Milk tea: why add milk to the tea and recipes

This beverage is more popular than simple tea in many cultures

milk tea

Milk tea is quite simply a tea with added milk. It is usually prepared with black tea and traditionally cow’s milk, although almond, coconut and soy milk are becoming popular options too. This beverage is highly appreciated in many cultures for the way it naturally cancels part of the bitterness of the tea while adding a sweet but not overwhelming note.

Milk tea recipe

milk tea recipe how

Some specific types of milk tea, such as the Hong Kong variety, bubble tea, tea latte or masala chai, have set recipes. However, when it comes to regular milk tea, the kind very popular in the United Kingdom or Canada, there is no such thing as a recipe because there is no recommended amount of milk per cup.

Tea preparation: put a bag of black tea in a cup and pour hot water over it. Let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes, according to the desired intensity. Remove the tea bag.

Add the milk: once the tea is prepared, add a dash of milk to it, stir and drink.

How much you add is solely a personal choice. Too little and you will still feel the bitterness of the tea, too much and it will mask the tea completely. Aim for an even tan shade.

Bubble milk tea recipe

Bubble tea can be prepared with or without milk, but the first option is the most popular one. In this case, you need to follow a recipe to balance the flavors just right to complement that of tapioca pearls.

Ingredients (yields 2 cups)

  • 4 cups of freshly brewed black tea;
  • 1 cup of tapioca pearls;
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk;
  • 1 tbsp of sugar;
  • Ice cubes.


Soak the pearls according to the package instructions.

Add the sugar to the hot tea and stir until combined. Let it cool down a bit and then refrigerate until completely chilled.

Once the pearls are softened, drain them and place them at the bottom of the cups. In a cocktail shaker, combine the tea, the milk and the ice cubes and shake to mix them. Pour the mixture over the tapioca pearls and serve.

Why and how you should drink milk tea?

milk tea why

Adding a dash of milk to the tea binds the bitter compounds and makes the beverage more appealing to taste. This milky combination only works as a flavor enhancer and it’s solely a matter of personal preference.

In fact, if you’re drinking tea for its health benefits you shouldn’t be adding milk at all to your cup. According to a 2007 study, while binding with the bitter compounds, the milk may counteract some of the positive effects of the tea. Further research is still required, but until then you may want to balance your intake of milk tea with simple tea too.

Milk and tea: two ingredients, many flavors

The reason why this beverage is prepared according to anyone’s taste it due to the subtle changes the milk can produce depending on how much is added and the way it binds with the tea.

If you want to confirm this versatility, check out the simple recipe below and you’ll find the flavor of this drink can be very different from that you are used to.