Hokkaido Milk Tea – The Basics + Recipe!

Published Categorized as Journal

If you’ve not heard of it before, Hokkaido is the second biggest island in Japan. The milk that reigns from this island has gained itself quite a reputation in recent times.

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While it’s considered must-try milk, it seems a little crazy to go all the way to Japan to try their milk! Instead, I’ve made this recipe you can try to give you the same take of this delicious milk, without the expensive plane fares!

Table of Contents


What is Hokkaido milk?

This milk comes from the island of Hokkaido in Japan. This prefecture has gained its high reputation thanks to the rich and creamy milk which is produced on the island. Their milk is known to have the smoothest texture milk than most dairy around the world.

While milk tea is a favorite in countries all over the world, Asia has taken the crown in having such a wide variety of hot and cold drinks. Japan has a true obsession with flavored drinks, from bubble tea and other non-creamy fruit teas to milk teas specific to regions.

What makes milk teas different from country to country is the way in which it is prepared. Japanese milk teas actually are prepared differently from region to region, so this is a very typical tea for the Hokkaido region.

How do you pronounce ‘Hokkaido’ milk tea?

While the word looks difficult to read, the pronunciation is pretty easy.

The simplest way to explain how to pronounce ‘Hokkaido’ is “ho-KAI-dough”.

How to make Hokkaido Milk Tea

The great thing about this recipe is how little ingredients you need to make such a delicious drink.

What ingredients do I need to make Hokkaido Milk Tea?

  • 1-1.5 cup strong black tea
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of half and half or Hokkaido milk
  • Brown sugar
  • Tapioca pearls (optional)

How to make Hokkaido Milk Tea

Boil water

Boil your water with enough to make 1-1.5 cups of black tea. It is best to use fresh water and only boil the water once as this keeps the minerals in the water and keeps a fresh taste to the water. You can use loose leaf teas or a tea bag if you find this more convenient.

Add tea

Add your tea to the pot. Let the water simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.

Add milk

While your tea is seeping, you can add in your milk at the same time so that the milk and tea are seeping at the same time. When you steep the milk and tea together for about 2-4 minutes, you’ll really hit a perfect balance of the two flavors. This results in a rich, creamy texture and a wealth of flavor throughout your beverage.


Once you’re happy with the strength of your tea, remove the pot from the heat to cool. For faster cooling of your drink, transfer the liquid into a cold container.

Add sweetener

While your drink is cooling, it may be a good idea to add your sweetener to your serving cup. If you have a clear cup you can get creative here and swirl your hot drink sweetener around the interior of the cup. I like to use honey, but you can also any syrup or just traditional sugar. Brown sugar is also great for adding a malty flavor to your drink.

Add pearls

Optional – Add your tapioca pearls at this stage. I’ve included the method for cooking these tasty pearls below!

Add ice

Once your tea has cooled, Take some ice and add it to your serving cup, then add your Hokkaido milk tea and give everything a stir.

Drink up!

Then, it’s time to enjoy!

Hokkaido Milk Tea

How to cook Tapioca pearls

Follow this simple recipe in order to create your perfect tapioca pearls:

Cooking time: 4-6 minutes

  1. Measure one cup of dried tapioca pearls.
  2. Fill a saucepan with 10 cups of water and bring the water to a boil and bring to a simmer on medium heat.
  3. Add your cup of dried tapioca pearls to the simmering water and wait until the pearls begin to float (should take approx. 2-3 minutes)
  4. Cover the saucepan and cook on a low temperature for a further 2-3 minutes. Drain the water and add the balls to your tea!
  5. Enjoy!


Can I make Hokkaido milk tea dairy-free?

Of course! All you need to do is switch your dairy milk for a non-dairy milk. I recommend going for a type that is creamy to keep the creamy texture you’d expect from Hokkaido milk tea. I would use extra creamy oat milk, macadamia milk, or cashew milk. These milks will of course change the flavor of your tea.

What syrups go well with Hokkaido milk tea?

Honey and brown sugar syrups go really well in this tea, but why not be adventurous! If you have some chocolate syrup or caramel, why not give it a try!

What is a Japanese style topping for Hokkaido milk tea?

If you’re wanting to keep with the Japanese authenticity, tapioca pearls are a really tasty addition. Otherwise known as boba or pearls, these are small edible translucent balls that are produced from starch or cassava root. While they have a neutral flavor, they are often soaked in a sugar of honey syrup, which gives them a sweet flavor, making them a great addition to your tea! You can find them in any Asian market.

WuFuYuan - Tapioca Pearl Black 8.8 Oz / 250 G (Pack of 2)
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Enjoy Your Hokkaido Milk Tea Today!

Follow this easy recipe and soon you’ll be a connoisseur of this popular drink. The Japanese truly have mastered their catalog of cold drinks. Not only are they so versatile, but they’re also super tasty too.

If you’re enjoying these Japanese-style recipes, you can take a look at another sweet treat called Kohakutou, which is a really simple recipe, so check it out!

Let me know in the comments if you give it a go, and which your favourite syrup or topping!

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating! Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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