What is Hokkaido Milk Tea?
What is Hokkaido Milk Tea?

In traditional Japanese culture, tea drinking ceremony plays an important role.

Green tea leaves were brought to Japan by monks who studied in China. Only they drank it for a long time, but at the end of the twelfth century, samurai warriors accepted Chinese traditions began to enjoy it too.

This trend expanded to all Asian countries, where you can find tea houses on almost every corner.

Soon, tea began to be grown in Japan, and it became a favorite drink of ordinary people. At the end of the sixteenth century, the famous thinker Sen-no Riku added a spiritual element to drinking tea. Hence, over time it developed and grew into what we now call the tea ceremony, which is colored by the Japanese tradition of spiritual fulfillment and pleasure.

Even today, drinking tea is a beautiful way to achieve a sense of peace and tranquility.

As we mentioned, green is among the most popular kinds of tea in Japan, but there is one more – Hokkaido milk tea as a base uses black tea (fresh leaves) with milk and sweeteners. Japanese people mostly use honey, brown sugar, or caramel syrup as a sweetener. The milk that they add to tea is from the Hokkaido region.

Hokkaido milk tea
Royal milk tea (shutterstock.com)

Hokkaido is the second-largest island in the Japanese archipelago, with beautiful landscapes and untouched nature. Although it is the second-largest island in Japan, less than 5% of the population lives in Hokkaido province, but the region is known for agriculture and dairy products.

Hokkaido milk is worldwide famous good quality milk, and Japanese people exclusively use it to prepare Hokkaido milk tea.

It’s also called Nidashi or royal milk tea.

What is Hokkaido milk tea vs regular milk tea?

There is a difference between regular milk teas and Hokkaido milk tea. While traditional milk teas often use non-dairy creamer and milk, such as almond or soy milk, original Hokkaido uses only Hokkaido milk.

Hokkaido milk is locally sourced milk that gives a creamy texture and caramel flavor to satisfy all taste buds.

You can sweeten both versions with the desired type of sugar – brown sugar, honey, caramel, etc. You’ll get perfectly creamy milk tea.

What is the taste of milk tea Hokkaido?

Always prepare black tea in a teapot
Always prepare black tea in a teapot (shutterstock.com)

Hokkaido tea, famous Japanese creation, has a unique and untypical taste. It offers a rich flavor combined with a creamy milky texture. As we mentioned, Japanese milk tea as a base uses black tea.

Leaves are well-known for their strong, roasted, and earthy flavors. Hokkaido milk enriches the texture of the tea, giving it thickness and creaminess. The addition of full-fat milk makes full-body and rich tea flavor.

The flavor of Hokkaido milk tea mostly reminds caramel. It’s intense and memorable. Once you try it, you’ll recognize it no matter how long time does it pass.

How to make Hokkaido Milk Tea?

The Hokkaido milk tea recipe is straightforward – you can make it with ingredients you probably already have at home, at your kitchen cupboard, or in the refrigerator. Preparation takes only a few minutes, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a cup of aromatic and tasty milk tea.

Nidashi milk tea
Black tea is the base of Nidashi milk tea (shutterstock.com)

Hokkaido Milk Tea Ingredients

  • Loose leaf tea – Milk tea is made with a black tea base. You can use any quality fresh tea in a bulk or in a tea bags – English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Assam Black, Yunnan, Darjeeling, Keemun, Ceylon Black, Lapsang Souchong, or any of pre-packaged versions of modern blends. For best results use roboust black teas. Tea in tea bags can be used, too.
  • Milk – Traditional form of this drink uses a cup of Hokkaido milk, but you can substitute it with whole milk or a mixture of cream and whole milk in a 1:1 ratio. That way your milk tea will have an even richer and creamier texture. If you don’t use dairy products substitute them with almond or any other kind of plant milk.
  • Sweetener – Most common sweeteners for this drink are caramel syrup, brown sugar syrup and honey. Add sweetener to suit your preferred flavor, so you can enjoy your favorite cup of tea.

Instructions for preparation a cup of Hokkaido Milk Tea

What this tea drink makes special is high-quality ingredients, while the preparation process is pretty much the same as with all other milk tea drinks.

  • Measure black tea leaves – You’ll need approximately one teaspoon of loose leaf black tea for every 6 ounces of water. Prepare tea leaves in teapot ot tea infuser so they can release maximum flavor.
  • Heat water – Heat water until it boils – you can do it in electric kettle or in a pot on the stove.
  • Infuse tea leaves – Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and infuse for 3 to 5 minutes. If you want lighter taste of your tea, remove black tea leaves after 3 minutes. If you like stronger tea, leave the leaves soaked for 5 minutes.
  • Add sweetener – Chose the sweetener you like the most – traditional sugar, brown sugar, sugar syrup, honey, caramel – in desired amount.
  • Add milk – Tea making will be over with adding some milk. It would be best to use tea Hokkaido milk, but milk can be dairy or plant, cold or warm, and you can even use milk powder if you’re out of fresh milk.
The amount of caffeine in black tea depends on various factors
The amount of caffeine in tea depends on various factors (shutterstock.com)

Tip: If you want to make iced tea out of milk tea Hokkaido add some ice cubes.

How much caffeine does Hokkaido Milk Tea have?

The caffeine content in Nidashi milk tea can vary depending on the type of tea you’re using. If you’re using tea leaves, the cup of drink will have half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

The amount of caffeine depends on several factors:

  • Size of tea leaf: Hokkaido milk tea is usually prepared with crushed leaves. If leaves are whole they contain less caffeine than crushed leaves.
  • Water temperature: Hotter the water more caffeine will be released into the Hokkaido milk tea. We recommend fully boiled water (boiling point is approximately 212 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • How long tea steeps: This is logical – more you leave tea leaves to soak in water, more caffeine the tea will have.
Type of teaAmount of caffeine
Black tea50 milligrams
Oolong tea30-40 milligrams
Green tea20-30 milligrams
White tea15-20 milligrams
Amount of caffeine in different types of tea

Is Hokkaido tea healthy?

Hokkaido milk tea is very healthy if you don’t exaggerate the amount of sugar. This drink has anti-aging properties, as it kills free radicals. Also, it helps to function the cardiovascular system, and it’s good for your heart, especially if you add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your tea mixture.

Hokkaido milk tea also strongly supports and improves the function of the immune and digestive systems.

Bubble tea
Boba – Bubble tea (shutterstock.com)

Interesting fact – many people use this creamy milk tea drink as a part of a weight reduction diet, as it satisfies their sweet tooth.

Does Hokkaido milk tea has any side effects?

Hokkaido milk tea does contain pretty high levels of caffeine, and some people can have an adverse reaction to this ingredient. Caffeine excess can cause insomnia, blood pressure problems (hypertension), dizziness, heart palpitations.

Also, if you’re taking medicines for some health issues, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist to see your medications complementary to the ingredients of this tea.

What is special about Hokkaido milk?

Fresh milk produced in Hokkaido province differs from all other kinds of milk. Hokkaido region is known for its untouched nature and dairy production. A cup of tea Hokkaido milk has a smooth and creamy texture, with a slight vanilla taste. It s the country’s best milk. It has more considerable fat content than other dairy kinds of milk – 3.6% dairy fat – this is full-fat milk.

Happy cows in Hokkaido
Happy cows in Hokkaido (shutterstock.com)

Tea Hokkaido milk is more expensive than any other milk in Japan. Cows enjoy Hokkaido landscapes – they have a fantastic view, healthy freshwater, quality air, and food – best conditions for producing the most quality dairy products.

What are other types of milk tea in Japan?

Okinawa milk tea is similar to milk tea Hokkaido – it has almost the same ingredients, but it differs in type of sugar. While in tea Hokkaido you can use the sweetener of your preference, Okinawa tea uses a special kind of brown sugar, called Kokuto sugar.

Tea lovers often compare Hokkaido milk tea with Boba tea. Taro milk tea or taro boba tea is also a milk tea flavored with (homemade) tapioca pearls (tapioca balls). Tapioca pearls or tapioca balls are edible translucent spheres produced from tapioca, a starch extracted from the cassava root. They are the reason for the “bubble” name. You can make boba tea without milk, but people usually add regular or condensed milk to improve the taste. Don’t forget to add tapioca balls! Its origins in Taiwan.

Another tea that is similar to Hokkaido is famous Thai tea. The bases for this drink are usually Assam or Ceylon tea mix, milk, and sweeteners. Thai tea can be perceived as a fruit tea, as you can enrich it with fruit flavors and spices.


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  • https://senchateabar.com/blogs/blog/hokkaido-milk-tea
  • https://adayofzen.com/hokkaido-milk-tea-vs-okinawa-milk-tea-whats-the-difference
  • https://topictea.com/blogs/tea-blog/hokkaido-milk-tea/
  • https://www.artfultea.com/tea-wisdom-1/hokkaido-milk-tea
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapioca_balls