Hong Kong Milk Tea

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 has a smooth, creamy texture and is made by simmering tea with sweetened condensed milk. It is also known as “pantyhose tea” or “silk stocking tea” because it is often brewed in a large tea sock that resembles pantyhose.

This recipe calls for a whole can of sweetened condensed milk, but if you prefer a less sweet beverage, add just 1/4 to 1/2 cup instead. The milk tea can also be made with evaporated milk, which will result in a more mellow-flavored drink. For an added treat, use it as the base for yin-yang coffee-tea, a combination of milk tea and coffee.

Ingredients

  • 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 the 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 the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

    Bring tea to low boil

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

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

    Remove the tea from heat and add condensed milk

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  5. Bring back to a boil. Simmer for 3 more minutes.

    Return tea with condensed milk to a boil

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  6. Strain the tea and condensed milk mixture.

    Drain tea and condensed milk

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

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

    Hong Kong Milk Tea in glasses

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of using sweetened condensed milk, you can use a 14-ounce can of evaporated milk, with sugar, to taste.
  • Turn the milk tea into bubble tea by adding tapioca pearls to the bottom of the glass before pouring over the tea and milk mixture.

The Origin of Hong Kong Tea

As the name says, milk tea originated in Hong Kong, going back to the British colonial rule; 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.


The taste and texture of Hong Kong-style milk tea can be influenced by the type of 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 instead.

What's the Difference Between Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk?

The main distinction between condensed and evaporated milk is that condensed milk has sweetener added to it. Condensed milk is darker in color and thicker than evaporated milk. The products are similar in that they are both sold in cans, are shelf-stable, and have had much of the water removed. Both can be used in cooking and baking, but it is important to choose the type called for in the recipe since their taste is quite different.