Marcus’ Note: Hello from Hong Kong! I am currently on the first leg of my Asia Tea Trip and thought this would be a great article to resurrect! I will be sending new Tea Time Newsletters in the next few weeks and have a lot of great stuff planned (including more information on my quest for the perfect Milk Tea), but with my traveling, jet lag and hurricane damage control, I am going to resend this article for those who haven’t seen it!
Hong Kong Milk Tea is amazing. It is one of those things you have to experience in your life, like espresso in Italy or Coq au Vin in France. Milk Tea has a creamy texture with a sweet and rich flavor. The flavor is really hard to describe, but trust me it is a revelation once you try it!
The people in Hong Kong go crazy over it…and now, so do I! They constantly debate which restaurant has the best Milk Tea and are often upset if a restaurant makes a substandard version.
The problem with Milk Tea is that it is difficult to find a good version outside of Hong Kong. I think that because it takes so long to make, and the secrets are so closely guarded, people take a lot of shortcuts. And these shortcuts leave a weak, runny and overly sweet tea that no one wants to drink.
To make a truly great Milk Tea, you need about an hour, a special strainer that looks like women’s panty hose (yes, I am being serious) and a secret recipe that is virtually impossible to find. The good news is that my family is from Hong Kong and they are Milk Tea junkies! They are also pretty lazy (and will kill me for saying that), so they have a quick way to make Milk Tea at home that won’t take an hour or destroy your kitchen.
What you need
- Carnation Evaporated Milk (important to get this exact product)
- English Breakfast Tea
- 1 eggshell
How to make it
- Put about 3 teaspoons of tea, the eggshell and a cup of water in a small pot
- Bring to a boil and let boil for about 6 minutes. This will oversteep the tea, which is intentional
- Remove the tea from the heat and let cool for 3 minutes
- Fill your tea cup 1/3 of the way with evaporated milk
- Bring the tea back to a boil
- Pour the tea through a strainer into a teacup
- Add sugar to taste and serve
Why are you steeping it so long?
Milk Tea needs to be steeped for a very long time because it needs to hold up to the evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is very thick and strong tasting, so the astringency in the oversteeped tea needs to be able to fight through it.
Absolutely! The eggshell is actually the most important part, whereas it helps to remove the bitterness of oversteeping the tea while adding the silk-like texture that is mandatory in any decent Milk Tea.
While it won’t be the life changing experience of having a true Milk Tea in Hong Kong, it is still pretty darn good. So unless you happen to be swinging by the Orient any time soon, this will be the best Milk Tea you will find anywhere!