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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogHokkaido Milk Tea: Why Is It So Popular?

Hokkaido Milk Tea: Why Is It So Popular?

Karina IkedoKarina Ikedo
Published Time
Posted on 
January 23, 2023
A cup of light, milk tea with honey on the side.

Do you love the taste of tea? How about milk? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you would love Hokkaido milk tea! High-quality black tea and fatty Hokkaido milk are combined to make this delicious tea, sure to please your palate. 

Compared to most dairies made worldwide, the Hokkaido milk drink has a smoother texture. And because of that, it’s a dairy that is incredibly unique and a must-try that you can’t get anywhere else. Keep reading to discover more about this tasty tea and make your own at home!

Hokkaido Milk Tea Origin

As you might have guessed, the Japanese island of Hokkaido is where the name originates. Hokkaido, the most northern province, is renowned for its stunning scenery and snow-capped mountains. It also happens to produce more than half of the nation’s milk!

In addition to being the biggest prefecture, it’s also quite remote as per Japanese standards. It’s well known for its rural surroundings, ramen shops, beer, ice festival, lavender fields, and most importantly, its superb dairy products!

What is this drink?

Hokkaido milk tea is a unique type of drink. The use of premium ingredients in making this milk tea is one of its distinguishing features. These include fatty milk and premium black tea. Hokkaido milk’s fat helps with its creamy, smooth texture, which pairs well with black tea!

A pair of hands pouring a cup of royal milk tea. The tea set is very elegant.
Royal milk tea is another name for Hokkaido milk tea. Image via Shutterstock

Brown sugar, caramel, or honey are the most common sweeteners for this milk tea. Royal milk tea and nidashi milk tea are other names for this beverage. This tea beverage is now widely available in cafés and restaurants across Japan since it’s a popular Japanese drink!

What does it taste like?

Authentic Hokkaido milk tea has a smooth flavor with mild earthy and light vanilla notes. The black tea gives off an earthy flavor. The resulting taste might differ depending on the type of black tea you use!

A shot of black tea in a glass cup, along with a black teapot against a red background.
Black tea is essential to any kind of classic milk tea! Image via Shutterstock

The main ingredient of Japanese milk tea is Hokkaido milk, which has a very creamy texture. What makes this milk special is its use of sanonto (Japanese light brown sugar), which has a subtle hint of vanilla.

Hokkaido Milk Tea vs. Regular Milk Tea

The main difference between the two milk teas is the type of milk used. While most tea uses regular milk, this special beverage uses organic milk, which is much fatter, creamier, and more flavorful!

A shot of assam black tea in both tea and liquid from.
Assam black tea is the main ingredient in Hokkaido Milk Tea. Image via Shutterstock

Both drinks have a black tea base. Traditional milk tea can be anything from Assam to Darjeeling or Ceylon. For Hokkaido milk tea, the most common choice is Assam tea.

A photo of honey, white sugar, and brown sugar, which are a few examples of sweeteners used in tea.
While any kind of sweetener will do, most people use brown sugar syrup! Image via Shutterstock

Regular milk tea can use any type of sugar – white, brown, or dark brown. This special drink uses Japanese light brown sugar, which is softer and more delicate in flavor!

What makes Hokkaido Milk so unique?

Hokkaido milk is unique because farmers work hard to keep their cows as healthy and happy as possible. Because these cows live in excellent farming conditions in a cool temperate area, they produce fantastic milk!

A waffle cone of soft-serve Hokkaido ice cream with blue skies and green pastures in the background.
Hokkaido dairy is quite famous worldwide! Image via Shutterstock

They live in large open pastures, in areas with fresh air. They also get plenty of exercise and nutritious food and are only milked during their prime. So, farmers make sure their cows live under the best possible conditions. This results in delicious, creamy, and luscious milk!

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The Best Times to Enjoy Hokkaido Milk Tea

You can enjoy the Hokkaido milk drink at any time. But the best time to take the beverage is in the morning, especially after you wake up. The milk tea freshens your mind to prepare you for your daily tasks. People can also consume the drink in the evening to help them feel more energized after a long day! 

A shot of light brown and creamy hokkaido milk tea with dark brown tapioca pearls.
Hokkaido Milk Tea is very versatile, and people enjoy it hot, cold, or with tapioca pearls. Image via Shutterstock

The Hokkaido milk beverage’s flavor and aroma can inspire you to keep working. The Japanese like homemade royal milk tea, but they also visit different tea shops and cafes to experience a variety of flavors. In Japan, cakes, pastries, and puddings have a Hokkaido milk drink flavor!

It’s no secret that Japan makes some of the best milk teas in the world. You’ve come to the right place if you love milk teas. Hokkaido milk tea is one of the milkiest and smoothest varieties of cream tea. It’s a much richer and creamier tea since the milk-to-tea ratio is much higher than other milk teas!

Have you tried Hokkaido milk tea before? Would you like to try it? Let us know in the comments below!

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