Teakan LABO x Institution of HK Milk Tea’s Hong Kong Milk Tea Workshop | Tea Course

by Tea in Spoons

Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy Hong Kong Milk Tea, a Ceylon black tea mixed with evaporated milk. I’ve tried instant mixes and bottled versions but it was never tasted quite the same as it being freshly made. So, when I saw this workshop, I knew wanted to learn how to make it myself!

Hong Kong (HK) Milk Tea has a special place in my heart because I get it during lunchtime with my parents when we go Cha Chaan Teng (HK-styled Cafe). What drew me to this workshop is that it was a real-time lesson, covering multiple recipes, and the price included the essential tools and three tea blends to make 22-24 cups.

The HK Milk Tea Set was mailed in a small box and included:

  • 2 linen tea bags (stockings);
  • 1 stainless steel loop; and
  • 3 blends of pure Ceylon Tea (100g each).

I did a quick unboxing on Youtube!

Workshop

The workshop was held virtually at the end of last month. It was led by cousins Claudia and Jan from Teakan, a tea brand that focuses on tasting kits, and Yan from the Institution of HK Milk Tea. Yan runs HK Milk Tea workshops and has taught thousands of people how to create authentic HK Milk Tea in Hong Kong!

A day before the workshop, students were sent an email from Tekan x Institution of HK Milk Tea on what to prepare beforehand. I appreciated this because in some workshops, I’ve had pretty bare-bones instructions and then felt rushed since I was trying to find the right cups or bring the water to the right temperature.

During the workshop, the students were taught the history of HK Milk Tea, the different types of teas used to make HK milk tea blends, how to make the tea concentrate, and how to use use the concentrate in various recipes such as HK Milk tea and Lemon Tea. A portion of the session was set aside for students to ask questions and troubleshoot.

One thing I never knew about HK Milk Tea was that it takes 15 minutes to boil the tea concentrate. Therefore, it is key to keep the tea steeping at a consistent boil. If the boil is too rapid, too much water is boiled away, but not enough and the tea base is too diluted. During the live session, we all had an opportunity to show Yan how rapidly our water was boiling which was a useful starting point. I ended up boiling away too much water, and I was left with half the amount I was supposed to have. Thankfully, all I had to do was top off the missing amount! With my concentration, I made my first HK milk tea and also a lemon HK tea and both tasted great and were exactly what I get at Cha Chaan Teng!

Tea Blends

As mentioned, the kit came with three tea blends. Since I was only able to try one blend during the workshop, I decided to make all three so I could try them next to each other. I used 300 millilitres of water, and 11 grams of tea and boiled the tea for 15 minutes. It took a few tries, but I found the sweet spot for me was the heat between 3 and 4 on my stovetop. I used 3 teaspoons of condensed milk to 9 teaspoons of the tea concentrate. I did not add sugar.

Blend No. 1: The dry blend was made of fine tea leaves with an earthy and cocoa smell. The concentrate had a brisk, earthy, and woody taste. After adding the condensed milk, the HK Milk Tea was brisk, earthy, roasted, and woody and the creamy notes of the condensed milk shined through.

Blend No. 2: The tea leaves were slightly larger than Blend No. 1. and had a sweet, floral and woodsy smell. The concentrate was floral, woody, and damp earth in taste which was evident after adding the condensed milk. The sweetness highlighted the floral and earthy notes from the blend.

Blend No. 3: I could smell the classic Lipton tea blend even before brewing it which has a warm earthy smell. The tea concentrate was brisk, earthy, and a bit bitter on the tongue. After adding the condensed milk, it tasted exactly like what is made at Cha Chaan Teng, rich, deep earthy and toasted notes, followed by the sweetness and creaminess from condensed milk, and the sip ending in a hint of bitterness that lingers on the tongue.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I found the HK Milk Tea workshop useful as each step of how to make the tea was presented in a digestible manner. I liked that the workshop also came with tools and three tea blends and that there were even suggestions for a non-dairy version. This was a great workshop and I am glad I attended! There will definitely be more HK Milk Tea in the future (4/5 rating).

The question of the post: Have you had HK Milk Tea before?

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