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Milk Tea Recipes

British Milk Tea, Matcha Lattes, Indian Masala Chai & More


Milk is one of the most popular coffee and tea additives in the world. Due to its natural sugars (known as lactose), it adds sweetness. Milk with fat in it (i.e., whole milk, half and half, cream and 2% milk) can also add body and richness to tea.

Generally speaking, milk tea is made with black tea as a base. These tend to be bold Assam teas and Ceylon teas rather than self drinkers from Qimen, Darjeeling and Nilgiri. Milk tea can also be made with other types of tea (especially matcha green tea).

From Indian masala chai to Hong Kong milk tea to British-style milk tea, here are some of the many ways to enjoy milk tea.

Indian Spiced Milk Tea Recipes

Stirring the masala chai spices as they simmer.
Lindsey Goodwin
More commonly known in the West as "chai" or "chai tea," masala chai is a blend of spices, tea, sugar and milk. It hails from India, where variations abound, and the diversity of drinks beneath the banner "chai" has widened even further since the drink ventured out beyond the Indian subcontinent.

This collection of chai recipes is a cross-section of the world of masala chai featuring some of the best chai recipes on About.com, including recipes for Kashmiri chai and caffeine-free chai, as well as a step-by-step photo tutorial for how to make masala chai from scratch.

British Milk Tea

It is said that the custom of adding milk to tea began in France and then took root in England.* Today, it is common for people in England to add milk and sugar to their tea, while in France people tend to prefer a bit of lemon in their brews.

This guide to British-style milk tea includes an overview of tea in Britain, how to make a "perfect cup of tea" (a quintessentially British ideal if there ever was one) and how to add milk to your cup of tea.

* However, the French weren't the first to add dairy to their tea! In the early days of tea, large pieces of compressed pu-erh tea from Yunnan, China, were traded to Tibet, where they were boiled with yak butter.

Hong Kong Milk Tea Recipe

An image of Creamy Milk Tea, a.k.a. "Hong Kong-style milk tea" or "pantyhose milk tea"
Lindsey Goodwin
Hong Kong milk tea is sort of a caricature of British milk tea. It's thick, extremely milky and incredibly sweet (thanks in part to the use of sweetened, condensed milk or evaporated milk as a core ingredient).

This oddly fascinating beverage is also known as “pantyhose tea” or “silk stocking tea” and can be adapted into a Honkongese coffee-tea drink called Yin-Yang Coffee-Tea.

Thai Milk Tea Recipe

An image of Thai Tea in a clear glass.
Lindsey Goodwin
Similar to Thai Iced Tea and Thai Iced Coffee, Thai Iced Tea is a tea with a heavy dose of milk. It contains both sweetened, condensed milk and evaporated milk.

Malaysian Milk Tea Recipe

Teh tarik is a Malaysian milk tea that has begun to spread around the globe in recent years. It is a mixture of tea and milk that is poured or "pulled" back and forth between two cups (teh tarik literally means "pulled tea") until it becomes foamy and rich. It is commonly sold from tea stalls in street markets, where each tea maker has spent years perfecting his craft of "pulling" tea.

A similar milk tea is made by "chai wallahs" (tea makers / sellers) in South India; it is known as "meter chai" or "three-foot chai" because the space between the two glasses is often a meter or more!

Milky Bubble Tea Recipe

Bubble tea (or "boba tea") was said to have been created in Taiwan as an after-school treat for children. Today, it is enormously popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong and certain parts of the U.S. and Canada (particularly on the West Coast and in New York City). Variations abound, but this recipe from About.com Chinese Food captures the essence of this whimsical brew well.

Matcha Latte Recipe

Add Rum to Taste for a Delicious Tea Cocktail
Lindsey Goodwin
This matcha matte recipe is the first green tea milk tea on the list, and the first kind of green milk tea to become popular around the world. It originated in Japan, where East meets West in all kinds of unexpected ways and the cafe latte merged with matcha to make an entirely new drink.

The recipe linked above can be made with soymilk or milk. For more options on preparing matcha milk teas, check out The Republic of Tea's Iced Tropical Matcha Latte Recipe and Miro Tea's Tropical Ginger Matcha Latte Recipe.

Turmeric Milk Tea Recipe

Technically an herbal infusion, turmeric "tea" has been used in Ayurveda as a remedy for bone and joint health and for improved mental focus. This recipe from About.com Vegetarian Food came recommended by Yogi Bhajan, founder of the Yogi Tea brand.

Milk Herbal 'Tea' Recipe

A mystery herbal tea's leaves
Marko Goodwin
This milky herbal infusion recipe hails from Morocco. It is made with fragrant, caffeine-free lemon verbena (known in Morocco as "louiza"). I find this particular milk "tea" to be an ideal pre-bed beverage.

Iced Black Tea Latte Recipe

This recipe from The Tea Spot in Boulder, Colorado, is prepared a bit like an iced espresso latte, but with a black tea concentrate in place of the espresso. Thanks to the milk, it's filling enought to make a great breakfast on the go.

Iced Hazelnut Milk Tea Recipe

This unusual recipe from About.com Southern Food takes its cue from iced coffee drinks. It combines hazelnut flavored simple syrup with cold-brewed black tea and a dash of milk for a rich-yet-refreshing style of iced milk tea.

Milky Irish Tea Cocktail Recipe

Irish Coffee combines coffee, whiskey and cream into one decadent drink. This is similar, but with milk and tea (and, of course, Irish whiskey).

If you like a little alcohol in your milk tea, you might also like this Tea & Vodka Milkshake Recipe from Elin Headrick of TeaFolio.

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