Popsicle is a must for summer! These Hong Kong Style Milk Tea Popsicles are rich & creamy with a strong black tea flavor. Keep you cool & make you happy!
What is Hong Kong style milk tea? Hong Kong style milk tea is a strong brewed black tea combined with evaporated milk and sometimes sweetened condensed milk. Hong Kong was once a British colony. At some point, English milk tea was introduced. It was seen as an exclusive drink for the elites and upper class. To make it more accessible & cheaper, local restaurants, like cha chaan teng (Hong Kong style cafes) created their own versions with evaporated milk instead of milk. They also adjusted the flavors to fit the locals with a much stronger brewed tea.
Nowadays, Hong Kong style milk tea remains one of the most popular drinks among locals and tourists. It’s affordable and delicious! If you’re visiting Hong Kong, you got to try at least once!
Although Hong Kong style milk tea is that iconic, I have been avoiding any milk tea recipe ideas for a long time. Kind of like making coffee, making Hong Kong style milk tea is like creating art. There is the smell, the taste, the smoothness of the tea, the ratio of the tea & milk, the blend of different tea leaves. It can get tricky and complicated.
Since I’m not making the actual tea, I can forget all those rules, right? My goal was to create popsicles with strong black tea flavors that is creamy. I’m very happy with the end result. These popsicles sure taste like Hong Kong style milk tea!
For the tea blends, I used ceylon tea leaves and Lipton black tea bags. Traditionally, the blend of tea leaves is a restaurant secret. Every restaurant has their own blend. But in general, Ceylon tea & Lipton tea are the basic. Instead of using hot water to brew the tea, I steeped the tea leaves in a hot milk mixture (evaporated milk, milk & heavy cream) for 30 minutes. I want the popsicles to be creamy and not watery, so I omit water completely.
To sweeten the popsicles, I used a combination of sweetened condensed milk, sugar and light corn syrup. Why not just sugar? Condensed milk is normally added to Hong Kong style milk tea, so I wanted to stick to that. However I have already added enough milk in the mixture, I don’t want to overpower the tea flavors with too much milk. I decided to add some sugar as well. But then, I found out that light corn syrup can reduce iciness and booze the texture of the popsicles. That’s why I ended up using a mix of all 3. I know it seems very sweet, but cold suppresses sweetness. It’s necessary to use a bit more sweetener than normal.
Popsicles should chill in freezer for at least 8 hours. The popsicles melt very quickly after being unmolded. I like to place them immediately on a small baking sheet or plate covered with a piece of wax paper. Top with another wax paper. Freeze for a couple more hours before serving. That way the popsicles have a chance to refrozen, so they won’t be dripping everywhere.
These popsicles are rich & creamy with a strong tea flavor. They’re great afternoon wake-me-up kind of treat! I have been eating tons of these for the past week. They’re no doubt becoming my new favorite popsicles. I really hope you will enjoy them too!
Hong Kong Style Milk Tea Popsicles
- 17 ounces canned evaporated milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons Ceylon black tea leaves
- 8 Lipton black tea bags
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup plus 1½ tablespoons light corn syrup
- In a small pot over medium heat, combine evaporated milk, heavy cream and whole milk. Bring to a simmer until small amount of steam starts coming up and small bubbles form around the edge of the pot, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Add tea leaves & tea bags (keep the tags outside of the pot). Cover with a lid. Let it steep for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags. Place a cheese cloth over a sieve. Strain the tea through the cheese cloth and the sieve into a large glass measuring cup or a medium bowl. Discard the tea leaves. Stir in sugar, condensed milk and light corn syrup. Let the tea cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer to the fridge and cool for 1 hour.
- A thin film maybe form over the milk tea after it cool. Remove that with a spoon. Stir the mixture, then fill the popsicle molds with milk tea by leaving 1/8-inch space on top. If using molds that contain sticks, put on lid, sticks and freeze. If using small cups, freeze until beginning to set, about 45 minutes, then insert wooden sticks and put back in freezer.
- Freeze for at least 8 hours. If the popsicles are stuck in the molds, dip the molds in warm water for 10 seconds or so. Remove popsicles and serve. These popsicles melt really fast after being unmolded. If not serving right away, place the popsicles on a large plate or small baking sheet that is covered with a wax paper. Cover the popsicles with another wax paper. Put back in the freezer to refreeze for a couple more hours.
- For storage: Place a wax paper around the popsicle and put in a Ziploc bag. They can be kept for at least 2 weeks in the freezer.
- For the evaporated milk, I bought a large can (12 ounces) and a small can (5 ounces), which is exactly 17 ounces.
- I got my Ceylon tea online from Harney & Sons. It’s recommended by a good friend who loves tea. The one I got is Orange Pekoe.
- Lipton black tea is the classic tea bags that you can easily get from local grocery stores.
- This recipe makes about 3½ cups milk tea.