Decadent Milk Tea with Brown Sugar

Make your tea time creamy and sweet with milk tea. Super simple and delicious, my milk tea recipe is made special with half and half and brown sugar.

Milk tea


Milk Tea

What is milk tea? In it’s most basic form, it’s tea with milk.

That’s it. Oh, but wait, there’s more.

Sure, you’ve got tea with a splash of milk but milk tea comes in a lot of different forms.

When you add milk to an Earl Grey or English Breakfast, you’re drinking milk tea.

Instead of cold milk, add frothed warm milk and you’ve got yourself a tea latte, which is milk tea.

Add some boba balls to your milk tea and you’ve got a boba or bubble tea.

Get some spices and black tea and you’ve got chai, an Indian version of milk tea.

There’s also the popular Hong Kong-style milk tea which is made with evaporated or condensed milk.

And finally, we have my version which is made with half & half and brown sugar. Smooth, sweet and creamy, just as milk tea should be.

RELATED: How to Make the Best Bubble Tea

Milk tea ingredients

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What I Used to Make This Milk Tea

How to make milk tea

Loose Tea or Tea Bags?

I always prefer to use loose tea over tea bags but when I’m using tea in recipes, a tea bag works just as great.

Tea in tea bags are broken bits and small pieces of loose tea so the tea is a lower quality product.

But one thing it does have going for it is creating an intense flavor, quickly.

The tea isn’t at all nuanced or complex with subtle flavors, but it’s perfect for extracting the flavor you want when diluting it in other ingredients.

Best Tea for Milk Tea

I like black tea, like Assam, best for milk tea since it’s the most intense and can stand up to the milk and sugar.

Oolong tea works second best. Especially a dark roasted oolong like this one.

Milk tea isn’t generally made with green or white tea. (Unless that green tea is matcha.)

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Black tea with milk

Four Tips for Making the Best Milk Tea

TIP #1: Adjust Sweetness
Everyone has a different level of sweet they like in their tea. Start with a teaspoon of brown sugar first and add more if needed.

TIP #2: Brew a Strong Cup of Tea
Since we’re adding half & half and sugar, you want to make sure the tea is strong and brewed properly with boiling water and steeped for the right amount of time. Weak tea isn’t great for milk tea.

TIP #3: Use Black Tea
I’ve tried making milk tea with oolong but it’s never as good as when it’s made with black tea. Black teas like Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon work best.

TIP #4: Warm Your Teacup
It’s a good practice to warm up your teacups before pouring tea into them. Pour hot water halfway into your cup and swirl around a little. Throw out the hot water. This keeps the tea from cooling down too fast. Now your cup is ready for tea!

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How to make milk tea

How to Make Milk Tea

The first thing is to boil water and steep the Assam black tea. 

I’m using loose tea but you can use tea bags instead. I’m using 2 teaspoons of tea which is the same as using 2 tea bags.

Tea with milk

Steep tea for 6-8 minutes. We’re trying to get a nice deep, dark color with a strong flavor.

RELATED: Chai Latte

Black tea

Pour the steeped tea into your mug.

I’m using this glass teapot with strainer (I love it and use it all the time) to filter out the tea leaves, but if you’re using tea bags, you can brew the tea directly in the mug and throw out the tea bags.

There is an extra step you can take to make this tea experience a better one: warm up your teacup with some hot water before you pour in the tea. A warm cup keeps the tea hot for longer.

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Milk tea

Add the brown sugar right after you pour in your tea so that it can dissolve quickly in the hot tea. Stir.

Now is the fun part. Pour in the half & half and watch it swirl around in the black tea.

Half & half is part whole milk and part light cream. It’s great for when I want something richer than milk but lighter than cream.

Look at the swirls in my milk tea!

RELATED: Matcha Latte

Stir a bit and it’s ready to drink!



Milk Tea

Milk Tea

Yield: Makes 1 serving

A creamy and sweet milk tea recipe.



  1. Steep tea in hot water for 6-8 minutes. Throw out tea bags or strain out tea leaves.
  2. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved.
  3. Pour in half & half and stir.


To make iced milk tea, steep tea in hot water and add brown sugar. Let cool, then add ice and half & half.

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  • 1 year ago

    This is absolutely mouth watering and extremely gorgeous.
    I drink probably million tea a day but this is something else.
    Thank you for sharing such amazing pictures and thank you for inspiration.

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 year ago

      Hi Kayra, thanks so much for the compliments!

  • Erika
    1 year ago

    Would I be able to let this chill in the refrigerator after it is cool to have a nice cold milk tea later?

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 year ago

      Hi Erika, yes! You can definitely chill for cold milk tea.

  • GingerGirl
    12 months ago

    My family has called this recipe “Calico Tea” for many generations & I still use it every time I’m sick.

  • Laura
    12 months ago

    You should be using white sugar not brown and use semi skimmed or whole milk. Cream should not go in tea at all.
    Also you only need one tea bag per cup but you do need a decent brand of tea to get a good strong cup of tea.

    • Oh, How Civilized
      12 months ago

      Hi Laura, yes, the traditional milk tea should be made with white sugar and regular milk but I created my own variation. And yes, one tea bag can work but I prefer two to ensure a strong cup of tea.

      • Robin
        4 weeks ago

        Do you warm your half and half or just pour in cold?

      • Oh, How Civilized
        2 weeks ago

        Hi Robin, warming up half & half would be even better but I’m usually lazy and just pour it in cold.

  • Carrie
    11 months ago

    I am a huge fan of a lovely hot cup of tea, and enjoy seeing how others make theirs. Gives me new ideas. I follow this, almost to a um.., T. Lol. But I like honey in mine. Something my Nana always did. I’ll try the brown sugar, and the boba when I find them. Thanks for the fun read!

    • Oh, How Civilized
      9 months ago

      Hi Carrie, thanks for trying the recipe and for commenting!

  • Rabeea Farhat
    9 months ago

    what is half & half ??

    • Oh, How Civilized
      9 months ago

      Hi Rabeea, half & half is a dairy product that’s half milk and half cream.

  • Bill McDonald
    9 months ago

    A nice Irish version is to use mint tea. To sort like a tea version of a McDonalds Irish ☘️ shake around St. Patrick’s Day.

    • Oh, How Civilized
      9 months ago

      Hi Bill, that sounds lovely!

  • Karen
    6 months ago

    Looking forward to giving this a try, it sounds wonderful. I like the sound of your version.

  • laverne
    4 months ago

    Hi i am a coffee drinker ready for a change. Thank God for you. (its a coffee look alike) i be ale to trick my eyes. Looking for loose tea leafs.

  • Simon
    2 months ago

    thank you for the great info, I will try them this weekend.

  • Alice
    1 month ago

    I tried this recipe last night and it was delicious. I didn’t have half and half so I just used whole milk. I made a teapot full (about 4 cups) using 4 tea bags and enough brown sugar to my tastes. I put my teapot with it in the fridge overnight. By morning the tastes were all blended and much stronger than when it was fresh and hot. I really prefer it after it was refrigerated overnight and served cold. It reminded me of a cup of chilled coffee with how creamy it was and the flavor of the brown sugar gave the tea a unique flavor I’d never had in tea before. I live in the south and love cold iced sweet tea so this recipe was a really great discovery for me. I did try ice in it like I would sweet iced tea but it watered down the flavor too much. I’ll try half and half or heavy whipping cream in it next time. I don’t normally have either on hand so they require a special trip to the store. Thanks for the great recipe! I also plan to try this recipe with a little cinnamon in it or some cocoa powder to make a chocolatey milk tea.

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 month ago

      Hi Alice, that sounds delicious! Adding cinnamon or cocoa powder is a great idea!

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