, which are steeped separately from the tea leaves.
- Steeping the tea in the milk with no water.
- Steeping the tea bags or loose tea leaves directly in milk is also a common way of making milk tea. Many individuals are used to using water to make tea, however this method does not include water at all. The tea bags or tea leaves are used to turn the milk into milk tea.
- This is a fast and convenient way of making milk tea, which only involves heating the milk and applying the tea directly to it. Other additives are also added sometimes to make the milk tea more flavorful, but usually only sugar.
The variations of milk tea can be very wide, thanks to the plethora of herbs, spices, milks, tea flavors, and sweeteners that can be used to make a milk tea. Chamomile tea for instance, is used to make a milk tea beverage that is said to help individuals relax and to sleep better.
Other herbal teas are also used as the base tea instead of black tea, to add extra health benefits to milk tea. It is common practice for herbal teas to be mixed with tea to consume them for health benefits, which includes healing benefits. Chamomile tea is commonly used, but other spices like turmeric are used to make golden milk tea. Golden milk tea is usually sweetened with raw honey to add flavor and additional health benefits.
Herbal Teas That Are Commonly Used For Making Milk Tea
Here is a list of some commonly used herbal and spice teas that are combined with milk, along with their health benefits:
- Black tea
- It is said to help the heart, and to help blood sugar levels.
- Chai tea
- This is said to help with blood sugar levels, help the heart, and aid in digestion.
- Chamomile tea
- It is said to strengthen the immune system and reduce stress levels.
- Darjeeling tea
- It is said to be a great antioxidant, and help the heart.
- Ginger tea
- It is said to relieve inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer.
- Green tea
- It is said to boost energy, and aid in weight loss.
- Hibiscus tea
- It is said to reduce stress, help lower blood pressure, and help the respiratory system.
- Jasmine tea
- It is said to strengthen the immune system, and aid in weight loss.
- Matcha tea
- It is said to be a powerful antioxidant, aid in weight loss, and boost energy levels.
- Oolong tea
- It is said to improve concentration levels, and help the metabolism.
- Peppermint tea
- It is said to improve concentration, and aid with digestive issues.
- White tea
- It is said to have the lowest levels of caffeine and the highest antioxidant benefits.
Techniques Used To Make Milk Tea
There are techniques used by milk tea masters for making top quality milk tea. Many of them use a specific tea flavor to make the milk tea, and stick with that flavor when brewing it.
Some individuals will use two tea kettles to constantly pour the same steeped tea back and forth into them when making the most flavorful tea. The tea then has the milk added to the tea afterwards, with the main focus on making the most flavorful tea possible. It is done with precision and carefulness to get the most flavor without ruining the tea and making the milk tea too bitter.
Other milk teas are made by boiling the milk and tea separately, or boiling the water and milk separately. For the technique of boiling the water and milk separately, the tea is quickly made in a cup by pouring the hot water over the tea leaves through a strainer into a cup. The hot milk is added before or after the tea.
Instead of steeping the tea longer, it is made instantly by pouring hotter water over the tea leaves. This allows the tea leaves for making the milk tea to be used longer without losing their flavor. Stronger flavored tea leaves (black tea leaves) are commonly used this way.
Some individuals will use a small tool for frothing the milk after the hot milk is poured into a cup before adding the tea. This makes the milk more creamy, then the tea is added in afterwards to make the milk tea.
How To Make The Best Milk Tea
Many individuals, including experts, agree that the best milk tea is made with a clean tea pot, pot, or kettle, clean filtered fresh hot water, loose tea leaves instead of tea packets, and pasteurized milk. The best type of milk depends on personal preference, with some countries preferring overall to use 2% or reduced fat milk over whole milk, or vice-versa.
Steeping the tea for a longer period of time will result in more antioxidants in the milk tea, more caffeine, and more health benefits from the tea in the milk. Milk tea experts steep their tea for milk tea for about 5 minutes.
For bubble tea drinks, whole milk and 2% reduced fat milk are usually preferred, since this type of milk tea is desired to be as flavorful and creamy as possible. There is also a guide for making milk tea for bubble tea drinks for making a basic pearl milk tea.
Other places also prefer creamier milk tea, but some places prefer the milk in their tea to be less fatty, using reduced fat and skim milk in their tea.