The Story of Milk Tea
In the midst of the 13th century AD, after years of relentless warfare on the vast northern prairie, Genghis Khan's formidable army ventured into the southern realm of the majestic Yangtze River. However, due to unfavorable water and soil conditions, a multitude of soldiers from the north were plagued by debilitating diarrhea, posing a grave threat to their combat prowess. In an idyllic farmhouse nestled amidst Anhua's profound mountainscape, an enigmatic black withered herb was fortuitously unearthed - one that could be steeped in warm broth. When consumed by afflicted soldiers suffering from gastrointestinal distress, immediate respite from their afflictions was observed. Thus marked the serendipitous discovery of Anhua black tea for posterity.
Some military scholars have postulated that Black tea served as one of Genghis Khan's mystical weapons in his audacious quest to conquer Eurasia. This elixir possessed remarkable properties capable of alleviating various gastrointestinal ailments and mitigating acclimatization challenges frequently encountered during Genghis Khan's arduous campaigns. According to legend, when Genghis Khan's valiant warriors returned triumphantly to their ancestral homelands in the north, they also brought back this cherished tradition of imbibing tea. Even today, within the expansive western borderlands, one can still witness them meticulously brewing milk tea using black tea leaves as a gracious gesture towards esteemed guests who have journeyed from afar.
The Origin of Milk Tea
During the colonial era of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was discovered that milk tea had been a longstanding beverage tradition in regions such as Himalayas India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and other areas nestled at the foothills of this majestic mountain range Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia also boast a rich history of indulging in milk tea. While tea-producing nations like India and Sri Lanka can sustain themselves with their own raw materials for this delightful concoction,Xinjiang, and Mongolia have greatly benefited from the advent of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road.
Originating from ancient times' trade between horses and tea along China's southwestern frontier, this legendary route thrived during both Tang and Song Dynasties before reaching its pinnacle during Ming-Qing Dynasties. Even amidst World War II's tumultuous period later on, it continued to flourish magnificently. The Ancient Tea-Horse Road encompasses three main routes: Shaanxi-Gansu road; Shankang-Tibet road - connecting Sichuan province with Tibet extending further into Bhutan,Sikkim,Nepal,and India until finally reaching West Asia as well as East Africa's Red Sea coast.
Types of Milk Tea
Due to the diverse eating habits in different regions, the utilization of raw materials also varies, establishing an intricate connection among various milk tea types. Therefore, it would be beneficial for us to delve into the specific classifications of milk tea.
The realm of milk tea encompasses a myriad of flavors, including the enchanting grassland milk tea, the exotic Indian milk tea, the sophisticated continental milk tea, the nostalgic Hong Kong-style milk tea, and the quintessential British milk tea
Grassland Milk Tea
Grassland milk tea can also be called salty milk tea. In China's Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet and other highland nomadic regions, herdsmen make tea leaves into tea rolls. Every time they make milk tea, they first mash the tea leaves and pour them into boiling water to cook. When the tea-soup is boiled, pour in the milk, and continue to stir and boil, then add a moderate quantity of Salt, and when the milk tea is finally boiling, you can go out and drink it in a bowl.
The most prominent feature of grassland milk tea lies in its savory flavor, which is intricately intertwined with the distinctive geographical and climatic conditions of nomadic regions on the plateau as well as the local culinary customs. In essence, grassland milk tea amalgamates pure milk and tea into a harmonious blend, boasting abundant nutritional value and an unparalleled taste.
The tea-making techniques in southern and northern India are also different. The southerners like to use the "pull" tea-making method, that is, milk and strong tea are poured back and forth between two cups, and a brown arc is drawn in the air so that the tea and milk can blend; The north likes to use the "boil" tea method, pour milk into the pot, add black tea after boiling, boil for a few minutes on low heat, add sugar, filter and pour into a cup. India's famous Masala milk tea (Masala Chai) is from the south, with a strong and spicy taste.
The most prominent characteristic of Indian milk tea lies in its exquisite aroma and robust spiciness. As India is renowned for its rich assortment of spices, Indians take pleasure in infusing their milk tea with an abundance of flavorful ingredients, including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper, star anise, and more. In the eyes of Indians, the greater the infusion of spices, the more elevated it becomes.
Indian milk tea has a great influence on milk tea all over the world. For example, some countries around India, Karak tea in the Middle East, and flavored milk tea in Southeast Asia all have a strong shadow of Indian milk tea.
Continental Milk Tea
Continental milk tea actually mainly consists of Dutch milk tea and English milk tea. Europe doe s not produce tea, and Europeans themselves do not have the habit of drinking milk tea. Milk tea was introduced to Europe after the colonization of India in the seventeenth century. Due to differences in eating habits, Europeans are not used to drinking too strong and spicy Indian milk tea, so they improved on this basis, removed a lot of spices , and added their daily maple syrup to the milk tea for seasoning.
The Dutch love dairy products, so the Dutch milk tea has a strong milk flavor and a mellow taste; in contrast, the English milk tea has a lighter taste, and the English milk tea rose from the aristocrats, and it is the protagonist of the famous British afternoon tea.
Hong Kong Milk Tea
Due to colonial relations, Hong Kong-style milk tea is derived from the basis of English-style milk tea. During the British colonization of Hong Kong, British milk tea was introduced into Hong Kong, because the taste of British milk tea is relatively light, Hong Kong people have improved on this basis, using Ceylon black tea (also known as Sri Lankan black tea, Hong Kong called sirloin black tea) crushed tea, filtered through a filter (this is also the origin of the name stockings milk tea), and then with evaporated milk, the whole process needs to go through six processes of "fishing tea, brewing tea, baking tea, bumping tea, and then baked tea, bumping tea (milk)".
Hong Kong-style milk tea has a rich and silky taste, with a slight bitterness of black tea. In 2014, Hong Kong-style milk tea was inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Taiwan Milk Tea
Taiwanese milk tea was introduced by the Dutch in the seventeenth century. Taiwan-style milk tea is famous for its pearl milk tea, which is also called BOBA(bubble) milk tea. The "pearls" made by tapioca starch, and the “BOBA” are usually soaked in syrup before being added to the milk tea to ensure that pearls can still maintain their sweetness in the sweeter milk tea.
Today's Milk Tea
There has been a lot of debate about the birth of bubble tea. No matter which statement is correct, in short, bubble tea was quite popular once it was launched, and it still occupies a dominant position in the milk tea industry.
The evolution of milk tea up until today transcends the mere amalgamation of one type of milk and one variety of tea, but rather encompasses an intricate fusion of diverse elements. It incorporates a plethora of tea bases, fruits, yogurt, ice cream, sugar substitutes, as well as an assortment of additional ingredients. This amalgamation elevates milk tea to a harmonious blend of delectable flavors and contemporary fashion.
Devoted to the creation of a truly exceptional and groundbreaking tea beverage, Sweetland Tea draws inspiration from centuries of traditional Asian tea culture to deliver an unparalleled natural and invigorating taste. By prioritizing the use of premium, fresh ingredients, Sweetland Tea spearheads the revolution in New-Style Tea techniques.
Meticulously brewed from top-grade tea leaves and infused with a delightful medley of handpicked fruits and velvety cheese foam toppings, our innovative approach has taken the bubble tea market by storm, challenging conventional notions associated with beverages favored by previous generations.