What is Cheese Tea?

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Cheese tea originated from Taiwan, and it’s taking over tea shops all over the world. In contrast to boba tea, cheese tea is made with a sweet choice of tea, like black or green, and a salty cream cheese foam. It gets its soft feeling and salty-sweet taste from the whipped cream cheese foam, a sprinkle of salt, and dollop of condensed milk.

Tea has always been a popular beverage in China, Japan, and even Britain but around 12 years ago cheese tea hit the markets, and was a take off hit ever since. There are some shops in Japan that have had customers wait in line for over two hours to get their delicious cheese tea made with green tea. Many sellers of the tea say they got their ideas from the British putting milk in tea, and others say the sweetness attracts people because it puts them in a good mood.

There are founders of tea shop chains that have made this easy-sip even more popular, and have become millionaires from the popularity. Small business tea shops and food chains have tried their own version of cheese tea, so it may be easy to find in almost every town now.

When I first tried cheese tea, I was confused because I felt a vast array of textures and was taken on a trip of flavors. It wasn’t a familiar texture either -it felt like a tasty icing was in the tea. With each sip I began to love that feeling and taste combined.

The sweetness and bitterness from the tea blends wonderfully with the richness of the cream cheese topping. The topping gets its thick, creamy texture by mixing together, whipped cream, cream cheese, condensed milk and a dash of salt. Adding condensed milk rather than regular milk easily adds the perfect amount of sugar and thickset.

The cream cheese is the “secret” in the infamous cheese tea, and is what gives it a salty, cheesy taste. There’s also a slight bitterness to cream cheese that cuts the sweetness of the tea and condensed milk.

Try Making This Tasty Cheese Tea

This tea is served iced, so it has to be brewed first and then chilled. Each tea has a different steep time in hot water, but this tea is best with a black tea or green tea. These teas take anywhere from three to five minutes to steep whether loose leaves or a packet are used. 

Fruity flavored teas could also be used to add another layer of deliciousness. Berry or lavender teas are other popular options to use too. A flavored cream cheese could be used instead of plain cream cheese, like peach, which could make a delectable iced summer drink.

The topping is made separately by whipping together condensed milk with about a tablespoon of cream cheese. Then gently add whipped cream, and mix together. The mixture will have an icing-like, foamy texture. Spoon the foam atop the iced tea, and enjoy! I usually start by sipping it, and occasionally mixing the foam and tea together with a spoon or straw.

I usually love my tea bitter and extremely sweet, but I recommend adding a little less sweetener to the tea, because the condensed milk will add a lot of sugar. To get a more bitter tea, the tea should be steeped the longest amount of time.

Leave the tea in the fridge until cold. When ready to assemble the beverage, add ice before topping with the cheese mixture.

Serve immediately, because it’s best when it’s fresh, but it can last in the fridge for up to five days. When I make a large batch for the week, I keep the iced tea separate from the cheese topping, and will top when I’m ready to drink my cheese tea. I found this to be much easier, tastier, and this had a better longevity. Here’s an easy-to-follow video on making the mixture.

Cheese teas could be enjoyed on their own or with any meal. It’s amazing with pastries, morning breakfasts, a quick lunch and even a light dessert. The drink itself is extremely similar to a dessert, which is why it stands so well on its own. Due to the chill and tastiness, the tea makes an outstanding meal pairing.

The cream cheese topping doesn’t have any caffeine in it, but depending which tea is used it could have about 50 mg of caffeine. With the topping and tea combined, this beverage may have about 400 to 450 calories. This delicious beverage may have about 47 g of carbs.

Love It or Hate It?

It’s known that people are attracted to caffeine because of the burst of energy it may give them, and since cheese tea has sugar and caffeine in it, it’s double appealing. The two words “cheese” and “tea” don’t sound like they belong together, and I think that’s why I was so confused when I first tried it. The oxymoron name perfectly matches the contrast yet perfect blend of flavors -just hearing “cheese tea” I was hypnotized to try it.

Cheese goes with anything mostly savory, but when paired with fruit, honey, or anything sweet, the cheese acts as a bed for the sweeteners to lay upon. It has this same outcome when paired with the sweet condensed milk, because it’s not the main flavor of the beverage –it’s a gentle marriage of tea, cheese, salty, and sweet. 

For a while now, cheese tea has been my preference over boba tea, because I can’t get over the umami, salty-sweet richness. Growing up my favorite cup of tea was a bold orange pekoe or earl gray loaded with sugar and topped with milk, so I’m not surprised this flavor and texture grew on me.

I usually pair my cheese tea with my favorite pastry like a croissant, and even for lunch with a simple sandwich. When I’m craving a cheese tea, I also want that burst of energy from the caffeine and sweetness without having to run to coffee.