Skip to Content

Coffee Milk Tea Recipe (Hong Kong Style)

Coffee milk tea is a delicious breakfast option if you like coffee and tea, but can’t decide between the two. Consumed both hot and cold, coffee milk tea contains the benefits of both. 

Making coffee milk tea can be accomplished in just a few easy steps, with only four ingredients. Keep reading to learn more about this caffeinated drink and how to make a delicious version of it. 

What is Coffee Milk Tea?

Coffee milk tea is one of the most popular morning drinks in Hong Kong, South Korea, and many Asian countries. This combination of coffee and tea is usually made with a ratio of three parts coffee to seven parts tea with milk. It’s usually sweetened and can be served hot, in a tall glass with ice cubes, or with the addition of tapioca balls as a boba drink.

It goes by quite a few names:

  • Coffee milk tea
  • Hong Kong milk tea
  • Hong Kong-style yuangyang
  • Yuan yang tea (interestingly, this translates to “mandarin ducks” in Chinese)
  • HK milk tea
  • Yuenyeung tea

What Does Coffee Milk Tea Taste Like?

As you might expect from a combination of tea and coffee, this popular drink is a blend of the two flavors. The milk and tea tone down the bitter flavors of the coffee to make a sweet, rich, creamy drink with just a hint of bitterness.

Does Hong Kong Coffee Milk Tea have Caffeine?

If made with traditional black tea leaves and regular coffee, this drink will have caffeine. Depending on the ratio of the tea mixture to coffee mixture, this delicious drink will have between 45 mg and 95 mg of caffeine for an 8-ounce serving.

coffee milk tea
Hong Kong style milk tea is a creamy combination of tea and coffee.

Is Coffee Milk Tea Healthy?

While coffee and tea have many health benefits on their own, this drink may not be so healthy depending on how much sweetener and what type of milk you use to make it.

Ingredients for Hong Kong Milk Tea

Most people have the ingredients on hand in their kitchen already since this sweet beverage contains only these four following ingredients: espresso, brewed tea, milk, and sweetener. The combinations are nearly endless, so you can mix up just the perfect drink for your taste buds.

What Teas are used in Coffee Milk Tea?

Black tea is the type of tea traditionally used in coffee milk tea since the flavor of black tea blends well with espresso. 

Here are some of the tea varieties that are popular variations on coffee milk tea: 

  • Chai tea blends: Chai tea blends are black teas that have been mixed with a variety of spices that include cardamom, turmeric, black peppercorns, allspice, and cinnamon. 
  • Thai milk tea: Thai milk tea is a type of milk tea that is made with brown sugar and condensed sweet milk as major flavors in it.
  • Earl Grey tea: Earl Grey tea is a black tea blend from England that is flavored with bergamot oil. This oil gives the tea a bright, citrusy flavor and aroma. 
  • Assam tea: Assam tea is a type of tea from the Assam region of India. Assam is famous for its deep, malty flavor and bright color. 

Try experimenting with different types of tea in your coffee milk tea to find the one you like best. 

You can also try herbal teas or green tea, but the flavors in these lighter teas won’t hold up as well to the flavors of coffee. 

This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is sort of boring, but you can find it here.

iced yuan yang tea
Coffee milk tea is often served over ice, and even with boba or other additions.

What Milk should be used in Yuan yang tea?

Whole milk is the type of milk that is standard in a coffee milk tea recipe, but plant-based milk and non-dairy milk can also be used. 

These are some alternative kinds of milk you can use in coffee milk tea: 

  • Soy milk: Soy milk is a good dairy-free alternative to whole milk in coffee milk tea since it has a creamy mouthfeel and a neutral flavor. 
  • Coconut milk: Coconut milk can lend a sweet tropical flavor to coffee milk tea that pairs well with chai tea and Vietnamese tea blends. 
  • Almond milk: Almond milk has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that compliments coffee milk tea well.
  • Oat milk: I find that this is a great creamy non-dairy substitute.
  • Condensed milk or condensed milk:  Adds an extra degree of creaminess to this tea coffee mashup.
  • Half and half or heavy cream: Results in a super decadent drink.

All of the options above are practical swaps for whole or 2% milk in coffee milk tea for people who are vegan or lactose intolerant. For best results, stay away from skim milk – it just doesn’t have the level of creaminess needed for this drink. 

What Sweeteners to Use in Coffee Milk Tea

The sweeteners you use in coffee milk tea are up to your personal preference, but traditionally brown sugar is used. 

These are a few other sweeteners you can add to coffee milk tea if you don’t like brown sugar: 

  • Honey: Honey is a natural sweetener that is known for having many medicinal properties. The flavor of honey depends on what plants the bees that made it fed on.
  • Maple syrup: Maple syrup is a sweet, sticky sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. Maple syrup has hints of caramel and vanilla that pair well with coffee and tea.
  • White sugar: Granulated white sugar is made from cane sugar and has a more mild sweet flavor than brown sugar. 
  • Agave nectar: Agave nectar is a syrup that is made from the fluid found in blue agave plants. Agave has a flavor that is similar to honey. 
  • Simple syrup: Just a blend of sugar and water that’s been simmered, it’s easy to make and great to keep on hand for any hot drink, iced tea, or cocktail.
  • Brown sugar syrup: Made like simple syrup, this sweetener has a richer flavor. 

Since the flavor of whatever sweetener you add to coffee milk tea will be well balanced by the bitterness of the espresso and the black tea, you’re free to use whatever sweetener you like. 

Try experimenting with different sweeteners and add-ins for your coffee milk tea to find a combination you really like. 

What Type of Coffee Can You Use to Make Hong Kong Style Milk Tea?

If you order this drink in a coffee shop, you’ll get coffee milk tea made with espresso, however, if you’re whipping up a cup of yuanyang tea at home any of these will work well:

Medaglia D Oro Coffee Inst Expresso 2 Oz (2 Pack)

hong kong style coffee milk tea

Coffee Milk Tea (Hong Kong Style)

Yield: 2
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This creamy mixture of tea, coffee, and milk is easy to make and a nice change of pace from your usual hot morning drink. You can make nearly infinite varieties if you change the milk, the type of tea, and the type of sweetener you use.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (or plant-based alternative)
  • 5 black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee OR 2 shots espresso
  • 2 TB brown sugar (or sweetener of choice)


  1. Add milk and tea to a small saucepan. Make sure tea is completely immersed in the milk.
  2. Heat over low heat until milk is steaming.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove tea bags and stir in espresso.
  5. Reheat gently if needed.
  6. Stir in brown sugar and serve.


You can use this recipe for hot coffee milk tea, or cool and pour over ice. If you're fancy, you can even add some brown sugar boba to your iced drink.

Change things up by using different varieties of tea, different types of milk, and different kinds of sweeteners.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 6g

Nutrition figures are estimates. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information for any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe.

Steps for Making Coffee Milk Tea

Coffee milk tea is a simple blend of coffee and tea with milk that isn’t hard to make. 

However, coffee milk tea does take a few more steps to brew than either coffee or tea on its own. You’ll need separate brewing devices for making your tea and espresso. 

Here is the process you’ll have to follow to make coffee milk tea: 

  1. Make the milk tea.
  2. Make the espresso.
  3. Mix the milk tea and espresso together. 
  4. Sweeten and serve

A basic coffee milk tea can be a jumping-off point for making more complicated coffee milk tea recipes like coffee bubble tea with boba pearls and Thai coffee milk tea. 

Below we’ll give you a step-by-step breakdown of how to make a cup of coffee milk tea. 

Make the Milk Tea

The first step to making coffee milk tea is making the milk tea. Making milk tea for coffee milk tea is simple:

  • Add milk and tea to a small saucepan, and stir to make sure tea leaves or tea bags are completely immersed.
  • Heat over low heat until steaming.
  • Remove from the heat source and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Make the Espresso

Espresso can be brewed with a specialty electric coffee maker, an espresso machine, a stovetop Moka pot, or a French press. 

Primula Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker, Moka Pot for Classic Italian and Cuban Café Brewing, Cafetera, Six Cup

As long as it’s strong coffee, you can even use cold brew coffee, or instant coffee for this recipe. Having a jar of instant espresso powder on hand makes things easier, so that’s what I use. 

Once you have the hot espresso ready, you can move on to the next step of making coffee milk tea – the assembly. 

Mix the Milk Tea and Espresso

After making the espresso, the final step in making coffee milk tea is to mix everything together. 

Take your shots of espresso and mix them with your milk tea in a large mug, stirring to blend everything together. 

Sweeten and Serve

Coffee milk tea is usually served on the sweet side, but since you’re making it yourself, you can add the amount of sugar you prefer. Start with a tablespoon of sweetener for each serving and go from there.

Coffee Milk Tea is the Best of Both Worlds

Basically, a mixture of hot coffee, hot tea, and milk, coffee milk tea is a delicious beverage for people who have a hard time choosing between a morning cup of coffee and a morning cup of tea. Using the recipe above, you can have both! 

coffee milk tea recipe
Want to save this recipe for later? Save it to your favorite Pinterest board and pass it on!
Skip to Recipe