Hokkaido Milk Tea vs Milk Tea- What’s the Difference?

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Milk tea is a beverage made from black tea and milk.

It is popular in many parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America.

Hokkaido milk tea vs milk tea
Hokkaido milk tea vs milk tea comparison

There are many variations of milk tea in Japan, and it is usually made with green tea, black tea, or oolong tea.

What is Milk Tea?

For those who are passionate about all things Japan, milk tea is a delicious way to enjoy tea time.

Although it is becoming more popular in North America, milk tea originated in East Asia and has a long history there.

Milk tea taste
Milk tea with boba

Let’s take a closer look at what milk tea is and how it became popular.

Milk tea is a drink that is typically made with:

  • black tea
  • milk
  • sugar

This can be served as a hot drink, or a cold drink, and can be served with or without the addition of boba.

What is Hokkaido Milk Tea?

Hokkaido milk tea is the same as milk tea. It uses the same type of tea and is also made using milk and sugar.

Hokkaido milk tea taste
Special Hokkaido milk tea

The difference is the type of milk that is used.

Hokkaido is a dairy region in Japan. If milk from this region is used to make milk tea, then it is Hokkaido milk tea.

Milk Tea Ingredients

What do you need to make milk tea at home?

You probably already have the ingredients in your cupboard, maybe even buried at the back.

Take a look at this list before you start emptying your pantry trying to find a box of tea.


Black tea is the most common tea used to make milk tea, but did you know there are several types of black tea?

Assam black tea spoon
Assam tea

Here are the options:

  • Assam tea is a variety of black tea that is grown in the Assam region of India. The leaves are dark and full-bodied, with a malty flavor that is perfect for making milk tea.
  • Darjeeling tea is another type of black tea that is grown in the Darjeeling region of India. The leaves are lighter in color and have a more delicate flavor, making Darjeeling tea a popular choice for afternoon teas.
  • Earl Gray tea is a type of black tea that is flavored with oil from the peel of the bergamot orange. It has a unique citrus flavor that goes well with milk and sugar.

All three of these teas make excellent milk teas, so it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer.


Many types of milk can be used to make milk tea, but whole milk is the most common.

Whole milk gives milk tea a creamy texture and rich flavor. Skim milk or low-fat milk can also be used, but the drink will not be as creamy.

Soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk can be used as a dairy-free option. These kinds of milk will make a drink that isn’t as creamy, and they will also change the way the drink tastes.

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Black tea is naturally bitter, so most people add a sweetener to the drink to make it a little tastier.

Sugar is the most common type of sweetener for tea.

Milk tea with sugar
Milk tea sweetener

Depending on your preference you can use white sugar, cane sugar, or even brown sugar. Brown sugar is going to change the flavor of the drink significantly, but it will still be delicious.

Honey is another popular sweetener for tea. Honey has a unique flavor that goes well with the flavor of black tea.

Even Better – Caramel can also be used to sweeten tea. This will give the drink a unique flavor that is different from using sugar or honey.

How to Make Milk Tea

To make milk tea at home, you will need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons of black tea (or you can use 1 teabag)
  • 1 teaspoon of your choice of sweetener (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of your choice of milk

If you want to make Hokkaido milk tea, you will need to source milk from the Hokkaido region or visit the area while you are in Japan.

Making milk tea guide
How to make milk tea

Making the tea is fairly straightforward.

To make milk tea:

  • You need to boil the water then add your tea and let it steep undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Remove your tea bag or strain out your loose-leaf tea and stir in your sugar until it has dissolved.
  • Finish the tea by adding milk. You may not need the entire amount, so add a little at a time until you reach your preferred color.

Other Types of Milk Tea

There are plenty of ways to enjoy milk tea.

Some use other varieties of tea, some served cold with tapioca pearls, and some with unique flavorings.

Thai Milk Tea

Thai milk tea is made using a mix of black tea and green tea, giving the drink a slightly different flavor than traditional milk tea.

Thai milk tea is also usually made with condensed milk instead of regular milk, making it even richer and more delicious.

Bubble Milk Tea

Bubble tea vs boba guide
Bubble tea

Bubble tea is a type of milk tea that is made using:

  • black tea
  • milk
  • sugar
  • tapioca pearls

Bubble tea can be enjoyed with a wide variety of flavorings, making it a unique and tasty treat.

Hokkaido Oolong Milk Tea

Hokkaido oolong milk tea is a type of milk tea that is made using oolong tea leaves instead of black tea.

If don’t have milk from the Hokkaido region, you can still make an oolong milk tea instead.

Royal Milk Tea

Royal milk tea is made using no water.

The tea is steeped directly in the milk, making it a very rich drink.

This is the type of drink you’d want on a cold, rainy day or something you drink while you decorate for Christmas.

London Fog

A London Fog is a type of milk tea that is made using Earl Grey tea, milk, and vanilla syrup.

Milk tea London fog
London fog tea

To make a London Fog, you will need to steep the Earl Grey tea in milk instead of water. Once the tea has finished steeping, add vanilla syrup to taste.

You can also add a bit of honey if you want a sweeter drink.

Chai Latte

A chai latte is a type of milk tea that is made using black tea, milk, and spices.

Chai lattes are usually made with a mix of spices including ginger, cardamom, and cloves. And you can use cinnamon.

This gives the drink a unique flavor that is perfect for chilly days.

Final Thoughts

The difference between Hokkaido milk tea and milk tea is where the milk comes from.

To make a Hokkaido milk tea, the milk must come from the Hokkaido region in Japan.

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