Hokkaido Milk Tea is a version of milk tea made in Hokkaido, Japan, that is a blend of black tea and whole milk, sweetened with brown sugar syrup or honey.
If you’ve ever had milk tea before, you know how unique this drink can be. In shops where milk tea is served, there are all kinds of creative flavors you can try. One of my favorite is Hokkaido milk tea because of how rich and creamy it is.
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This is a drink we really enjoyed when we were in Japan. While you can get many different version, including Okinawa milk tea, and many flavors of bubble tea at cafes throughout Japan, this version is creamier and richer.
Just like Champagne from anywhere other than that region of France can be called such, so can’t this drink be called Hokkaido milk tea unless it’s made with Hokkaido milk.
Unfortunately, it’s really difficult, if not impossible, to get Hokkaido milk outside of Japan. You can get Hokkaido milk powder on Amazon if you want to try the real thing, though it is quite expensive. You can substitute with whole milk, half and half or single cream to get a similar taste.
What Is Hokkaido Milk Tea?
Hokkaido milk tea got its name from the region in Japan where it originated. Hokkaido is the second-largest island in Japan, and it’s known for agriculture and dairies. The milk from Hokkaido is what makes this version of milk tea so unique.
Since Hokkaido has a lot of dairies, one of their specialty products is farm-fresh milk. This milk has a high fat content. While it’s served on ice, it’s actually usually served warm, not cold. It’s also sometimes called Royal Milk Tea or nidashi milk tea.
What Is In Hokkaido Milk Tea?
- Black Tea – Unlike other versions of milk teas, Hokkaido milk tea use a black tea as the base, so you’ll want to use something like Darjeeling, English Breakfast or Assam tea. Use loose leaf tea if you have it, otherwise tea bags will do.
- Water – Use one cup of filtered water for the best taste.
- Milk – The sad truth about trying to make Hokkaido milk tea anywhere else than Hokkaido is that you can’t get the hokkaido milk. Instead, you’ll want to use whole milk or single cream in this recipe. The key to Hokkaido milk tea is the creaminess of the milk, so don’t skim out here!
- Sugar – Hokkaido milk tea is sweetened with brown sugar syrup or honey.
What is the Difference Between Hokkaido Milk Tea and Other Milk Teas?
There are two main differences between Hokkaido milk tea and other milk teas, like bubble tea from Taiwan or Hong Kong style boba milk tea, is that black tea is used in this drink and, of course, Hokkaido milk is the star. Generally milk teas are made with matcha, jasmine, oolong, or other green teas.
Whether you add tapioca pearls to the drink is up to you. It’s not always added to Hokkaido milk tea. To add tapioca pearls, cook the pearls in boiling water until they float or your desired softness is reached. Then, add them to the tea-milk mixture at the end.
How to Make Hokkaido Milk Tea
Boil the water in a small pot. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the tea. Steep the tea in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag.
Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the milk and allow the drink to cool to room temperature.
Pour the liquid into a cup, add some ice cubes and the tapioca balls, if using. Enjoy!
Can Hokkaido Milk Tea Be Served Hot?
With milk tea, you have the option of serving it hot or cold. Hokkaido milk tea is generally served lukewarm with a couple of ice cubes in it. However, it’s your cup of tea, so you can serve it however you like. To serve it hot, just pour it directly from the pot into your mug and drink right away.
Where Can I Get Tapioca Pearls?
You can buy tapioca pearls at just about any Asian grocery store, due to their current popularity. You can also buy them on Amazon. There are various forms of tapioca pearls, include black, flavored, popping, mini, and clear. For Hokkaido milk tea, the most traditional form is black.
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Hokkaido milk tea is a version coming from Hokkaido Japan, with black tea, Hokkaido milk, and a sweetener like brown sugar.
- 1 cup water
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
- 1/2 cup Hokkaido milk (substitute with whole milk, single cream, or half and half)
- Boil the water in a small pot. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the tea. Steep the tea in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag.
- Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the milk and allow the drink to cool to room temperature.
- Pour the liquid into a cup, add some ice cubes and the tapioca balls, if using. Enjoy!
You can use a fresh whole milk, single cream, or half and half to replace Hokkaido milk, if you aren't able to source it.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 0gSugar: 34gProtein: 4g
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Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.