Hong Kong Milk Tea Recipe

Hong Kong Milk Tea Recipe

The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 9 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
286 Calories
8g Fat
49g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 286
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 116mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 48g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 256mg 20%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 333mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Hong Kong milk tea is also known as “pantyhose tea” or “silk stocking tea” because it is often brewed in a large tea sock that resembles pantyhose. It has a smooth, creamy texture thanks to the evaporated milk. Or, if you opt for sweetened, condensed milk that we call for here, it becomes beguilingly sweet and full-flavored. Use the whole can if you like as indicated, or just 1/4 to 1/2 cup instead if desired if you like a less sweet drink.

As the name says, milk tea originated in Hong Kong. Milk tea stems from British colonial rule over Hong Kong. The British tradition of afternoon tea, where black tea is served with milk and sugar, became popular in Hong Kong. Milk tea is similar, except it is made with evaporated or condensed milk instead of ordinary milk. It is called "milk tea" to distinguish it from "Chinese tea," which is served plain. Outside of Hong Kong, ​it is referred to as Hong Kong-style milk tea.

Cha chow is milk tea prepared with condensed milk, instead of evaporated milk and sugar. Its taste is, as can be expected, sweeter than ordinary milk tea. Milk tea and coffee together is called yuan yang.

The taste and texture of Hong Kong-style milk tea might be influenced by the milk used. For example, some Hong Kong cafés prefer using a filled milk variant, meaning it is not purely evaporated milk (as with most retail brands) but a combination of skimmed milk and soybean oil.

Below is an easy variation on classic Hong Kong-style milk tea recipes. For an added treat, use it as the base for Yin-Yang Coffee-Tea.


  • 2 cups water

  • 4 tablespoons black tea leaves, preferably a bold Ceylon tea

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, or to preferred taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Ingredients for Hong Kong milk tea

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Combine water and tea leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat.

    Combine water and tea leaves over heat in saucepan

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

    Bring tea to low boil

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Remove from heat. Stir in sweetened, condensed milk to taste. Return to heat.

    Remove the tea from heat and add condensed milk

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  5. Return to a boil. Simmer for 3 more minutes.

    Return tea with condensed milk to a boil

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  6. Strain tea and condensed milk.

    Drain tea and condensed milk

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  7. Serve hot or (optional) chill and serve over ice. Small glasses are ideal.

    Hong Kong Milk Tea in glasses

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Recipe Variation

  • Instead of using sweetened condensed milk, you can use a 14-ounce can of evaporated milk, with sugar, to taste.