3/17/2020 Update: Make sure the tea is “Orange Pekoe.”
The original link seems to point to a normal black tea now– not sure how that will turn out. I’ve updated the link, hope it sends you to Orange Pekoe tea! Also, this blend ($$$!) and this blend also look good, thought I have not tried them. This content may use referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.
I love cold Taiwan style milk tea AND hot Hong Kong style milk tea. As long as there is a strong tea flavor and it’s not too sweet, I love it. A few months ago, I found a Taiwan style milk tea recipe I love, but had yet to nail the HK-style one.
It’s not for lack of trying. I have tried a number of “silk-stocking” milk teas using condensed milk, evaporated milk, Lipton tea, Ceylon teas, and other blends of teas, based on various recipes I found online. None were to my satisfaction. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t hit the right tea flavor, so I gave up. Various people had told me the secret was to use Lipton tea, but um… there are several varieties of Lipton tea, so without a specific TYPE of tea, I was still pretty lost.
Fast forward a couple years. Enter Auntie Catherine, a very, very thoughtful lady at my church, who delivered a box of MAGIC to me. Magic = a special box of Lipton’s Yellow Label Orange Pekoe Tea, which she described as, “very smooth and rich. The best so far I have tasted. Hope you like it.” She is quite the foodie, so I knew this was gonna be good. Without knowing exactly what to do with it, I had planned to make a big batch of Taiwan-style milk tea with it, but when I opened it, I was greeted with a familiar rich aroma. I couldn’t quite place it.
“Ben, this smells familiar,” I said, holding the box of tea up to his face. “Smell it.”
He sniffed. He paused. Then his face lit up.
“It’s that milk tea you like but haven’t been able to make!” he said, excitedly.
Uh, WHAT tea? I thought to myself. He must’ve forgotten I’ve already nailed my milk tea recipe. Mmmmm-hm. I thought smugly, thinking only of the Taiwan milk tea.
“You know, the silk-stocking one! From Hong Kong!” he continued, seeing the question marks on my face.
“…OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THAT’S WHAT IT IS!!!” I cried, finally placing the strong aroma. It brought me right back to those Hong Kong cafe breakfasts I craved so often.
What a husband :). He knows me so well. And he was right. This was THE SECRET INGREDIENT I HAD BEEN SEARCHING FOR! MY QUEST WAS OVER. Victory was nigh.
So I brewed some tea, added some sugar and evaporated milk, and guess what? I WON!! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!!!! It was just like the cafes, and now I can make it wheneverrrr I want!!!! This is going to be so bad for my health, but oh SO SATISFYING! And now, dear readers and Internet friends, I share it with you. If you’ve never tried this before, I hope you find that it’s your cup ‘o tea! Pun totally intended.
Hong Kong Style Milk Tea
Makes 1 small cup
Serve with toast with some condensed milk drizzled on top and you’ve got yourself a lovely HK-style breakfast!