Milk Tea Around the World

Hong Kong

"Hong Kong-style milk tea," also known as "stocking milk tea," gets its name because when making Hong Kong-style milk tea, the staff at dai pai dongs or  tea restaurant pour boiling water into a filter bag containing tea leaves and move the bag up and down to accelerate the filtration process. This is a significant characteristic of making Hong Kong-style milk tea in  tea restaurant. After the cotton mesh has been soaked in black tea, the filter bag's color will be dyed into a tea-brown color, which is similar to nylon stockings' color. The filter bag's appearance is also similar to stockings, so customers jokingly call milk tea brewed in this manner "stocking milk tea." Stockings are not actually used as filter bags to make milk tea.






Pulled tea, or "teh tarik" in Malay, originated from Indian immigrants who came to Malaysia. Teh tarik is made by pulling two cups of tea back and forth, and the longer it is pulled, the more froth it will have, resulting in a better taste. Teh tarik is a unique creation of Malaysians and is the most popular and widely consumed tea beverage. Whether in luxurious hotels and restaurants in big cities like Kuala Lumpur or in small roadside stalls in remote towns, you can enjoy delicious teh tarik. Malaysians mix tea and milk together and pour it repeatedly between two cups. The farther apart the cups are, the finer the foam will be. By "pulling" the tea, the milk is perfectly blended with the tea, bringing out a rich and aromatic milk flavor, which is why it is called "teh tarik".






In Thailand, it's almost common to see people holding a cup of orange tea on the streets, which has a sweet and icy taste. The most common place to get it is from street vendors, who use Thailand's iconic ChaTraMue (ชาตรามือ) tea leaves, combined with sugar, fresh milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk to make it. Due to the hot weather in Thailand, it's usually served as an iced drink.





The characteristic of Indian milk tea is the use of "tea, spices, fresh milk, and sugar" cooked together, resulting in a heavy and thick milk flavor, commonly known as "thick milk tea". It can be diluted with water or made entirely with fresh milk, making tea lovers feel very happy. The classic Indian spice formula includes cinnamon sticks, cinnamon bark, cloves, caraway seeds, bay leaves, or other thematic flavors such as ginger, cardamom, and pepper, which tend towards a woody and thick, stable flavor. In the Hindi language, "Masala" refers to a type of mixed spice, and each store has its own secret formula ground into powder, which is an essential flavor filled with Indian flavor and richness.





When you order breakfast tea, afternoon tea or any other kind of black tea in a British tea house, it is certain that you will be provided with a milk jug.Nowadays, everyone is a noble. In the past, the royal family and the nobles had the privilege of obtaining black tea. The wealthy would offer strongly flavored milk tea during banquets to show their distinguished status and pay the utmost respect, demonstrating that they could afford tea as precious as gold. Therefore, the tradition of "tea before milk" has been preserved even though obtaining tea has become easier in modern times.The traditional aroma of black tea is the main focus, with common blends including English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea, and others. The classic ratio is 4 parts tea to 1 part fresh milk.





Turkey is one of the top five tea-producing countries in the world, and has the highest per capita consumption of tea. However, there is no milk tea in Turkey!This is because Turkish people believe that adding milk to tea questions the quality of the tea, which is considered impolite. Therefore, the Turkish tea culture does not include milk tea. The occasionally heard "Turkish milk tea" is actually salep, a hot drink that may not contain tea or milk. The ingredients include water, orchid powder, sugar, orange blossom water, rose water, cinnamon powder, and crushed pistachios. Turkish speciality orchid powder is added to hot water to create a thick texture and a rich taste, which is then seasoned with sugar and flower water, and decorated with cinnamon powder and crushed pistachios, creating a light milky flavor. (Modern variations may include fresh milk, but still no tea.)





Taiwanese flavors - Bubble tea

Bubble tea, originating from Taiwan, is made by adding cooked, black, translucent tapioca pearls to milk tea, hence the name "bubble" or "pearl" tea. It can also include a variety of toppings such as pudding or coconut jelly to create unique flavors. Bubble tea is well-loved and has spread globally, though it is still relatively uncommon in Europe and America where it is often more expensive.

Taiwanese flavors - Milk cap tea

Following the spirit of brewing foamy red tea, milk cap tea was born to meet the demand of people who wanted to sit down and drink tea with friends in busy commercial districts. Milk cap tea usually has a layer of salty milk foam on top and is not consumed with a straw. Instead, the cup is picked up and drunk directly, allowing the drinker to enjoy the cool tea and creamy, dense milk foam simultaneously. The salty flavor of the foam balances the sweetness of the milk, while the cool tea balances the greasiness of the milk, creating a unique and irresistible taste.