Iced Milk Tea is What We’re Drinking All Summer Long

Iced milk tea
Image by nalinrat/Depositphotos

Tea is not as addictive a drink as coffee, but there is still joy in downing a cup a day. With the warmer weather, however, a mug of steaming tea may be the last thing you feel like. But before placing your teabags at the back of the pantry until winter rears its chilly head, you may want to try a chilled version of the drink that started a war.

Doong lai chaa—or iced milk tea—is extremely popular in Hong Kong, having originated under British colonial rule, thanks to the Brits’ practice of afternoon tea with milk and sugar. The “Hong Kong-style milk tea-making technique” was recognized as one of the intangible cultural heritages (ICH) of Hong Kong in 2017.

Traditionally, a sackcloth bag resembling pantyhose is used to strain the tea, but it should be perfectly fine to make your tea as you normally do. Do try to brew it strong as the milky element can dilute the flavor. Ceylon, Earl Grey, and other black teas work well.

The milk comes in the form of evaporated milk or condensed milk if you prefer it on the sweeter side. Non-dairy milk can also be used, but the drink will not be as thick. Here’s how to make it:


  • 1-2 black tea bags depending on how strong you want your tea
  • 1 cup of just-boiled water
  • ¼ cup chilled full-cream evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk
  • Ice cubes


  1. Add tea bags to just-boiled water and let steep until cooled to room temperature (at least 1 hour).
  2. Add ice cubes to a 500ml glass and pour in the chilled tea.
  3. Add the chilled evaporated milk.