Nutty and caramelized flavors in a steamy and hot milk tea with an extra chewy treat of boba at the bottom — this hot almond milk tea recipe will satisfy any sweet cravings.
Hot almond milk tea was one of the most popular drinks that was sold at the boba cafe my girlfriend worked at in college, and while it’s been many many years since then, I wanted to figure out an easy recipe to make at home.
Throughout history, there have been many styles of hot milk tea such as Hong Kong milk tea that is made with ceylon tea and condensed milk or royal milk tea from Japan that is made with darjeeling or assam tea and milk. Both of these style milk teas were British influenced.
In a more millennial trend, hot almond milk tea, to me, resembles part of the boba culture that I grew up in (if you already couldn’t tell from my love of boba milk tea). It was also common practice to add boba to hot almond milk tea in the boba cafe my girlfriend used to work in, it was like a nice little treat while drinking.
This recipe differs from traditional hot milk teas like Hong Kong milk tea or royal milk tea in that it uses basic black tea leaves, is flavored with almond extract, and includes boba.
Type of tea & almond flavor
For this recipe, I used black tea leaves from Hua Tai Tea Company that I found at 99 Ranch. You can use any basic black tea leaves you find at your local grocery store. The main takeaway is that you use black tea leaves (vs. using lighter flavored jasmine tea for taro milk tea) because the bolder flavor profile works best when paired with almond extract.
For this recipe, I steep the tea for an extended period of time, about 15 minutes, which some tea enthusiasts don’t recommend doing because it can potentially give you bitter tasting tea. Since we are adding sugar, milk, and almond extract, there is no bitterness that comes through the drink.
I personally like the strong flavor of the black tea that comes when you combine all the ingredients. To learn more about tea, visit my post on green tea vs. black tea.
I also picked up Simply Organic almond extract from my local grocery store, but you can use any almond extract you have at home or that is available to you. Since the almond extract is fairly strong, you don’t need to use too much in a cup.
Type of milk & sugar
Traditionally, milk tea is made with condensed milk or evaporated milk, I used whole milk for a slightly fattier consistency. In boba cafes, they will also use non-dairy creamer because it’s an affordable ingredient and shelf-stable, but I like using whole milk for the flavor and since it’s more accessible.
In boba cafes, they tend to use liquid fructose to sweeten drinks, but I like to try to stay away from overly processed ingredients. I use dark brown sugar to emphasize the nutty flavor of the almond extract. Brown sugar sweetens the tea without overpowering the flavor of the milk tea like white sugar can.
How to brew the tea
To brew hot almond milk tea, I like to extract as much bold flavor from the tea leaves as much as possible and brew it over the stove. I also like to wrap the tea leaves in cheesecloth (or a reusable tea bag), for easy removal of the leaves later.
In a small pot over medium-high heat, boil water and then add your tea leaves. Continue this boil for about three minutes and then remove the pot from the heat and continue to steep for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
After steeping, remove the leaves and reheat your tea for about one to two minutes over medium heat (remember we want this to be hot milk tea). Add in the almond extract and stir to combine.
To assemble your hot almond milk tea, pour tea into your preferred teacups or mugs. I like to add pre-made or homemade boba at the bottom of the cups for an extra chewy treat. I would recommend eating boba with a spoon versus a straw so you don’t burn yourself. Also note, don’t wait too long to eat your boba because it just gets chewier in warm liquids.
For each 4 ounce teacup, I like to add about one tablespoon dark brown sugar and one tablespoon milk. If you want more, you can adjust from there. I also choose to wait to add sugar and milk to each individual cup so that people can adjust to their sweetness and dairy levels.
Hot almond milk tea would go great with pandan waffles or even crunchy sesame balls.
What is milk tea?
Milk tea is found in many different cultures all over the world and is basically a similar combination of tea and milk. In this recipe, I use black tea leaves, dark brown sugar, whole milk, and flavor with almond extract.
What tea is good for milk tea?
Depending on what type of milk tea you are making, you can use black tea, assam tea, ceylon tea, or even jasmine green tea. If you’re adding extra flavors like almond, you also want to make sure you pair the tea with the flavor. For example, almond extract goes well with black tea because of the earthy and caramel undertones of black tea pairs well with the strong, nutty flavors of almond.