Milk tea is very popular here in China. In fact, you can’t go far without running into a milk tea “bar.” When you get it at the shop, they make it for you right there and they add tapioca pearls and can make your drink hot or cold and it is very delicious.
But for me and my (lack of) language skills, going into a milk tea bar and trying to order one myself is too difficult and intimidating. Lucky for me I can buy powdered milk tea and make it at home!
Lipton has one of the most popular brands of powdered milk teas around. My favorite is the chocolate flavor (which is surprisingly hard to find). It comes in a little packet that you pour into a mug and add hot water. I don’t know the ingredients but I am sure sugar and powdered non dairy creamer are the top ingredients.
You might think that chocolate milk tea is similar to hot chocolate but in truth they are quite different. Milk tea is thinner, and less sweet than hot chocolate. Also, while it is definitely a dessert type treat it doesn’t coat your teeth with a think layer of sugar like I find hot chocolate to do. It also doesn’t give you immediate heartburn afterward. It does, after all, have a tea base so the chocolate does not stand alone.
It does have a nice chocolaty flavor though, and it is perfect for warming up on a chilly late afternoon. The color in the mug is of a light brown, and I think it looks almost like a coffee with some creamer in it. I don’t drink coffee myself, but I would guess that it has the same thickness of a cup of coffee as well, not as liquid a tea, but not as thick as hot chocolate. It also doesn’t have a very robust scent, rather just a warming, slightly sweet smell which is nice. This is definitely one of my new favorite wintertime drinks!