Does green tea go well with milk?

While adding milk to black tea is a very common practice, green tea has been traditionally served plain, without milk or sugar.
Does this mean green tea doesn’t go well with milk?
In this post you’ll find out what you can really expect from this combination.
I think you may be surprised by the answer!

Green tea latte

Green tea has been around for a long, long time: the first recorded use of green tea as a beverage was in 2737 BC.
Think about it, that’s millennia ago!
So, when such an old beverage is always served without milk, one is tempted to wonder if making green milk tea is a good idea.

But fact is, the culinary world is always experimenting and evolving.
And now matcha latte, matcha bubble tea and some matcha smoothies (just to name a couple of beverages that combine a green type of tea with milk) have become really popular.
So, what does the research say? Does milk ruin the nutritional value of green tea?
And do people in countries with a long green tea tradition put milk in their green tea?

Can you put milk in green tea?

Yes, you can definitely add milk to green tea!
It will taste good (if you do it the right way) and the green tea will still retain part of its nutritional value (in fact, it may even enhance some of its benefits).

The secret to make green tea taste good with milk

While green tea is normally enjoyed without milk or sugar, adding a splash of milk can change the flavor in a very pleasant way.

But I understand why so many people say otherwise: the first time I put milk in green tea, it didn’t go so well.
I couldn’t really taste the green tea and the combination just tasted like watered milk, yikes!

Then I remembered that my first homemade hojicha latte (which is also a type of green tea with milk) wasn’t that great either because I was afraid of using too much tea.
And that ’s when it dawned on me: maybe I just used too little green tea the first time I added milk to green tea!

So, I tried again, this time using more green tea (and less milk).
And guess what?
Of course it’s a matter of taste (as always), but I really think milk and green tea can go well together.

Bellow I’ll also share some ideas on how to enjoy this combination.

Green tea types that go well with milk

Although there is this kind of purist image of green tea being always served as is, there are two green tea types that are already regularly enjoyed with milk: matcha and hojicha.

In fact, the combination of these teas with milk or other dairy products has become hugely popular worldwide:

Matcha

Pouring milk into matcha tea

Matcha is a type of green tea in powder form.
It has a characteristic vibrant green color and unlike most teas, it’s not prepared by steeping it, but by whisking the tea powder.
That gives matcha tea it’s intense taste that goes so well with milk and also as an ingredient for many sweets, desserts and even dishes.

Hojicha

Hojicha latte (cold)

This green tea is considered, in contrast to matcha, a much more affordable and “everyday” tea because it’s made by roasting lower priced or older green tea.
This roasting process gives it a very pleasant, almost caramel-like and nutty flavor which goes well with milk too.
If you’re interested in trying this delicious drink for yourself, I suggest trying this hojicha latte recipe.

So there you have two examples for cups of green tea that turn out perfectly fine with milk!
But what about other green tea types?

Other types of green tea with milk

Some may argue that matcha and hojicha are okay with milk because their unique robust flavor and so they are the only ones that go well as tea lattes…
But then remember that putting matcha or hojicha with milk is also relative new.

There are so many types of green tea, so obviously I haven’t tried them all with milk, but until now I’ve tried the following with good results:

  • Green tea powder (that is not matcha)
  • Regular Japanese green tea (sencha)
  • Chinese green tea from tea bags

So, my suggestion is, if you feel called to drink your green tea with some milk or cream, just do some experimenting for yourself.
Just be aware that only matcha makes for tea latte with truly green color; most green tea types don’t give a green colored tea despite their name.

Do people in countries with a long green tea tradition put milk in their green tea?

Most people in Japan don’t put milk in their green tea (unless it’s matcha or hojicha).
However, apparently it’s quite common to see milk green tea in Taiwanese drink stands.

Also, I’ve found Japanese online forums where people say they enjoy preparing their regular green tea au lait or using Sencha to make royal milk tea.

So it looks like it’s not totally unheard of to put milk in green tea even in countries with a long green tea tradition.

Is putting milk in green tea bad for you?

This is a very common question, since green tea is well-known for its potential positive effects.
The answer is clear: contrary to some popular myths, adding milk to green tea won’t harm you.
If you tolerate the type of milk and the tea you are using, mixing them won’t turn them bad for you.

Where research hasn’t still given a final word is wether adding milk to green tea decreases its antioxidant power or not:

  • Some studies say that adding dairy decrease the amount of the beneficial health benefits of green tea.
  • On the other hand, other studies suggests that taking green tea with milk may enhance the absorption of green tea’s natural antioxidants.
  • Promoting the idea that milk diminish green tea benefits are:
  • Supporting the opposite idea, these studies support the idea that combining green tea with milk bring some benefits:

Other beneficial elements of tea such as Gallic acid and caffeine don’t seem to be influenced by the addition of milk.

So, the verdict may be that you can enjoy your tea following your taste, because as long as you don’t make a sugared beverage from it, your green tea won’t hurt you, wether it’s with or without milk.
Also, both ways may have its nutritional advantages.

What type of milk gets better with green tea?

From a taste standpoint, you can choose the milk type you like most for your tea.

The studies that research wether adding milk to green tea increases or decreases its benefits were conducted using cow’s milk.
So it’s generally believed that the addition of non-dairy milk won’t change the antioxidant content of green tea.

I personally prefer adding whole milk because I like the creamy texture of milky tea, but of course, you could use your favorite types of milk for your green tea latte.
Some ideas might be using almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, rice milk or oat milk.

How to make green tea with milk

One of the reasons why green tea is served plain is because it tastes so delicate on its own, any other flavor (like milk) could easily overpower it.

That’s why the trick to enjoying the taste of green tea while drinking it with milk is to use ENOUGH tea.

As with any other tea type, you should NEVER STEEP GREEN TEA FOR LONGER to get stronger tea flavor; that only makes it bitter in a undesired way (oversteeping).
When making green tea, STEEPING TEMPERATURE is also very important: if using water that is too hot, the tea will taste astringent.

So, for green tea that tastes intense enough to match with some milk, I advice to use up to the double amount of loose leaves (or teabags) instead of steeping it for longer or with hotter water.

Bellow is a step by step guide on how to make green tea with milk:

Mug with tea latte
5 from 2 votes

Milk green tea recipe

How to make green tea with milk
Print Recipe
Prep Time:3 mins

Equipment

  • Tea kettle Optional

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbsp. green tea (loose leaf tea) – 1 tsp. if using tea powder (or 2 tea bags)
  • 1 Cup water
  • A splash of milk of choice
  • sweetener of choice (optional)

Instructions

  • Place your tea in the mug or teapot.
  • Pour hot water over the tea.
    The recommended water temperature for green tea is usually between 160-180º F (70-82º C).
    Cover and let rest for 2-3 minutes.
    [In case of doubt, follow package instructions]
  • When the steep time is over, remove the tea (unless you are using powder tea; in that case, the tea remains there).
  • Add milk to your taste. It’s best to begin with a small amount of milk and gradually add more until you reach the desired ratio.
  • You may sweeten it if you want.

Notes

To turn this green tea latte into an iced tea, you may cold steep the tea or prepare it hot and then cool with ice cubes. In this case, you might want to make your green tea more concentrated by using more tea leaves.

Nutrition

Calories: 10kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: green tea, with milk
Servings: 1 Serving
Calories: 10kcal

Other questions around making green tea with milk

Can I steep green tea in milk?

It’s not advised to steep green tea directly in milk because milk is thicker than water, making it more difficult to enjoy the taste of the tea.
So, if you want to add milk to your green tea, it might be probably better to steep it in hot water before adding the milk.

Can I add milk to green iced tea?

Yes, the same rules for adding milk to hot green tea apply for cold green tea.
You could either make a cold brew version (leaving the tea in cold water overnight) or you could make green tea with hot water. Just make sure the tea is strong enough so the milk doesn’t overpower the taste of the tea.

I hope this post answered your questions related to combining green tea with milk.
At the end of the day, many things related to tea depend on personal taste, but if you would like to try adding some milk to your green tea, rest assured there is no reason against it: it won’t harm you, the drink won’t curd and when prepared properly, it tastes good!

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Actually I prefer green tea with milk than without it, so I was glad to know about the research that shows it has some benefits. Thanks!

    1. Until I researched I had only heard the antioxidant properties decrease with milk, so I was also happy to know green tea with milk isn’t bad at all.

  2. 5 stars
    The rich flavor of the green tea came through perfectly and the milk added a lovely creaminess to the drink. Thank you for the tips!

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