Hokkaido Milk Tea: Japan’s Famous Creamy Milk Tea

Erika Marty

Milk tea is a popular beverage from China to Great Britain. The simple drink is tweaked gradually to create new tastes and unique creations using everyday ingredients. Hokkaido milk tea puts a Japanese spin on a classic favorite by incorporating locally produced milk.

Hokkaido milk tea is a creamy, indulgent beverage that can be played up or enjoyed in its traditional form. Discover more about this tasty tea and find out how you can make your own blend at home.

What Is Hokkaido Milk Tea?

Hokkaido milk tea derives its name from the region in which it was developed. Hokkaido is a province in Japan that is known for its dairy productions and sprawling agriculture. The area is less densely populated compared to other Japanese provinces. For tea tourists, this area is a great place to visit to taste the famous Hokkaido milk tea.

Hokkaido milk tea is popularly known as royal milk tea and nidashi milk tea. In the western world, the tea is often confused with boba tea or bubble tea since the beverage may contain tapioca pearls. Boba is a Taiwanese beverage while Hokkaido milk tea is a Japanese creation.

Hokkaido milk tea is made of black tea leaves with milk — traditionally from fresh milk produced in the Hokkaido province. The tea is made using high-quality black tea leaves including Assam, Darjeeling, and Earl Grey varieties. The tea is often sweetened with caramel syrup or brown sugar. Some recipes throw in tapioca balls for added texture and flavor. Modern blends may also be made using green tea leaves or oolong tea leaves.

Today, blends of this tea can be found with fresh leaves and milk powder from Hokkaido province. The tea has risen in popularity from tea houses in Kyoto to shops in Singapore, Chinatown in various United States cities, and Korean households. Famous teashops including Saisabo and I-Tea serve the beverage. Other companies offer pre-packaged versions you can take on the go.

Flavor Profile

Hokkaido milk tea offers a strong flavor that is balanced by a creamy texture. This tea drink offers earthy and roasted flavors thanks to the presence of black tea leaves. It is a creamy milk tea that offers a heavenly full-bodied texture in addition to its rich tea flavor. Like taro milk tea or taro boba tea, this beverage can be dressed up as a fruit tea by adding additional ingredients. To make the sweet drinks even more indulgent, some tea shops add a dollop of ice cream or a dash of coconut oil to the blend.

Hokkaido Milk Tea Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons black tea leaves or two black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup of milk (dairy from Hokkaido for a traditional brew or nut alternative for a non-dairy option)
  • Brown sugar, caramel sauce or honey (OPTIONAL)

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.

2. Once the water reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit, add in the black tea leaves.

3. Turn the heat to low and simmer the leaves for 1 to 3 minutes depending on the desired flavor. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger the flavor will be.

4. Add milk and simmer for 1 to 3 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, heat teacups using a boiling water rinse. Pour the hot water in the cup and then discard.

6. Pour the tea mixture into your cup using a fine mesh strainer to remove the tea leaves.

7. Sweeten with brown sugar, caramel syrup, or honey as desired.

Hokkaido Milk Tea

Hokkaido milk tea is the original milk tea of the Hokkaido province. It has taken its place among other Asian drinks as one of the highest quality and best-tasting Japanese teas. The famous drink can be enjoyed in traditional tea houses in Okinawa and across borders in Chinese and American tea rooms. The drink is typically consumed as a hot beverage, but can also be enjoyed as an iced tea.

Milk tea is one of the most popular types of tea. The beverage is different when brewed according to English, Indian, or Chinese traditions. The Japanese variety is unique in its own right thanks to the addition of rich sweeteners and locally sourced milk. Brew up a cup of this tasty tea today to discover the Japanese take on milk tea.

Erika Marty

As a digital nomad, I get to work from anywhere in the world and discover new teas every week. When I'm not working, you can find me mountain biking, hiking, and petting every stray dog I meet.

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