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. 

All these are different variations of milk tea:

My version is made with half & half and brown sugar. Smooth, sweet and creamy, just as milk tea should be.

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Tips for Making the Best Milk Tea

TIP #1: 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 and Ceylon work best. Milk tea isn’t generally made with green or white tea. (Unless it’s matcha.)

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

TIP #4: Warm Your Teapot
It’s a good idea to warm up your teapots with hot water before brewing any kind of tea to keep the water hot during the steeping process.

My Black Tea Pick:

Milk tea ingredients

What You’ll Need

How to make milk tea

How to Make Milk Tea

STEP 1: Boil water.

Boil 1.5 cups of water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting, setting the water temperature to 208°F.

Use filtered water for the best tasting tea. The better the water tastes, the better your tea will taste.

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Pour half a cup of boiled water into your teapot and swirl the water around to warm up the teapot. Discard the water. Now, your teapot is nice and warm to steep tea in.

STEP 3: Combine tea and hot water in a teapot. 

Pour in a cup of hot water and 2 teaspoons of black tea to brew a strong cup.

(You can also use Earl Grey or English Breakfast if you like.)

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

Tea with milk

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

What we want is a strong cup of tea with a deep, dark color.

RELATED: Chai Latte from Scratch

Black tea

STEP 5: Strain tea leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup. 

I’m using this glass teapot which has a strainer built into the lid to filter out the tea leaves.

Milk tea

STEP 6: Stir in brown sugar.

Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar right after you pour in your tea so that it can dissolve quickly in the hot tea. 

STEP 7: Pour in half & half.

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.

I’m using a generous amount of half & half (1/4 cup) but feel free to add as little or as much as you like.

RELATED: Easy Iced Milk Tea

Look at the swirls in my milk tea! Stir a bit and it’s ready to drink!

RELATED: Matcha Latte

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Milk Tea

Milk Tea

Yield: Makes 1 serving

A creamy and sweet milk tea recipe.


  1. Boil water.
    Boil 1.5 cups of water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle with a temperature setting, setting the water temperature to 208°F. (Filtered water is best.)
  2. Warm up teapot.
    Pour 1/2 cup of boiled water into your teapot and swirl the water around to warm up the teapot. Discard the water.
  3. Into the teapot, pour in hot water and stir in tea.
    Pour in the remaining cup of hot water and the tea.
  4. Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Strain tea leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup. 
  6. Stir in brown sugar.
  7. Pour in half & half.
    Adjust as needed.


TIP #1: Use Black Tea

TIP #2: Brew a Strong Cup of Tea

TIP #3: Adjust Sweetness

TIP #4: Warm Your Teapot

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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
    1 year ago

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

  • Laura
    1 year 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
      1 year 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
        5 months ago

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

        • Oh, How Civilized
          5 months ago

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

  • Carrie
    1 year 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
      1 year ago

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

    • Dawn Zaffuto
      3 months ago

      I love milk tea, I too drink a lot of it while I’m sick, but then I have my addicted choice which is either chia or matcha. Hubby was in Taiwan and fell in love with the ritual of tea making, we’ve been trying to decide which tea table to purchase, so many are so beautiful and functions are different too. Thank you for this recipe, can’t wait to try this. I’ve saved it to Pinterest and shared with my hubby. You’ve inspired me to play around a bit with tea. Have a beautiful evening.

  • Rabeea Farhat
    1 year ago

    what is half & half ??

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 year ago

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

  • Bill McDonald
    1 year 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
      1 year ago

      Hi Bill, that sounds lovely!

  • Karen
    11 months ago

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

  • laverne
    8 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
    7 months ago

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

  • Alice
    6 months 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
      6 months ago

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

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