Hokkaido Milk Tea: You Must Try This Delicious Drink!

Updated on: December 1, 2023
Author: Nick
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Hokkaido Milk Tea

Do you love the taste of tea? How about milk?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you will love Hokkaido milk tea! This delicious milk tea is a fusion of high quality black tea and fatty Hokkaido milk, and it is sure to please your taste buds.

In this post, we will discuss what this popular Japanese milk tea is all about, and how to make this delicious treat at home. We will also give you some tips on how to make your drink as tasty as possible, especially since most likely you won't have access to Hokkaido milk.

We'll also show you some of the spins and variations of this drink, including the iced version, bubble tea, Hokkaido oolong milk tea and more. Finally, we will provide a brief overview of other types of milk teas, and how they differ from Hokkaido milk tea.

Let's get started!

What is Hokkaido Milk Tea?

Hokkaido Milk Tea is a type of milk tea that originated in Hokkaido, Japan.

Hokkaido is the northernmost prefecture in Japan. It is also the largest prefecture and is considered quite remote by Japanese standards. It is famous for its outdoorsy nature, ramen, beer, ice festival, lavender fields, and significantly, its amazing dairy products!

One of the characteristics of this milk tea is that it’s made with high-quality ingredients. These include high-quality black tea and fatty Hokkaido milk. The fat in Hokkaido milk helps create a creamy and smooth texture, which pairs perfectly with black tea. This is likely the best milk to pair tea with!

This milk tea is also sweetened, usually with brown sugar, caramel, or honey.

Hokkaido milk tea is also known as royal milk tea or nidashi milk tea.

Due to its popularity, this tea drink can now be found in many cafes and restaurants throughout Japan, and lately, around the world. However, if you're not in Japan or don't have access to a Japanese café, don't worry! You can still make Hokkaido Milk Tea at home.

Japanese Cafe

What Does Hokkaido Milk Tea Taste Like?

Hokkaido Milk Tea is a sweet and creamy milk tea that is perfect for those who love the taste of black tea.

This tea features a strong black tea flavor. This rich tea flavor is perfectly balanced out by the Hokkaido milk and the sweetener, which is typically caramel, brown sugar or honey.

This milk tea also has a very smooth and creamy texture, which makes it quite enjoyable to drink.

It is usually drunk hot, but the iced version is also delicious. 

What Makes Hokkaido Milk So Special?

Hokkaido milk is special because farmers put a lot of effort into ensuring their cows are as healthy and happy as possible.

It is said these cows produce amazing milk because they are kept in ideal farming conditions under a cool temperate climate. They live in large open pastures, in areas with very clean air. They also get plenty of exercise, they are given nutritious food, and they are only milked during their prime.

In short, farmers make sure their cows live under the best possible conditions. This results in a delicious, creamy and luscious milk.

Hokkaido Japan Cows

How to Make Hokkaido Milk Tea from the Comfort of Home

It is easy to make Hokkaido milk tea from home. You most likely won’t have access to Hokkaido milk, but we'll show you a workaround.

Use Quality Ingredients

You will need the following to make this coveted milk tea...

  • Black tea leaves - Remember that this milk tea emphasizes the quality of the ingredients. So if possible, don't use tea bags. Use loose leaf tea. In terms of the types of tea, select a bold black tea, such as an Assam, Darjeeling or Ceylon.

    You can also create your own blend, for example, you can use a keemun tea which can soften the flavors of bolder teas like Assam teas.

  • Hokkaido Milk Tea - well, most likely you won't have access to this type of milk. Instead, use a high quality organic grass-fed whole milk. Remember that the creaminess is important here, so skimmed milk won't work.

  • Heavy Cream (optional) - ignore this if you are lucky enough to have access to fresh Hokkaido milk. If not, consider adding 2 tbsp of heavy cream. This will help emulate the texture of Hokkaido milk.

  • Filtered Water - depending on the water in your area, it might be best to use filtered or distilled water. Some areas have water with high mineral content, which can impact the taste of your milk tea.

  • Sweetener - we recommend using brown sugar, caramel or raw honey.

Hokkaido Milk Tea Recipe

In this recipe, we will make brown sugar Hokkaido milk tea.


  • 1-2 tsp of loose leaf black tea (we prefer 2 tsp)
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1/2 cup of Hokkaido milk or high quality whole milk
  • 2 tbsp of heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar (or as desired)


  1. In a small pot, bring 1 cup of filtered water to boil.

  2. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.

  3. Add 2 tsp of loose black tea leaves. Occasionally stir for about 2-3 minutes (the longer the time, the stronger the tea flavor).

  4. Add the milk and heavy cream (optional, if you don’t have Hokkaido milk).

  5. Add the brown sugar and stir well so it dissolves. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

  6. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the tea into your favorite mug.

  7. To make this a true Japanese experience, say out loud "itadakimasu!" before drinking your tea.

Here Are Some Hokkaido Milk Tea Variations

Throughout time different variations of this milk tea have come to life. Here are some of the most popular ones.

Iced Hokkaido Milk Tea

If it's 120 degrees outside, you may not want to have hot milk tea. Simply let your tea cool down, add ice cubes to a tall glass, and pour the cooled tea. Enjoy!

Hokkaido Milk Tea Boba (Bubble Tea)

Of course there has to be a boba variation of this milk tea. Brown sugar tapioca pearls go really well with this tea. The chewy texture of the boba pearls adds a new dimension to this already amazing drink.

Royal Milk Tea Boba

You can easily adapt the above recipe to make this a bubble tea flavor. You can buy premade brown sugar tapioca pearls online - just follow the package instructions on how to cook them.

Or even better, make your own tapioca pearls. We recommend this since Hokkaido milk tea is about the quality of the ingredients. Just follow our recipe on how to make boba from scratch. If you follow our recipe, don't add brown sugar, since you will already be preparing brown sugar syrup.

Don’t like black tea? You could concoct something like a Hokkaido taro milk tea by omitting the tea and using taro instead!

Just make sure you serve it in a reusable bubble tea cup. Let's keep our planet beautiful.

Hokkaido Oolong Milk Tea

Another variation is using oolong tea instead of black tea. If you decide to go this route, make sure you don't burn the oolong tea by adding it to boiling water. You should steep the oolong tea leaves with water at around 185 to 195 degrees.

To accomplish this, we recommend steeping the tea separately and then adding it to the hot (but not boiling) milk.

Don’t have a tea strainer? Then learn how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer!

Vegan Hokkaido Milk Tea

You can make this milk tea vegan by using non-dairy milk. We recommend using oat milk as it's creamy. Did you know that you could even make a vegan boba tea version?

Hojicha Hokkaido Milk Tea

Hojicha is Japanese roasted green tea. It's one of my favorite teas given its nutty flavors, and its aroma is to die for. Another advantage of this tea is that it contains less caffeine than other teas, due to the roasting. So it's perfect if you have a craving at night.

Substitute the black tea with this tea, but make sure you steep it in water that is between 175 to 185 degrees.

Other Types of Milk Tea Around the World

The world of milk teas is grand. Here are some milk teas from different areas of the world.

  • Okinawa Milk Tea: this one is often confused with Hokkaido milk tea, but it's not the same drink. One difference is that the Hokkaido version uses Hokkaido milk (duh) and the Okinawa milk tea does not.

    But more significantly, the Okinawa milk tea uses kokuto. Kokuto is brown sugar made from the unique Okinawa sugar cane, and is considered one the healthiest sugars around the world.

  • Hong Kong Milk Tea: this milk tea features bold black tea flavors, usually made from ceylons teas or Pu-erh. It is made with evaporated or condensed milk.

  • Masala Chai: one of the heartiest milk teas, masala chai has many ingredients, including black tea, milk, honey, ginger, cloves, cardamon and other spices.

  • British Milk Tea: you're probably already familiar with this one. This drink is made with black tea (English Breakfast tea, for example), milk and a sweetner.

  • Pearl Milk Tea: you may know this one as bubble tea or boba. It’s its own category as there are many boba tea flavors and tons of toppings you can use. Some of my favorites include classic milk tea, honeydew milk tea, taro milk tea, hojicha milk tea and jasmine milk tea.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Hokkaido and Okinawa Milk Tea?

Hokkaido milk tea is made with Hokkaido milk whereas Okinawa milk tea is made with regular fresh milk. Okinawa milk tea features kokuto, which is a brown sugar from sugar canes cultivated in Okinawa. Hokkaido milk tea uses regular brown sugar, caramel or honey. Okinawa milk tea is often served cold, since Okinawa is a sub-tropical island.

Does Hokkaido milk tea have any health benefits?

There is not much research on Hokkaido milk tea, but both black and oolong teas have been shown to have health benefits. These benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses, as well as aiding in weight loss.

However, these are sugary drinks so they are not considered healthy. If you want to take advantage of the health benefits of tea, just drink straight tea.

What is the difference between Hokkaido milk tea and regular milk tea?

The main difference is on how Hokkaido farmers treat their cows. They make sure their cows are happy, get plenty of exercise and pasture time, and this, combined with the cool and clean air of Hokkaido, results in an amazing milk.

What is the caffeine content of Hokkaido milk tea?

One teaspoon of black tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine, depending on the size of the leaves, the type of tea, and how long you steep the leaves for. This means a Hokkaido milk tea prepared with two tsp of black tea could contain about 100 mg of caffeine.

Hokkaido Milk Tea

Bottom Line

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our post about Hokkaido milk tea and that you try it at home. 

Hokkaido milk is one of the best milks in the world, with a creamy taste and mouthfeel, which results in one of the best milk teas in the world.

Let us know if you have any comments or questions!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!

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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