Milk tea is easy to make at home, and it can be enjoyed without boba. It’s more cost-effective to make milk tea yourself, rather than go to a shop or buy it in a store. As an added benefit, it can be a fun project for you to do while you’re at home.
If you have a different diet that you follow, or a dietary restriction, it can be hard to find products in the store that you can actually drink. Making your own milk tea is very simple, and allows you more freedom from the restrictions of what you can find at the store.
There are many different recipes for milk tea, and there is no true authority on how it has to be made. Milk tea is very versatile, and when you’re making it at home for yourself, all that matters is that you enjoy it.
Here are a few different ways to make milk tea, including options for different diets including vegan and sugar free.
What Is Milk Tea?
Milk tea is, essentially, tea with milk in it. While this seems very simple, it isn’t always. You can make milk tea in a lot of different ways, with varying methods and ingredients that might make it more complex than simply adding in milk to tea that you have brewed.
Traditionally, milk tea is served cold and has ice. Most of the time, when you see milk tea it will also have boba in it. This could create the misconception that milk tea isn’t complete without the boba, but boba is just something extra that you don’t need to enjoy milk tea.
Since milk tea is defined as any tea with milk in it, you don’t have to drink it cold. Many people enjoy their tea with milk added to it, just like how people add milk to coffee.
Milk can dilute, change, or sweeten the taste of tea, which is why it’s such a popular addition.
What Kind of Tea Is in Milk Tea?
When you have milk tea, it’s most likely made with plain black tea. You can really make milk tea with whatever kind of tea you want. It’s best to use a stronger tea, so that the flavor shows up through the milk, which can dilute the strength of the tea.
Boba milk tea is often also made with ingredients that aren’t really tea. Boba milk tea can be made with coffee, juice, or syrups to give it different flavors. Unless a milk tea says otherwise, it is probably made with black tea.
Many different cultures make versions of milk tea. Boba milk tea is originally Taiwanese. Masala chai tea is originally Indian. Since milk tea just means tea that has milk in it, there are countless versions of this drink that originate in places all over the world.
How to Make Simple Syrup
The first step in making milk tea is to prepare a sweetener. Regular sugar won’t dissolve very easily in cold liquids, so you have to use a different method to sweeten milk tea.
If you don’t want to use real sugar, make sure that your sweetener is in liquid form so that you can easily stir it into your milk tea, such as agave syrup or maple syrup.
If you want something more interesting than plain sugar, try using brown sugar in simple syrup instead!
If you want to sweeten your tea with real sugar, the best way to do that is to make your own simple syrup. Simple syrup is easy enough to find in grocery stores, but it is always going to be overpriced. It’s more than likely that you have all the ingredients you need to make simple syrup at home.
Simple syrup only needs two ingredients: sugar and water. The preparation of simple syrup is just as easy as its ingredients list.
All you have to do is boil water and add the sugar. The correct ratio for making simple syrup is 1:1. So, if you use a half cup of water, you should also use a half cup of sugar.
First, put the water in a pan to boil. After the water starts to boil, reduce the temperature of the water to a simmer. Then, add the sugar. Stir the sugar into the water until it is fully dissolved.
Then, pour out the simple syrup and let it cool before using it. Simple syrup can be stored in your fridge for a week after it’s made.
While the simple syrup is cooling, you can move on to making the milk tea.
How to Make Milk Tea
You’ll want to make sure that the tea you’re using is very strong, because you will be diluting it with milk and adding in a sweetener. It’s important to choose a tea that normally has a stronger taste, such as black tea.
Brew your tea stronger than you usually would if you were drinking it on its own. This could be adding in more tea than you usually do, steeping it for longer than normal, or a combination of both.
Once you’ve finished brewing the tea, set it in the refrigerator to cool down. Once both the tea and the simple syrup are cooled, you can finish putting together your milk tea.
Add the tea to the bottom of a glass. Pour half and half on top of the tea, and add ice. Sweeten the drink with simple syrup as much as you think it needs.
How to Make Masala Chai
Making masala chai is very similar to the process of making milk tea. Masala chai is typically served hot. If you’re drinking this tea hot, you don’t need to make simple syrup and can use any sweetener that you choose. Regular sugar will dissolve into hot drinks.
Bring a cup of water to boil in a pot. Once it’s boiling, add two tablespoons (or, too heaping spoonfuls) of loose chai tea to the pot. Boil the tea and the water together for one minute.
After one minute, add in a cup of milk. Boil the water, milk, and tea for another minute. After that, add in the sugar and stir until it dissolves.
Don’t use simple syrup because it has extra water that could make the chai tea taste differently.
Once the sugar is fully dissolved, separate the tea leaves out of the drink with a strainer. You can do this easily by placing a strainer over the mug that you will use to drink the tea. Pour the tea out of the pot and into the mug, letting the strainer catch the tea leaves.
You can also enjoy masala chai tea cold. If you would rather try it cold, follow the same steps that you would use for regular milk tea, which is in the section above.
All you have to do differently is substitute the black tea with chai tea.
How to Make a London Fog
If you don’t know what a London fog is, it might sound like a fancy or complicated drink. However, it is very similar to how you would make any other kind of milk tea, and it uses a lot of the same ingredients.
A London fog is milk tea made with earl grey black tea. This drink is typically served hot, and with steamed milk. If you don’t have a steamer at home, you can just use regular heated milk instead.
To make a London fog, add a bag of earl grey tea to a mug, and fill it halfway with water. Steep the tea for a minute, and then add hot milk (or steamed milk) on top. Leave the tea bag in to steep for a few more minutes, and then your drink is done.
How to Make Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is traditionally made using a special whisk. If you don’t have a matcha whisk at home, a regular whisk or even just using a spoon will be fine.
Matcha can be served either hot or iced. If you have a matcha powder, all you have to do is mix the powder into milk. This is best done slowly, rather than all at once.
Pour a few spoonfuls of matcha powder into your mug or glass. Then, pour in small amounts of either hot or cold milk and mix as you go. You can add in as much milk and matcha powder as you want, depending on how strong you want it to taste.
If your matcha powder is unsweetened, you can use sugar for a hot drink, or simple syrup for a cold drink, just like you would do with these other types of milk tea.
How to Use Non-Dairy or Vegan Milk Substitutes
Any of these milk tea recipes could easily be made into a vegan or dairy-free drink. All you need to do is substitute the real milk in any of the recipes with the vegan or dairy-free milk of your choice. This will change the taste slightly, but doesn’t have any effect on the original recipe.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.