This Hokkaido Milk Tea is simple, creamy, and absolutely delicious. Ready to serve and enjoy in 3 easy steps and under 5 minutes!
Tea doesn't need to be plain and boring, and without a doubt, Japanese teas are some of the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing!
This Hokkaido Milk Tea is rich, tasty, and so simple to blend at home! Jazz it up with some tapioca pearls for a fancy cup of bubble tea. There are so many varieties to this recipe that you will definitely find one that suits your tastes!
What is Hokkaido Milk Tea?
Hokkaido Milk Tea is a popular tea in Japan, that originated from the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido. Its typically made using black tea leaves (such as breakfast tea, Darjeeling, or Earl Grey) and fresh milk from the Hokkaido province.
Hokkaido milk tea is known for its velvety, creamy, and rich taste.
There are many variations for this recipe, including using alternative milk and boba or tapioca pearls for a bubble tea version!
Ingredients and Variations
Tea - Hokkaido Milk Tea is made using black tea-leaves or teabags. You can use regular English breakfast tea, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, or Assam tea, according to preference and availability.
Milk - Traditionally, Hokkaido tea is made using fresh Hokkaido milk, which gives it its creamy texture and hints of vanilla. However, this type of milk is difficult to get hold of in other parts of the world.
Alternatively, you can use whole or semi-skimmed dairy milk (ideally full fat!) or even neutral-flavoured plant-based milk, such as oat milk or rice milk.
Sweetener - You can use a sweetener of your choice such as granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, or agave syrup. If you want to go the traditional way, I suggest adding caramel syrup, brown, or light brown sugar.
Boba / Tapioca Pearls - For a boba or bubble tea version, you can add some boba or tapioca pearls - make sure to buy the quick-cooking type!
How to Make Hokkaido Milk Tea
Step 1 (Optional): Boba/Tapioca Pearls
If making Hokkaido Bubble Tea, cook tapioca pearls according to package instructions.
Boil 2 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan and to a boil and carefully add tapioca pearls.
Once boba pearls float to the top (around 30 seconds), decrease heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (covered).
Drain cooked tapioca pearls and transfer to a bowl with cold water. Let sit for 30 seconds, drain, and transfer tapioca to a glass bowl. Stir in 2-3 teaspoons of sugar and set aside.
Step 2: Brew Tea
Steep your desired black tea teabags or tea leaves in ½ cup freshly boiled water for 4-5 minutes.
Strain and discard teabags or tea leaves. Stir in your sweetener of choice.
Step 3: Assembly
If using, divide tapioca pearls between two large serving glasses.
Add half of the brewed black tea mixture to each glass and top with milk.
TIP: For a creamier version, froth milk using a milk frother.
Make it Vegan
For a vegan-friendly version, swap dairy milk for plant-based alternative - I would suggest a neutral-flavoured milk such as oat or rice milk. Make sure to use a vegan-friendly sweetener.
The rest of the ingredients included in this recipe are vegan-friendly. Tapioca pearls are typically plant-based, but always double-check with the label before purchasing.
Making Ahead and Storing
Hokkaido Milk Tea is best served fresh. I don't recommend making this recipe ahead.
Yes, this tea does include a small amount of caffeine, which is coming from the black tea. The amount of caffeine depends on the type and amount of tea you use for this beverage.
Due to its caffeine content, this tea is best enjoyed in the mornings or early afternoon.
Hokkaido Milk Tea
Tapioca/Boba Pearls (Optional)
- 40-80 g quick-cooking tapioca/boba pearls (¼ to ½ cup)
- 500 mL water (2 cups)
- 120 mL cold water (½ cup)
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
Hokkaido Milk Tea
- 375 mL Hokkaido milk or semi-skimmed, whole, or plant-based (1½ cup)
- 125 mL water boiling, (½ cup)
- 1-2 black tea teabags e.g., Breakfast tea, Earl Grey, Darjeeling
- sweetener of choice e.g., brown sugar, honey, caramel syrup
- Tapioca Pearls (if using): Boil 2 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan and and carefully add tapioca pearls. Once pearls float to the top (around 30 seconds), decrease heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (covered). Drain cooked tapioca pearls and transfer to a bowl with cold water. Let sit for 30 seconds, drain, and transfer tapioca to a glass bowl. Stir in 2-3 teaspoons of sugar and set aside.
- Black Tea: Steep teabags in ½ cup freshly boiled water for 4-5 minutes. Strain and discard teabags. Stir in sweetener of choice.
- Assembly: Divide tapioca pearls between two large serving glasses. Add half of the black tea mixture to each glass and top with milk. For a creamier version, place milk in a milk frother before adding.