(Scroll to bottom for recipe)
If you’re thinking I’ve already blogged about milk tea before, you are 100% correct! Taiwan style milk tea and Hong Kong style milk tea have already been covered here. But now I have another recipe/variation for the HK milk tea, and it is so delicious and easy! Possibly even simpler than the 4-ingredient recipe I shared before. The previous recipe uses individual tea bags, evaporated milk, and sugar. This one uses loose leaf tea and condensed milk. Both delicious– just different.
Like before, this recipe was fine-tuned because I was intent on perfecting it to serve to discerning friends with very refined milk tea palettes (oh yes, there is such a thing). Last Saturday, we invited a bunch of friends over for one of my favorite annual gatherings: a Summer Recital. Please allow me to take a little detour here so I can tell you more about this event (or just skip to the bottom for the recipe)!
I have been teaching my daughter piano for over a year now, and I felt it was important to give her something to work towards. I also thought it would be good to give her a chance to practice steeling her nerves and performing in front of other people. With these two goals in mind, I asked some friends to come listen and/or share a musical piece on their instrument of choice, and organized a recital at our home for everyone to play in.
Friends, it was so much fun! We had Disney medleys, praise songs, and the most heartwarming group-sing of Boom De Yada that I’ve ever heard in my life: I love hot dogs / I love green beans / I love Frozen / I love Lightning McQueen! Boom de yada, boom de yada… One of our friends in attendance was a professional music writer, and he wrote the most delightful review of the recital. I made it look like a newspaper article just for fun (all names have been changed), and also so my daughter could have a nice keepsake to remember the day by.
So we had a bunch of friends over, and what would a gathering be without some snacks? I attempted guava pastries (they were ok, not blog-worthy (yet)), made some mango pudding, threw together a charcuterie platter, and made two huge batches of Hong Kong Milk Tea. You see, my aunt had recently visited from Hong Kong and gifted me a special blend of leaves from a local friend of hers. It was too much for me to finish on my own, and I knew this was the perfect group of friends to share it with. I’m afraid I have no secret blend tea leaf recipes to share (now that would be a hot blog post!), but I can tell you how I used that secret blend to make a delicious milk tea that my friends and my parents enjoyed.
My friends liking it was no small thing. I should mention that we are spoiled for choices in the Bay Area for amazing milk tea, surrounded by popular spots like TP Tea, Boba Guys, Tea Top, Teaspoon, Gong Cha, ShareTea, etc. Like, I’m even semi nervous as I type out which local places are “popular spots” because I’m pretty sure there are people around here who are such huge milk tea aficionados that they have their own strong opinions about which places deserve mention or not. That’s how solid the milk tea culture is around here. So, to say that my friends heartily approved of the milk tea I made (and particularly appreciated the “not too sweet”-ness of it) is actually saying a lot!
If you’re still not convinced, you should know that my mom is from Hong Kong and goes back to Hong Kong all the time. Even the current discord won’t keep them away (…I’m rooting for you, HK!!). So when she asked me in person and again through text for the *exact* recipe that I used so she could recreate it, it felt like something I needed to share with more people. So. If you like milk tea, you’ve got to try this!
Hong Kong Milk Tea Recipe with Condensed Milk
Makes 1 cup
For a big batch (makes ~10 servings):
Bring 112 oz water to a boil. Slowly stir in 9 tbsp tea leaves and let steep for 5-6 minutes. Strain the leaves out using cheesecloth or other very fine strainer, then add one 14 oz. can of condensed milk and stir (add more condensed milk if you prefer it to be sweeter).
*2023 update: This is the blend I’ve been using for the last few years! Lipton Orange Pekoe. It’s delicious!
*Apologies for not providing a blend recipe here. I do not know one. Reddit research yielded the following suggestions: Ceylon tea, assam, orange pekoe, and oolong (various ratios) // Assam, roasted oolong, pu erh (4:1:1 ratio) // Ceylon and assam.
Also, this blend on Amazon looks pretty promising, and if all else fails, orange pekoe on its own makes a pretty great tea, and is the tea used for my other HK milk tea recipe!