How to Make Hong Kong Milk Tea

Sep 13, 2020
This post may contain affiliate links. Simple Loose Leaf is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to It’s bright, sweet, and very strong. In fact, if you think tea could never replace a cup of strong coffee, Hong Kong milk tea will prove you wrong. And above all, it’s one of the creamiest milk teas in the world. Learn how to make Hong Kong milk tea at home.

What is Hong Kong milk tea?

Hong Kong milk tea is a tea made with black tea leaves and milk. Although it hasn’t been around for a very long time, it’s an important part of tea culture and a very popular tea in Hong Kong. Unlike the world-famous Indian Chai that’s made with real milk, Hong Kong milk tea is made using condensed and/or evaporated milk. It’s creamy, more intense brown-orange, and usually very sweet. This unique drink is the creamiest of all milk teas. The other name for Hong Kong milk tea is a Pantyhose tea, because tea leaves are brewed in, and strained through, a big and long cloth strainer resembling a pantyhose. No actual silk stocking are used in preparation. Just like the Indian Chai, Kong Kong milk tea is a pulled tea too. This means that the tea is poured from one pot into another multiple times to enhance the texture or create froth. Hong Kong tea is poured from one pot into another through the same strainer with brewed tea leaves.

Caffeine level

Caffeine level in Hong Kong tea will depend on the type of tea you are using, the way you brew it and the amount of tea leaves. In general, expect much more caffeine than you would get from a regular cup of tea – sometimes even more than in coffee. First time when you will be making this delicious drink, it will immediately be clear why – it takes a lot of tea leaves to make a silky and creamy cup. A research including different types of milk tea and coffee in Hong Kong cafes showed that this type of milk tea can have a surprisingly high amount of caffeine per cup – from 73 mg to 220 mg. For comparison, a simple cafe latte has only around 54 mg per cup[1]. This makes Hong Kong milk tea a great drink for an early afternoon tea time, especially if you need an energy boost. So, should you use less leaves or make brewing shorter? It really depends. Aim to use at least 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves per cup and steep no less than 10 minutes. The consistency of your milk tea will depend on the amount of tea leaves and how long you steep them. 

Hong Kong milk tea ingredients

Hong Kong milk tea contains only a few main ingredients, but you can add others such as spices too. The main ingredients is, of course, black tea. One or rather a blend of different strong black teas is a base for Hong Kong milk tea. Ceylon tea is often a choice. It has a strong, robust, full-bodied and often a slightly floral flavor. The other important ingredient it milk. Hong Kong milk tea is usually made with either evaporated or condensed milk, or a mix of both. Evaporated milk is less sweet than condensed milk, so an additional sweetener like honey is also an option.

Is Hong Kong tea the same as Ceylon milk tea?

Hong Kong tea is sometimes called Ceylon milk tea because Ceylon (Sri Lankan) tea is used as a base. However, it’s not the same as Ceylon milk tea.

Difference between Hong Kong milk tea and Malaysian The Tarik milk tea?

Both Hong Kong milk tea and Teh Tarik are pulled teas, made with strong black tea and condensed milk, creamy and bright brown-orange. However, one is frothy, and the other isn’t. The difference is in the pulling step. Hong Kong milk tea is pulled when brewing, from one pot into the other through a strainer. The Tarik is pulled after the tea is already made and blended with milk – from one cup to the other. This process creates froth.

Difference between Hong Kong milk tea and Indian Chai milk tea?

Both milk teas, but very different – Hong Kong milk tea is very thick, very rich, and brown-orange. Indian Chai is brownish-yellow, more watery, but still creamy. Indian Chai is made with strong malty Assam and blended with milk and sugar. This tea is also pulled. Learn how to make homemade chai here

How to make Hong Kong milk tea at home?

To make a cup of Hong Kong style milk tea at home, you don’t need a special strainer. Technically, big, fine mesh round strainer could work well too. Prepare two pots or pans, smaller to medium-sized if you are making tea for one person only. The best tea to use would be a strong aromatic black tea (for example, Orange Pekoe) or a blend of different teas. Choose broken leaves to get the stronger flavor. Using a full-bodied tea is a must, because it has to be strong enough to blend well with thick evaporated or condensed milk. You may use tea bags too, but remove the fannings from a tea bag first. You will need:
  • 2-3 teaspoons of tea leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • 50-70 ml of evaporated milk or + a few spoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • A bit of honey (optional)
  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Place a larger strainer over a saucepan.
  3. Place the tea leaves into the strainer.
  4. Pour hot water over the tea leaves.
  5. Cover and steep for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Take another saucepan. Lift the strainer with the tea leaves and place it above the empty saucepan.
  7. Take the saucepan with steeped tea and pour it into the empty saucepan through a strainer filled with steeped tea leaves.
  8. Repeat the steps 6-7 a few times.
  9. Take an empty glass or a cup and fill it with evaporated or condensed milk
  10. Pour in the tea.
Hong Kong milk tea can be served iced too. Add some black tapioca pearls and serve iced to get a delicious bubble tea.  
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.



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