Assam milk tea is a popular drink brewed using leaves from the Assam region in India. It has a classic taste loved by many that has stood the test of time. In addition, you can also make this versatile beverage recipe using a blend of spices for an extra kick.
This beverage is perfect for that morning or mid-day slump due to its caffeine content. Yet, it is also an ideal soothing drink which can promote relaxation and reduce stress.
We have taste tested and experimented with different ingredient ratios to develop our fool-proof recipe. The many benefits of this beverage and our versatile recipe are simple for a quick fix and perfectly customisable to your liking.
What is it made of?
Assam milk tea is made of loose Assam black tea leaves, water, sweetened dairy and spices. You can customise our recipe to suit your preference for sweetness and cream levels. Besides you can also add tapioca pearls to turn into a bubble tea drink. While it is optional for our recipe, it is a great way to jazz up your refreshing drink.
However, it is different from Oolong milk tea. While both are delicious, they’re also vastly different in flavour. Oolong is a type of semi-oxidised leaf from China and Taiwan. It has a complex and fruity flavour profile. Moreover, it can be brewed in many different ways, depending on the specific type of Oolong used.
While using Oolong for this recipe might be tempting, we wouldn't recommend it. Oolong leaves have a different aroma and taste. Its flavour profile is also unsuitable for this recipe.
What does Assam milk tea taste like?
Assam black milk tea's strong, malty flavour profile is the perfect canvas for other recipes such as taro milk tea. You can also use fresh fruits like strawberries, and you are one step closer to making strawberry milk tea.
Assam milk tea ingredients
To make this classic drink, Assam milk tea ingredients include:
Assam black leaves have a bold and malty taste. For substitutes, we recommend Ceylon, Keemun, Kenyan, or Yunnan leaves. They have full-bodied flavour with rich robust taste similar to the Assam kin. However, each has its distinct aroma that slightly differs from Assam leaves.
Earl Grey would also be an excellent substitute. The bergamot oil in its leaves gives it a citrusy taste note to its bold aroma. The leaves also have similar caffeine content.
We recommend using loose leaves rather than tea bags. Loose leaves generally have a more complex and nuanced flavour. They are typically higher quality, with fewer broken or crushed leaves that can release bitterness and astringency.
Loose leaves also have more room to expand and infuse in water, allowing for a fuller and richer flavour. Additionally, it is often more environmentally friendly as it can be purchased in bulk.
Substitutes to avoid
While there are many types available, not all of them may be suitable substitutes for Assam tea. This is due to differences in flavour, aroma, and body. Aside from Oolong, here are some of the teas that may not be ideal substitutes for this recipe.
- Green tea: It has a lighter and more delicate flavour compared to the bold and malty flavour of Assam. So, it may not provide the same richness and robustness that Assam tea offers.
- White tea: White tea is known for its subtle and delicate flavour. It lacks the strong, full-bodied profile that Assam tea possesses, so it may not be a suitable substitute in terms of taste.
- Herbal teas: Herbal variants, such as chamomile, peppermint, or rooibos, are not technically teas as they don't come from the Camellia sinensis plant. They have distinct flavours and characteristics that differ from Assam, so they wouldn't provide a similar taste experience.
- Darjeeling: While Darjeeling is another black tea like Assam tea, it has a much lighter and more floral flavour profile. It may not offer the same robustness and maltiness as Assam, making it less suitable as a substitute.
Taste preferences vary from person to person, so we recommend experimenting with different leaf types. More experiments will lead you to find your perfect cup.
Sweetened condensed milk
We use sweetened condensed milk in our recipe because this makes adjusting the drink's colour more manageable. A crucial part of the recipe is getting the rich brown, reddish colour.
If you prefer whole dairy, we recommend a recipe ratio of ¼ cup of whole milk and one tablespoon of sugar with 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of loose leaves for a perfect cup. A similar ratio is recommended if you’re using plant milk as well.
You can reduce or increase the amount of sugar based on your preferences. You can also use brown sugar as a sweetener with the ratio mentioned.
If your drink is too thin, it might be tempting to add more leaves, but we do not recommend it. The taste would be too strong and bitter, and the caffeine content would be too overpowering.
If you want to reduce the calorie count, use a low-fat or non-dairy alternative using the prior ratio.
Using a natural sweetener like honey or stevia could be a healthier option. Two to three teaspoon of honey should suffice per serving. Do refer to the conversion chart on the package for stevia, as the amount depends on the brand and type of stevia.
We recommend adding spices to pay homage to the recipe's country of origin. Plus, adding other layers of flavours would make it a perfect wake-me-up drink.
While it would suffice to brew the leaves simply with sweetener and creamer, that would be too basic. Spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and nutmeg would be a perfect kick for the drink. We would suggest adding ¼ teaspoon of each spice for one serving.
Adding spices to milk tea to turn it into masala chai is popular in India as well as the Middle East. Chai spices are known to possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. You may customise your own blend, creating your personalised recipe for this drink. The spices will surely refresh and rejuvenate your mind and body after a long stressful day.
You may skip the spices if the flavour might be too overwhelming. However, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla is just the perfect sweet spice to add a new flavour dimension to the soothing beverage.
How to make Assam milk tea boba
To make Assam milk tea boba simply add boba pearls and ice. We recommend buying store-bought tapioca pearls. This is because making tapioca pearls by hand can be such a hassle, especially when you want a quick fix to your drink.
We recommend using tapioca pearls rather than popping boba or any other flavoured boba topping. The chewy texture and subtle flavour perfectly complement the drink.
While popping boba adds a fun texture, it is more suitable for fruity beverages like juice and yoghurt. Other flavoured boba toppings have the same tapioca pearl texture. While it might seem okay, they have their own boba flavours that might clash with the bold flavour of the Assam leaves.
Aloe vera topping is also an unsuitable combination with this beverage. The flavours and texture will blend poorly. Aloe vera, with its mild and refreshing taste, may not complement the boldness of the drink. The gel-like texture will also clash with the creamy texture of the drink. However, much like popping boba, aloe vera would make an excellent topping for fruity drinks and yoghurt.
Assam Milk Tea Recipe
- Bring water to a boil with the spices. Add the loose leaves.
- Cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour the brew through a strainer into a cup. Enjoy with sweetened condensed milk.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
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