Exploring Milk Tea Culture of Hong Kong


“And an iced milk tea please!” If you have visited Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese) speaking areas, especially Hong Kong, you would have heard this sentence at least once. Milk tea has been staple for Hongkongers for the past few decades.


angello-lopez-553308-unsplash.jpgHistory of Hong Kong Milk Tea

Hong Kong-style milk tea originates from British colonial era. The British practice of afternoon tea, which indicates black tea served with milk and sugar, arrived Hong Kong as a popular trend in that period, although most of the Hongkongers could not afford the English afternoon tea in hotels and expensive restaurants. However, following the Second World War, the English tea trend became common, and finally came to reach general public so that everyone can enjoy without burden. With a few decades of popularity, Hong Kong-style milk tea was developed, and now it is welcomed by people of all ages.


Traditional Style vs New Style

The original style of milk tea in Hong Kong was supposed to be made in old-fashioned way, where the tea leaves are filtered by a sackcloth bag and adding milk into it. However, a current version of mixing tea powder with water or milk is simpler so that it takes short time to make- which fits into Hong Kongers’ fast lifestyles- and better for the general people to enjoy it even though they are not tea masters.

rosalind-chang-658852-unsplash.jpgWhile the old people enjoyed milk tea as afternoon tea with little snacks as tradition, people nowadays are drinking milk tea whenever they want- no matter it comes along with breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with whatever they have for meals. Also, especially the youth are now enjoying milk tea as a dessert or even instead of meals, since there have been great developments in milk tea such as putting toppings of aloe, tapioca pearls, and jellies into it and naming it as bubble tea.


Places Where You Can Enjoy Milk Tea in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, you can always order milk tea in the restaurants such as Hong Kong-style restaurants and Cha Chan Tengs, while it is hard to find milk tea in traditional Cantonese restaurants or dim sum teahouses. Aside from the restaurants, there are milk tea cafés all over the streets, such as Sharetea, Gong Cha, and Coco. Also, there are a lot of sticks, cans, and cartons of milk tea available in supermarkets too.


Reporting from Amy Hwang