I don't have experience in preparing milk tea. I do have good previous experiences with preparing lemon tea, ice tea and black tea. I mostly used to drink black tea or lemon tea, but nowadays I have started enjoying milk tea.

I tried to prepare it by several procedure and also googled for the methods of spiced tea but I still am not getting the desired results. Nobody seem to like the tea prepared by me. I need to prepare tea almost every morning and evening so I would like to understand where and what I am doing wrong.

Here is recipe I am currently using :

1.Boil water and afterwards add milk to boiling water let it boil to 4-5 mins(equal amount of milk and water quantity).

2.Add adequate amount of tea leaves(loose tea) to the boiling solution.

3.After 5 mins, add sugar to it(as per taste) and tea spice/(ginger and basil leaves).

4.Serve it after straining tea leaves from sieve.

When I make the tea, I always find it tasteless. Mostly I find that the rich milk taste isn't good enough. It has a brownish color and the smell of tea seems to be ruined. It still has fragrance but nowhere near as much as I am expecting from best quality tea leaves I am using.

Can any one suggest what I can do to improve my cup of milk tea? Are only certain types of tea leaves applicable to this method of tea making? Are there any steps I can take to maximize the rich milky flavor of my tea?Is boiling tea leaves more than adequate time may have negative impact to its essential oils, flavor and color?

  • At this point, your question is very subjective and not that answerable. One thing you can do to make the question better is to list what is wrong with the spiced tea you are currently making or what you would like to improve upon.
    – Jay
    Mar 2, 2013 at 19:07
  • @Jay i added recipe in question body, ty for letting me inform the part left :) Mar 2, 2013 at 19:15
  • well i edited as i can explain, but i wasn't explain how worst it tasted sometimes. Mar 2, 2013 at 19:21
  • I made some edits to your question to improve the quality of it. If I accidentally change any of your original meaning, edit it farther using the edit button under the question tags.
    – Jay
    Mar 2, 2013 at 19:34
  • I noticed you reverted the recipe back to its original form. Is there a reason why? It makes it much harder to read.
    – Jay
    Mar 2, 2013 at 19:37

3 Answers 3


Hmmm..... Well, I've lived in India for 12 yrs & this is how I make 'masala chai' or 'spiced milk tea' at home & in my restaurant-

2 cups water

1 teaspoon black tea, loose leaf (I use Tokla tea from Nepal)

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

10 black peppercorns, coarsely ground

500 ml full fat 'whole' milk

Sugar to taste

In a stainless steel 3L pot combine tea, water, ginger & black pepper, bring to boil over high heat. Allow to boil for about 2 minutes.

Add milk to boiling tea, again allow to come to a boil. (Watch the pot closely in case the milk begins to foam, if it does foam- stir & decrease heat a little) Allow to simmer uncovered for 6 minutes.

Remove from heat, let stand for 2 minutes. Add sugar to taste if desired & stir. Use a tea strainer to strain into cups to serve. (or serve sugar on the side so people can add sugar to their own tastes)

Some notes-

I think you are trying to make 'tulsi' chai? Tulsi = Indian holy basil

If so usually the fresh tulsi leaves (around 8-10) are added to the boiling tea mixture with around 8 green cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, and a pinch of cumin seeds as I recall. Some Indians dry roast the whole spices to mellow the flavor a bit.

Use spices like fennel, cloves, star anise, cumin sparingly as their strong flavors can take over & give the chai a 'mouthwash' taste which isn't pleasant.

  • hey ty :) its what exactlly i was seeking for long time :) Jul 9, 2013 at 11:40

Be careful you aren't burning your milk for one. Milk needs low heat and constant motion to make sure that the fats don't settle at the bottom of the pan and get overheated.

You should also make sure your tea isn't oversteeped. Tea has a tannic flavor that can be overwhelming when allowed to boil for too long. To solve this, I'd recommend using an infuser. That way, when the pot of milk tea has reached the right level of tea flavor, you can remove the tea and continue adding spices or sugar and cooling the tea down until it's ready to serve.

Have you looked at recipes for other milk teas?

Traditional Indian chai is made by boiling the milk first and adding the tea and spices and allowing them to infuse in the milk and its fats. This gives it a bold, rich flavor that lingers on your tongue. The bitterness of cloves/ginger/cinnamon/cardamon is offset with adding the right amount of sugar of course. And I think any variety of black tea makes a good match, but assam is the traditional choice.

I'm aware that Indians have a kind of chai that is not a milk tea that's served with basil and lemon, a refreshing tea like a lemonade. Basil milk tea does not sound like a good match to me but I'd be curious whether removing basil alone would fix this issue.

English add cream or milk after the tea has been poured to offset the bitterness of it, for the same reason most Western Europeans/North Americans add milk to coffee. If there's any citrus in the tea, you'll have to use heavy cream to prevent it from curdling which is unsightly and will ruin the taste of the tea.

Lastly, for Asian milk teas, I've never actually had real milk used in the making of Bubbletea.

  • I like your answer,but as i mentioned i tried many recipes but still your answer is not satisfying me,i appreciate your answer and help. I followed the method you mentioned, about adding sugar to reduce bitterness, and cream that i already followed. But every time i don't want to use cream. Any other alternative. Mar 2, 2013 at 20:22
  • 1
    You didn't mention whether you may be oversteeping your tea or burning your milk. Do you constantly stir the pot while the milk is boiling? Have you used an infuser to remove the tea once the milk tea has reached a desired strength? I think these two are the most likely causes of your problem. I would suggest not allowing the pot to reach a rolling boil which is too hot, but a gentle simmer before adding tea and spices.
    – AdamO
    Mar 2, 2013 at 20:47
  • ty i'll keep in mind this time while preparing and the get back to you soon whether it helped me out or not. :) Mar 2, 2013 at 23:47

Black tea is best suited for milk tea as it is strong enough to make it's presence felt even with so much milk. If you use oolong/green tea, which has milder flavors, the taste of the tea will be overpowered by the milk and the sweetness of the sugar.

Also, you should consider letting the tea steep in the boiling water before adding the milk. As milk is a much denser liquid, tea takes much longer to infuse and you increase the risk of tannins getting released which might make the tea taste bitter. Refer to this chart for approximate tea steeping times.

This one is purely subjective, but basil seems like a strange herb to add to milk tea, I do not think it's flavor profile goes well with tea. In any case, most basil, when cooked, tend to become very bitter, so I would reconsider the spice/herb mixture you are using.

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