Do you know about “Royal Milk Tea” from cafes? It’s a delicious drink made by boiling black tea leaves with hot water and milk. In this article, we are going to talk about what makes it special, how it’s different from regular milk tea, and some tasty ways to make it.
What is Royal Milk Tea?
Royal milk tea is a special kind of tea made by boiling tea leaves in hot water, then adding milk and boiling it some more. It’s known for having a stronger taste compared to regular milk tea.
The name “royal” doesn’t mean it’s from England; actually, it’s a Japanese creation. There’s no such tea called royal milk tea in England. When you make it, you might use equal parts water and milk, or even more milk than water. There’s no strict rule, but it generally has a lot of milk in it. This tea’s all about richness and depth, and it’s a big hit among milk tea lovers.
The story of this milk tea starts with the London Tea Room. They were the first to make this special tea using a stewing method. Before this, another café claimed to serve Royal Milk Tea, but it wasn’t the same style we know today. Way back before 1983, a tea expert named Mr. Tesada Saito wrote about how to make royal milk tea. His recipe was different—it involved steeping tea, brewing it thick, boiling milk separately, then mixing the tea with the milk and sugar. It was quite different from what we have now.
In 1983, when the London Tea Room opened, they introduced a new way to make royal milk tea—stewing the tea and adding milk. This became really popular, and they even started serving it cold as well as hot. Since then, people have loved their milk tea, and it’s stayed a favorite on their menu. The London Tea Room played a big part in making this way of preparing the tea famous.
What makes Royal Milk Tea special?
Royal milk tea is different from regular milk tea in how it’s made and how it tastes. Usually, when we make regular milk tea, we brew tea leaves in hot water and then pour in some milk. But this milk tea takes a special path. First, the black tea leaves are simmered or stewed in hot water for a longer time. This extra simmering extracts more flavor from the tea leaves, making the tea stronger and more intense.
After that, the milk gets added to this concentrated tea. This process gives a richer and more complex taste compared to the usual milk tea. It’s like regular milk tea’s bolder sibling! The stewing method really brings out the depth and richness of the tea, setting it apart from the lighter taste of everyday milk tea. So, the key differences lie in how it’s brewed, with royal milk tea taking its time to create that extra-special flavor that fans adore.
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One way to feel less stressed is by smelling nice things. When you smell good scents like food or flowers, it tells your brain to relax. It has the original scent of black tea, which can help you calm down when you smell it.
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Royal Milk Tea FAQ
- Is Royal Milk Tea Actually Royal?
Despite its name, royal milk tea isn’t associated with royalty in terms of its origins. The “royal” in its name doesn’t signify a royal connection. It’s a flavorful tea that got its name from the way it’s prepared—brewed with a meticulous process that creates a rich and indulgent taste fit for anyone who wants a special tea experience.
- How Does the Japan Tea Association Influence Royal Milk Tea?
The Japan Tea Association, a prominent tea industry group in Japan, plays a role in promoting various tea-related aspects. Although it doesn’t specifically create royal milk tea, its influence extends to the tea culture and standards. Tea makers and importers affiliated with this association contribute to the diverse range of tea offerings, impacting the choices available for creating royal milk tea recipes.
How to make delicious Royal Milk Tea?
|to your liking
There are two ways to prepare: boiling and a method without boiling. These techniques differ in their approach. Let’s explore each method and how they’re made.
Boiling Royal Milk Tea
Put water and tea leaves in a pot and heat it.
Once it boils, lower the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for a minute.
Add the milk, but be cautious to turn off the heat before it overflows.
Strain the mixture into a cup using a tea strainer, add sugar to taste.
Serve the royal milk tea while it’s hot, and enjoy the comforting brew.
Be mindful not to spill during the entire process; spills can be challenging to clean up. Manage the fire attentively for a delightful cup of royal milk tea.
Making without Boiling
Preheat a teapot and add tea leaves and boiling water, letting it sit for over 5 minutes.
While the tea brews, warm the milk in a pot without allowing it to bubble.
Pour the strong tea from the teapot into a cup.
Add the warmed milk into the cup, then sugar to taste.
Serve the royal milk tea while it’s hot and relish the delightful brew.
Note: Be cautious not to spill the milk while warming it, and adjust the tea strength by adding more leaves if desired for a richer taste. Additionally, heating the milk to around 80°C can enhance its aroma and flavor by altering its protein structure. Please take care to prevent spills during the heating process.
Recommended restaurants/ stores
Sir Thomas Lipton (Sir Thomas LIPTON ティーハウス 三条本店)
One place worth visiting is Sir Thomas Lipton, where royal milk tea was named. This shop has branches near Sanjo, Shijo, and Kyoto Station. It’s the only store in Japan with the Teaer Lipton name. Many tourists visit this shop when they’re in Kyoto. It’s been open since before the war as a coffee shop, and it’s known for offering a lot of different foods, especially desserts. It’s famous for selling Royal Milk Tea for the longest time in Japan. Also, it’s an authorized store by the Japan Tea Association.
London tearoom Dojima honten (ロンドンティールーム 堂島本店)
There’s a tea shop in Osaka that prepares stewed-style royal milk tea. Situated in Osaka’s business district, it attracts many office workers during the day. Another branch can be found in the Hankyu Men’s Building near Hankyu Umeda Station, popular among shoppers. They serve tasty and robust milk tea, which pairs perfectly with their sandwiches, making it a satisfying choice for a meal.
Aoyama Tea Factory (青山ティーファクトリー)
In Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, there’s a special tea shop. It’s a bit hidden in a complex location. Nestled between buildings, it’s an oasis of calm amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. This store is renowned for its high-quality black tea, drawing not just Tokyo locals but also fans nationwide through mail orders. They offer royal milk tea on their menu, made with a lavish blend of 1.5 times the tea leaves and double the milk, giving it a luxurious taste.
Royal milk tea, with its rich history and diverse preparation methods, stands as a beloved beverage in Japan and beyond. From traditional stores crafting stewed variations to specialized tea shops offering luxurious blends, you can find it anywhere from Kyoto to Osaka and Tokyo. Whether sipped among the quiet lanes of Kanda Jimbocho or amidst Osaka’s bustling business district, this comforting tea captivates locals and tourists alike. To savor its indulgent taste, explore recommended stores or take time to recreate its essence at home, indulging in the art of brewing this beloved drink with our accessible recipes. You can visit our recommended stores or, if you have time, make it at home with our recipes.
You can find out more about Japanese drinks below!