I won’t pretend to be an expert, but Hong Kong Milk Tea is my ‘must-order’ every time I go to a Hong Kong café.My criteria for a fulfilling cup of 香港奶茶 are the 5 ‘S’s – silky smooth, satisfying, sweet, and ‘siap’ (slight bitter aftertaste). =)
Q: Why is it called 丝袜奶茶？Do they really use woman’s stockings to sift the tea?!
A sackcloth bag with countless tiny holes is used to filter the tea leaves. The bag, reputed to make the tea smoother, gradually develops an intense brown colour which looks like a pantyhose.
Q: What type of tea leaves is used? Why does the tea taste so different?
Different restaurants use various combinations, some having around 15 kinds of tea leaves mixed and fried them. A must is said to be Ceylon black tea leaves.If you want to try at home, you can use 1 tablespoon English Breakfast, Assam Black tea, Irish Breakfast, Pu-erh and Lychee black tea (which can make two cups).
Q: How about the milk?
Holland “Black and White” evaporated milk is claimed to be smoother and more aromatic.
Q: The proportion of milk?
Generally 1/3 of a cup. If you make a single cup, 1/3 should be evaporated, with 1 tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk.
Q: How about iced milk tea?
Most cafes I notice add in ice cubes, which is not the ‘right’ way. After the ice melts, the tea will become very diluted. Some better cafes use cubes made of tea, or simply cool the tea in the fridge.
Whereas most of the time, we add milk after tea is brewed, for Hong Kong tea, it’s usually the reverse. To make the tea smoother, pour it back and forth like ‘teh tarik’ Be careful not to spill your tea. Enjoy!