What's the Best Tea With Milk? Read These Tea Rules!

Updated on: December 1, 2023
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What's the Best Tea With Milk? Read These Tea Rules!

Nothing beats a deliciously creamy milk tea on a cold day, or even as a refreshing treat in warm weather. But with so many tea and milk options available, how do you know which combination will tickle your taste buds?

Fret not, dear reader, for we have done the research to help you discover the best tea with milk

Some Rules of Thumb for Adding Milk to Tea

Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind if you're unsure whether you should be adding milk to your tea:

  • Bold teas with a strong flavor usually pair best with milk. This includes black teas, matcha, spiced teas such as chai, and some herbal teas.

  • Conversely, delicate or complex teas such as white teas, oolong teas, and most green teas don’t pair well with milk.

  • Avoid adding milk to overly acidic teas, or the milk could curdle. These typically include fruity herbal teas. Check my tea acidity post to find out how acidic your tea is!
  • It’s not just about the tea! There are a plethora of types of milk to experiment with! Try using dairy and non-dairy alternatives including almond, oat, and soy milk. And if you can find some, try my favorite: Hokkaido milk!

Best Teas for Milk: Top Choices for Creamy Goodness

Adding milk to tea is a tradition that has been ongoing for many centuries already. For example, grassland tea milk tea in Mongolia, or nai cha, consists of a mixture of black tea, milk, butter, salt, and other ingredients - a combination that has unlikely changed for centuries (1). In Europe, adding milk to tea was first mentioned in 1680 in the writings of Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (2).

This is to say that adding milk to tea has been done countless times, and many cultures and people have developed their own approach. So, pairing tea with milk is a matter of personal taste.

However, to create a delicious milk tea you need to strike the right balance between the tea’s astringency and the milk’s sweetness and creaminess. The milk should enhance the tea’s flavor without overpowering it.

That’s why full-flavored, heavy, or full-bodied teas, such as black, chai, and some herbal teas are all ideal for making creamy milk tea.

Strong bodied teas like chai are best with milk

Having delved a bit into the history behind tea with milk, let’s move on and talk about the teas that pair best with milk.

Classic Black Teas

Black teas pair well with milk

Owing to their robust flavors and their capacity to harmonize with the creaminess of milk, classic black teas like English Breakfast and Assam are excellent for pairing with milk. These bold teas and the creaminess of milk go hand in hand, creating an indulgent treat that’s perfect any time of day.

The crème de la crème of classic black teas for milk are:

  • Assam Tea: its strong and malty flavor pairs exceptionally well with milk. Due to this, Assam tea is often used in many bubble tea flavors!

  • English Breakfast Tea: this classic tea has a rich and full-bodied flavor that goes very well with milk.

  • Earl Grey: Although the British way is to drink this tea with lemon and sugar, many Americans add milk (and omit the lemon, of course). And yes, this tea goes well with milk due to its strong body.

  • Darjeeling Black Tea: Darjeelings also combine very well with milk. However, I recommend you enjoy higher-grade Darjeelings on their own because they have a delicate floral flavor that can easily be masked by the flavor of milk.

  • Ceylon Black Tea: Black teas from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) are famous for their full-bodied flavor. Their flavor depends on their terroir but their strong body makes them ideal for milk.

Did you know?

Malaysian Teh Tarik and Hong Kong-style milk tea are made from Ceylon black tea, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. If you are a tea lover and haven’t tried them, you are missing out!

Chai Teas

Chai pairs well with milk

Chai tea is a tantalizing blend of black tea, spices, and delightful flavors, ideal for pairing with milk to craft a soothing and luxurious beverage. The combination of spices and rich flavors creates a comforting and indulgent experience that’s perfect for warming up on a chilly day or simply treating yourself to a moment of relaxation.

Green Teas for Milk: Matcha and Hojicha

matcha pairs well with milk

Green teas should not be generally mixed with milk due to their delicate flavor and aroma. However, there is one exception, the powdered form known as Matcha.

Matcha green tea can make a delightful pairing with milk because of its very strong, earthly flavor. Adding milk to it results in a creamy and invigorating beverage. Matcha is a green tea powder that is known for its vibrant color and potent flavor. When combined with milk, it creates a frothy latte that is both soothing and energizing.

Matcha lattes have gained popularity due to their unique flavor and health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and are a great source of natural energy. The creaminess of the milk perfectly balances the earthy taste of the Matcha, creating a beverage that is both indulgent and beneficial.

Another exception is Hojicha, which is roasted Japanese green tea. Hojicha has a characteristic nutty and, roasty flavor that goes well with milk! There is even a Hojicha bubble tea out there, waiting for you to try it!

Herbal Teas

rooibos pairs well with milk

Strong-bodied herbal teas like rooibos and honeybush tea can also be savored with milk. These caffeine-free teas offer a gentle and comforting alternative to more robust tea options, making them ideal for a relaxing evening or a moment of mindfulness.

Try red rooibos blends with chocolate or caramel notes and let us know what you think!

Another herbal tea that goes quite well with milk is lavender tea. Just make sure you make a strong lavender brew before adding milk and a bit of sugar!

Choosing the Right Milk for Your Tea

Choosing the Right Milk for Your Tea

Given the multitude of milk options available, it might seem daunting to select the perfect one for your tea. But fear not, dear reader, for the choice ultimately comes down to your personal taste preferences and dietary restrictions.

From traditional cow’s milk to dairy-free alternatives, there’s a dairy-free milk option to suit every palate and lifestyle.

Traditional Cow's Milk

Traditional cow’s milk, known for its neutral flavor and creamy texture, is a favored choice for tea. Different fat percentages in cow’s milk can impact the overall taste of the beverage, with whole milk offering the creamiest experience.

Premium Cow's Milk

If you want to indulge try getting your hands on some Hokkaido milk. This Japanese milk has a creamy texture with a sweet taste of Vanilla. It’ll go exceptionally well with any strong-bodied tea.

Dairy-Free Alternatives

For those who lean towards dairy-free options or have specific dietary limitations, a wide range of alternatives is available. Almond, oat, soy, and coconut milk each offer unique flavor profiles that can complement and enhance your tea experience.

Experimenting with dairy-free alternatives can lead to exciting and innovative flavor combinations, allowing you to personalize your tea experience and cater to your specific preferences and needs.

Does Adding Milk to Tea Have Any Health Benefits?

A study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene shows that adding milk to your tea can help decrease teeth staining as a result of drinking tea (3). Further, milk is rich in nutrients including calcium, protein, and potassium (4) which are important for your bones and growth (5).

Creative Tea With Milk Recipes to Try at Home

Ready to take your tea game to the next level? We’ve compiled a list of creative tea-with-milk recipes for you to try at home. I hope these tea lattes offer a delicious and unique way to enjoy tea with milk.

From iced matcha lattes to lavender Earl Grey milk tea and spiced rooibos lattes, there’s a recipe to suit every taste and occasion.

Iced Matcha Latte

Iced matcha lattes blend the vivid green tea powder with milk and ice to create a rejuvenating and invigorating beverage, ideal for hot weather. This delicious concoction is a fantastic alternative to traditional iced coffee, offering a unique and invigorating flavor experience.

To make an iced matcha latte, follow these steps:

  1. Vigorously whisk together matcha powder and hot water until the powder is fully dissolved. Ideally, use a chasen, which is a Japanese bamboo whisky specifically made for matcha.

  2. Add ice and milk of choice and stir until blended.

  3. Finally, add a sweetener of choice, if desired.

Enjoy your refreshing and energizing iced matcha latte!

Lavender Earl Grey Milk Tea

Lavender Earl Grey Milk Tea

Lavender Earl Grey milk tea imparts a floral nuance to traditional black tea, culminating in a calming and fragrant drink that is suitable for both hot and cold enjoyment. This delightful combination of flavors is perfect for an afternoon tea party or a relaxing evening at home.

To make lavender Earl Grey milk tea, follow these steps:

  1. Steep Earl Grey tea bags and dried lavender flowers in hot water for several minutes.

  2. Add milk to the tea and heat until it is steaming.

  3. Add a sweetener, to taste.

  4. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your soothing and aromatic lavender Earl Grey milk tea.

Spiced Rooibos Latte

A spiced rooibos latte is a delightful concoction that combines the sweet, caffeine-free herbal tea with a variety of warm spices and milk. This combination results in a comforting and luxurious beverage that is perfect for cozy evenings spent at home. It is an excellent choice for those who are seeking a caffeine-free alternative to traditional lattes.

To make a spiced rooibos latte, follow these steps:

  1. Combine rooibos tea with warm spices such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cardamom.

  2. Add milk to the tea and heat until steaming. A sweetener can be added to taste.

  3. Curl up with a good book and enjoy your comforting and indulgent spiced rooibos latte.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which tea goes best with milk?

The best milk teas are strong-bodied teas. This includes most black teas, spiced teas such as chais, and some green teas like matcha or hojicha. Herbal teas can also work, as long as they don't contain anything too acidic.

What are some popular dairy-free milk alternatives for tea?

Almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk are popular dairy-free options for tea drinkers looking for an alternative.

How do I make an iced matcha latte?

Mix matcha powder with hot water, stir in ice, milk, and sweetener to taste, then blend until smooth - and you've got yourself an iced matcha latte!

Does oolong go well with milk?

In my opinion, oolong is best experienced on its own due to its complex and sometimes delicate flavor. However, you’ve probably heard of milk oolong tea. This refers to #12 or "Milk Oolong" Nai Xiang tea. Originating from Taiwan, this tea’s flavor is sometimes compared to milk.

Finally, oolong milk tea is quite good (i.e. oolong boba tea). However, milk tea drinks are not traditional tea per se.

what tea goes best with milk

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the world of tea with milk offers endless possibilities for flavor and enjoyment. From classic black teas to exotic chai teas, and soothing herbal teas, there’s a perfect pairing for every taste. Experiment with different milk options and creative recipes to discover your ideal tea experience and enjoy the comforting and indulgent world of deliciously creamy milk tea.

Felipe is a tea expert with an engineering background! He loves to drink and learn all about tea and coffee. His love for tea was discovered while living in Japan and his favorites are Sencha & Pu'er!

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Do not consume any type of coffee, tea, or herbal infusion if you are allergic to it. The information in this article is not intended to treat serious medical conditions. Please seek professional medical advice before using home remedies.

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