A pleasant surprise for visitors to Japan is discovering the amazing selection of drinks you can find. Even vending machines have a huge variety of high quality, tasty beverages. One of my favourites was always Japanese royal milk tea (ロイヤル・ミルクティー).
It is so creamy and rich in flavour. And on a hot day, chilled milk tea is so delightfully refreshing. My after school snack would often consist of this and a delicious melon bread. Drinking it hot is wonderful as well. I will show you how to make both versions.
There are a few different kinds of black tea that can be used in Japanese royal milk tea.
- Darjeeling (India) - light coloured with a floral aroma.
- Assam (India) - dark, bold, and malty.
- Ceylon Uva (Sri Lanka) - amber and full bodied.
I use a blend of 75% Darjeeling for the light colour and delicate floral scent, and 25% Assam for a bit of depth and robustness.
- Darjeeling tea
- Assam tea
- Gum syrup or honey
See the recipe card below for quantities.
To get the most flavour out of your tea, we want to open it up first. Do this by putting it into a small bowl and add just enough boiling water to evenly coat the tea leaves. In the meantime, heat the milk and water in a small pot.
Just before the milk/water begins to boil, add in the moistened tea leaves and turn off the heat. Stir them with a spoon to mix them in. Cover the pot and let it sit for four minutes (five if you intend to drink the tea iced). Prepare your teacups by filling them with hot water to warm them.
After the steeping is finished, give it another stir, then strain the milk tea into a bowl or measuring cup with a pour spout. Now sweeten it to your taste preference. In Japan they often use liquid sugar called gum syrup. You can use sugar if you'd like, but I used honey.
Remove the water from the teacups and pour in your tea. It is ready to enjoy hot.
My favourite way to enjoy Japanese royal milk tea is iced. If you want to try it this way, cool the bowl in the refrigerator before serving the tea in an ice-filled glass.
In Japan, a liquid sugar called 'gum syrup' is usually used to sweeten royal milk tea. I used honey instead. You can substitute with the sweetener of your choice.
You could store Japanese royal milk tea in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two to three days, but it is best when enjoyed the same day as making it.
A rich and creamy milk tea that has a delicate floral aroma. You can enjoy this famous Japanese tea both hot and iced.
Measurements for 2 servings (see note for 1 serving - not half)
1 ½ teaspoons (heaping) Darjeeling tea leaves
½ teaspoon (heaping) Assam tea leaves
300 ml milk
100 ml water
gum syrup (or honey), to taste
Measure the tea leaves into a very small bowl. Add in just enough boiling water to thoroughly cover the leaves. Let this sit to open up the leaves.
[Hot version: preheat tea cups by filling with hot water.]
Heat milk and water in a small pot over medium heat. Just before it begins to boil, add in the moistened tea leaves and turn off the heat. Stir with a spoon to mix.
Cover the pot and allow it to steep for 4 minutes if you will drink it hot, or 5 minutes if you will drink it iced.
Give it another stir, then strain the milk tea into a bowl or measuring cup that has an easy pour spout. Sweeten the tea to your taste preference with honey.
Hot version: Empty hot water from tea cups and fill with prepared milk tea.
Cold version: Chill in fridge until cool enough to serve over ice.
Measurements for one serving: 1 ½ tsp (heaping) black tea leaves (75% Darjeeling, 25% Assam) - 150 ml milk - 75 ml water
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 110
- Sugar: 16.5 g
- Sodium: 133.5 mg
- Fat: 3.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.1 g
- Protein: 5.2 g
- Cholesterol: 12.5 mg
Keywords: Japanese tea, royal milk tea