How to Make Royal Milk Tea
My favorite recipe when I want a cozy tea time
Are you ready to take your milk tea to the next level? If you’re looking for something new and comforting, Royal Milk Tea is the perfect option!
And I’m here to teach you how to make your own at home: no need for fancy equipment or barista skills.
So, forget pre-made royal milk tea powder and get ready to make Royal Milk tea with this simple and delicious recipe.
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What is Royal Milk Tea
Royal Milk Tea is a creamy beverage made with black tea and milk.
It originated in Japan but has been gaining popularity around the world.
To make royal milk tea, black tea leaves are simmered in milk, in a similar way to traditional Indian chai.
The result is an irresistibly rich, smooth and comforting drink with an intense tea flavor.
Royal Milk Tea can be served hot or cold.
Often it’s sweetened with sugar or other sweeteners to enhance its comforting character.
Another name for Royal milk tea is nidashi tea (which translates to “cooked tea”).
What you’ll need
Just four simple ingredients:
Feel free whatever type of black tea you want (Darjeeling, Assam tea, English breakfast blends…).
Also, the recipe works fine using both loose leaf tea or tea bags.
Personally, I often make this with decaf tea.
Since the decaf tea I use tastes slightly less than regular tea (most brands do), I adapt by using slightly more tea.
Nevertheless, simmering the tea brings out its taste, so even when using decaf tea the resulting milk tea is super satisfying.
One of the perks of reducing the milk by simmering is that the result tastes rich, no matter what kind of milk you use.
For example, I usually use low-fat milk and still get velvety texture.
Feel free to experiment with different types of sweeteners to create your own unique flavour.
Some great options to sweeten Royal milk tea are:
- brown sugar
- kokuto (this makes it taste like Okinawa milk tea!)
- condensed milk
- maple syrup
- dates syrup
- sugar-free sweeteners like xylitol or erythritol
Variations for this recipe
How to make vegan Royal milk tea
You can use plant based milk, but you’ll have to check if the milk alternative you use is suitable for cooking.
For example, oat milk can get very thick, almond milk can get bitter if you overcook it…
Soy milk usually works very well for this recipe.
Make hojicha Royal milk tea
Hojicha tea blends perfectly in this recipe.
Hojicha is roasted green tea and it has a very agreeable toasted, nutty, even smoky flavor.
It also has less caffeine than regular black tea.
For a unique twist on traditional Royal milk tea, just switch the black tea for hojicha tea leaves or a hojicha tea bag.
You can see in this other post how to roast tea yourself to make your own hojicha.
Adapt to make it a Hokkaido milk tea
Hokkaido milk tea is a milk tea flavor inspired by Hokkaido’s creamy dairy milk.
The idea is that it’s tea combined with Hokkaido milk, which is known for its rich milky flavor, almost with hints of vanilla.
Simmering the milk creates a creamy and milky drink, so Royal milk tea is probably the closest you can get to Hokkaido milk tea (even if you use other types of milk).
In fact, some people mean that Hokkaido milk tea and Royal milk tea are the same thing.
To make your Royal milk tea even more similar to Hokkaido milk tea, I recommend adding half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla-infused honey.
You can also add some tapioca pearls to get a milk tea like in a boba parlor.
You can enjoy Royal milk tea warm or cold.
But if you want a refreshing version, I rather recommend this easy recipe to make iced Hokkaido milk tea (it’s quicker and there is no stovetop involved).
Iced Royal Milk Tea
While Royal milk tea is very comforting, it’s also very enjoyable served chilled.
To make iced royal milk tea, you can follow one of these methods:
- After simmering and straining your tea, let it cool down and then serve with ice cubes.
- Make it more concentrated by using the double amount of black tea and eventually adding some cream or extra milk powder. Then chill over ice.
How to make Royal Milk Tea at home
Time needed: 15 minutes.
How to make Japanese Royal milk tea
- Boil water and steep tea
Heat the water in a pan.
Once the water has boiled, stop the heat and add the tea.
Cover the pan and let rest for 2 minutes to let the leaves unfurl and release their flavor.
- Add milk
After the 2 minutes are over, take the lid from the pan (you’ll be greeted by an AMAZING tea smell) and add the milk.
Turn the heat on again (middle-strong heat).
Stir the mixture every now and then while you let the mixture simmer, just until before the milk is about to boil (don’t let it boil!).
- Let rest
Remove from heat, put the cover of the pan again and let the mixture sit for 2 minutes.
Since the milk balances out any bitterness of the tea, you want to allow the tea fully develop its robust flavor.
- Remove tea and serve
Strain the tea into your cup or remove the tea bags.
The resulting tea will be a beautiful golden, light brown color with a creamy texture and a fragrant aroma.
Sweeten to taste and enjoy warm or let it cool down (I personally prefer drinking this tea hot).
Common question about Royal milk tea
Traditional milk tea is a combination of steeped tea and milk, while royal milk tea is prepared by simmering the tea in a mixture of water and milk.
This extra step of steeping results in a intense tea flavor with rich, creamy texture.
On the other hand, milk tea (as known from boba tea parlors) are milk-based drinks that can be made with a variety of flavors: using green tea or even without any tea at all (like taro milk tea).
Yes, since Royal milk tea it’s prepared by simmering black tea, it’s a caffeinated beverage.
If you want to reduce your caffeine intake, you can use decaf tea.
Another idea to reduce the amount of caffeine in your Royal milk tea is to use hojicha tea instead of black tea.
Originally, Japanese Royal milk tea didn’t have boba.
But over time, bubble tea shops have started to offer this popular milk tea flavor with the addition of tapioca pearl.
The name of Royal milk tea (ローヤルミルクティー) was first used by the tea room Lipton in Kyoto (Japan) in the mid 1960’s.
Royal milk tea was one of several menu items that included the word “Royal”, probably to refer to luxury or indulgence, as in “Royal pudding”, “Royal ecclair” or “Royal short cake”.
However, this first “Royal milk tea” wasn’t made simmering milk: it consisted in strong tea with milk with high fat content.
It was in the early 1980’s when the London Tea Room in Osaka (source in japanese) began preparing black tea by simmering it in milk, as we know it today.
And finally, it was in 1995, as the company Kochaden began selling Royal milk tea in cans, that this beverage became widely popular throughout Japan.
Royal Milk Tea Recipe
- Small sauce pan with lid
- A wooden spoon (or similar) to stir
- Strainer (Only if you use loose leaf tea)
- ½ Cup water
- 2 tsp. black tea or 2 tea bags
- ½ Cup milk
- 1-2 tsp. sugar
- Bring water to a boil.Once the water has boiled, remove turn the heat off, add the tea, cover the pan and let steep for 2 minutes.
- Once the 2 minutes are over, remove the lid (it smells so nice when you do it!) and the milk.Turn the heat on (medium-high).
- Stir occasionally.Take the milk off the heat just before it reaches boiling point, but when it's about to start boiling.
- Remove tea (strain into a cup or just take the tea bags out) and sweeten to taste.
- Feel free to use your preferred sweetener (honey, dates syrup, keto-friendly sweeteners…)
- If you are only making one serving, you can add your sweetener together with the milk
- You can enjoy Royal milk tea hot or cold. But when I want this hot, I prefer making it this alternative way (no stovetop involved).
- Other delicious variations for this recipe:
- Make it a Hokkaido milk tea by adding 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla honey
- Switch the black tea for hojicha or for oolong tea
I hope you enjoy this Japanese milk tea recipe as much as I do!
Royal milk tea is a very comforting drink that is perfect for those moments you want to treat yourself. It has a soothing flavor and aroma that is both rich and creamy, making it a very satisfying drink.
The aroma of the tea leaves and the creamy texture of the milk make this drink very appealing and indulging. It’s just a dream.
And all this while still staying relatively low in fat and sugar!
As you have probably realized, I can’t praise this recipe enough, so if you’re looking for a filling and homely drink, Royal milk tea I definitely recommend trying it!
If you liked this comforting drink, I think you may also like to explore these other cozy and delicious drink recipes:
It’s amazing all I can learn from your blog. I Had never imagined that Royal milk tea was born in Japan !