Hokkaido Milk Tea: A Creamy Japanese Drink Delight

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In recent years, bubble (or tapioca) milk tea has become a rage among the younger Japanese community. If you are also a fan of milk tea, a famous milk tea specialty from Japan that you surely have to try once is Hokkaido milk tea. 

Natural sweetness from creamy milk and a slightly rich flavor of black tea that goes with its toppings are the reasons why no one can resist the attraction of this drink. Even if you haven’t tried it, Hokkaido milk tea is easy to make at home in under 10 minutes with only 4 ingredients!

What Makes Hokkaido Milk Tea Special?

A cup of Hokkaido Milk tea on a plate with a strawberry and a bowl of Japanese strawberries in the background
Hokkaido milk tea is a really a delightful drink that pairs well with all kinds of treats, including Japanese strawberries. Image via Shutterstock

When it comes to milk tea, it goes without saying that milk is the soul to a delicious flavor of milk tea. 

In the case of Hokkaido milk tea, milk from Hokkaido – an area that has long been widely recognized for its high-quality dairy products industry in both domestic and export markets – is what differentiates it from regular milk tea. In Japan, this tasty drink is also known as Royal milk tea or Nidashi milk tea.

Hokkaido milk, and Hokkaido dairy as a whole, always retains its freshness as if it was just produced from the farm, having a creamy, smooth texture and tasting slightly like vanilla. It’s used in a wide variety of Hokkaido dishes including Japanese milk pudding and Hokkaido butter ramen.

 In addition, Hokkaido milk tea is distinguished by its caramel flavor, creating a naturally pleasant sweetness that helps emphasize the rich flavor of the tea.

Thus, this type of milk tea offers a rich roasted tea flavor which is enhanced and balanced by sweet caramel and the creamy texture of Hokkaido fresh milk. 

Looking for a snack to accompany your homemade Hokkaido milk tea while relaxing at home? Sakuraco delivers traditional Japanese sweets and snacks from across Japan to your door every month.

What You’ll Need to Make Your Treat:

  • Premium tea: This could be Oolong tea, Earl grey tea, English breakfast tea, Assam… As long as it is high quality black tea to create a strong aroma and rich taste, you can choose any kind of tea bags or tea leaves you like.
  • Milk: The ideal is to use Hokkaido milk, but if it is hard to find in your place, whole milk or milk powder also work great. Milk with a high fat content is the key to Hokkaido milk tea’s creamy texture.
  • Caramel sauce
  • Sweetener: Brown sugar syrup, maple syrup, condensed milk, honey, or even Okinawa black sugar is recommended to use for a harmonious sweetness.
  • Toppings (optional): tapioca pearls, jelly, pudding, … any of your choice.
A cup of Hokkaido milk tea using a thai tea base for a unique combination at a shop.
This unique milk tea combines Thai tea with Hokkaido milk to create a unique flavor combination. Image via Shutterstock

How to Make Hokkaido Milk Tea:

Ingredients:

20g black tea leaves (or 2-3 tea bags)

150ml hot water

100ml Hokkaido milk

20ml caramel sauce (or 500g sugar for homemade caramel sauce)

30ml sugar syrup (sweetener of your choice)

80g – 100g tapioca pearls

Ice cubes

Other tools: shaker, glass, straw, …

Instructions

  • Step 1: Brewing the tea

Brewing black tea with 150ml of boiling water (around 85-90℃ or 185~195℉) for 5-6 minutes. If using a tea bag, the ratio would be 1 tea bag to 50ml of boiled water.  Lift the tea bags out or filter the leaves and let it cool down a little bit.

  • Step 2: Making the caramel sauce (you can skip this if using caramel sauce sold at a store)

While waiting for the tea, put sugar in a pot and add water with a sugar-water ratio of 2:1. Turn on the stove at low heat.

Stir well until the mixture turns brown and thickens, then turn off the heat. Immediately pour fresh milk into the pot and stir well again for a creamy caramel mixture.

  • Step 3: Mixing everything together

Pour the tea essence into your shaker, then continue to add milk, syrup (you can adjust the amount of sweetener here to suit your tastes) and stir or shake well for around 20-30 seconds.

If you want to drink it cold, add ice cubes into the shaker before shaking.

  • Step 4: Add the prepared tapioca to the cup, pour the milk tea in, and add more ice to your liking. Enjoy it right away!
A cup of iced tea with a scoop of ice cream made of Hokkaido milk on top of it.
If you’re feeling daring, try copying this drink. Make Hokkaido milk ice cream and put it on a cup of iced tea. Image via Shutterstock

Hokkaido milk tea might appear to be not so different from other traditional milk teas from Taiwan – the land of boba tea. However, once you try one sip, you will never ever forget the passionate sweetness of caramel that balanced out the earthy flavor of roasted tea and the natural fattier taste of Hokkaido milk.

Good news is you don’t have to go all the way to Japan or Hokkaido to try out this drink! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have yourself a delicious drink to enjoy in just under 10 minutes.

So now, why don’t we roll up our sleeves and practice making Hokkaido milk tea to enjoy on the weekend? Don’t forget to grab some Japanese sweets and snacks to complete your sweet teatime at home!

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