Hong Kong Milk Tea Recipe

Hong Kong Milk Tea
The Spruce
Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 9 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

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, it becomes beguilingly sweet and full-flavored).

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.


  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons black tea leaves (preferably a bold Ceylon tea)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Ingredients for Hong Kong milk tea
  2. Combine water and tea leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat.

    Combine water and tea leaves over heat in saucepan
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  3. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

    Bring tea to low boil
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  4. Remove from heat. Stir in sweetened, condensed milk. Return to heat.

    Remove from heat and add condensed milk
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  5. Return to a boil. Simmer for 3 more minutes.

    Return tea to a boil
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  6. Strain tea and condensed milk.

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

    Hong Kong Milk Tea
    The Spruce 
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variation

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