Royal Milk Tea ロイヤルミルクティー

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Royal Milk Tea | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Have you ever heard of Royal Milk Tea (ロイヤルミルクティー) before?  It sounds fancy, doesn’t it?  It is really popular in Japan and typically available on the cafe menus, and you can also find bottles of royal milk tea in vending machines and convenience stores.

In Japan, there are vending machines (like picture below) that sell different kinds of drinks all over the place.  My husband and children love them as they can try out many different flavors and they get thirsty often since we walk almost everywhere.  For me, the only drink I love and always get is royal milk tea (my favorite brand is Kocha Kaden 紅茶花伝 and Gogo no Kocha 午後の紅茶) .

So what’s royal milk tea?  Actually, royal milk tea is a Japanese-English word and (of course) this name does not exist in the UK.  The tea company Lipton in Japan invented this product in 1965 as part of their “royal” recipe series (source).  Compared to a typical milk tea, the ratio for milk is much higher so it balances semi-bitter taste of strong tea with the creamy richness of milk.

The cooking method is similar to Indian Chai.  Instead of using a teapot, we use a milk pan or saucepan to make tea.  The only difference is that royal milk tea does not include any spices such as cardamoms, ginger and cinnamon like Chai.

Royal Milk Tea | Easy Japanese Recipes at

There are a number of ways you can prepare the tea to add even more flavor and dimension but the following recipe is how I make royal milk tea.  I do not normally use a measuring cup, and use a teacup to make.  However, not everyone has the same size teacup, so I measured it precisely.  I also included my teacup measuring in parenthesis as well.  

Even though it’s not required, I recommend using a pre-warmed cup to maintain the temperature of the tea.  To make dark colored tea, use Assam tea and to make light colored tea, use Darjeeling tea.

Here’s a quick video to show  you how to make royal milk tea.

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Royal Milk Tea
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1-2 teacups
To make 1 cup
  • ¾ cup water (Regular tea cup 80% full)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons (about 8 g) tea leaves*
  • ½ cup milk (Regular tea cup 50% full)
  • Sugar or honey (optional)
To make 2 cups
  • 1 cup warm water (Regular tea cup 100% full)
  • 3 heaping teaspoons (about 12 g) tea leaves*
  • 1 cup milk (Regular tea cup 100% full)
  • Sugar or honey (optional)
    Royal Milk Tea Ingredients
  1. In a milk pan or small saucepan, add warm water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    Royal Milk Tea 1
  2. When the water is boiling, add tea leaves and reduce the heat and simmer for 1 and half minute to 2 minutes.
    Royal Milk Tea 2
  3. Add milk and slowly bring just to simmer. Meanwhile keep your serving cup nice and hot with hot water (drain the water before you serve tea).
    Royal Milk Tea 3
  4. When the tea is about to boil, remove from the heat and pour the tea through a tea strainer or fine mesh strainer and into your serving cup.
    Royal Milk Tea 4
  5. Serve with sugar or honey and sweeten it to your liking.
To make dark colored tea, use Assam tea and to make light colored tea, use Darjeeling tea.

Please note that the ratio for water is NOT double when you make 2 cups of royal milk tea. Water won't be evaporated as much so ¾ cup is right amount.

If you know how much sugar you like to add already, add sugar at the end before pouring into cup so sugar will be dissolved completely.

To make iced royal milk tea, you can cook the tea leaves a slightly little longer so ice will not dilute the flavor as much.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.



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  1. Not being a tea fan, anything you can do to make the taste stronger is a bonus. You’re tempting me to make a cup of chai tea and add a lot more milk to it. :)

  2. I love royal milk tea, even the powdered versions and canned or bottled ones. It’s very drinkable hot or cold, even for people who don’t care for the bitterness of regular tea. Mr. Mochi dislikes tea and coffee, but loves milk tea!

  3. This royal milk tea sounds like what we call in Bangladesh malai cha(Tea with extra shot of milk). I am not a tea addict like 90% of other Bangladeshis but this does tempt me to make me a cup on this cold, rainy Spring day.

  4. Let me be honest, I think it’s something cultural or have to grow-up with the taste in your mouth. I think it’s really royal enjoy a cup of tea with milk, I saw it several times in the movies and I wanted to be one of them. I think my Spanish blood makes me not enjoy it as I want.

  5. Ayako L.

    Oh, how I love a cup of royal milk tea… :) I am drinking a cup of tea with milk right now. Well, this is made with a bag of English tea and whole milk. Lazy tea, I guess.
    When I made royal milk tea, I was making it only with milk. However, I sometime had hard time making a good cup. Adding a cup of hot water make sense…duh!
    To me, this is a kind of special drink. It’s not a simple tea & milk, but more like Cafe Ole of the tea kind.
    You can buy a cup of Cafe Latte anywhere here, but some people don’t know what Cafe Ole is.
    Anyways, I love it!
    By the way, I prefer Darjeeling for iced one.

    Also, I do have the same set of china in your photo!
    How interesting :)

    • Hi Ayako! Actually, “traditionally” or the very original recipe for Royal Milk Tea was made with simple steamed milk and tea leaves. :) But throughout the time, people start using strong tea and add milk to it (still milk % is more than typical milk tea). Yay, we have same set of teacup! :) I love the blue color dishes!

  6. Hi Nami, I’ve been enjoying all your posts recently, but this one really brought me back to my childhood when my grandmother used to make me milky tea with honey while she was drinking coffee (this was not my Japanese grandmother, who I have never seen drink anything except sencha!). I rarely ever drink milk in my tea as a grown-up, but this sounds very comforting, and I imagine would be great over ice, too.

  7. That’s what we called “cambric tea” when I was a child! Well – Mom made the strong black tea normally, in a teapot, but would just give us a dash of it in a cup of hot sweet milk, especially if we were sick. (Regular tea was considered too strong for a small child – well, the way she drank it, it was!)

  8. Thank you for sharing this! When I lived in Japan, Kocha Kaden was my favorite brand of tea too. They also made limited edition flavors which I was always buying from the vending machine near the school I worked at, or at my nearby conbini. I’ll have to try your recipe!!

  9. donna mikasa

    Oh, my daughter LOVES milk tea and we buy the powdered version from the Asian food section of our grocery store.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe which must taste 100% better than the powdered one! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Hi Donna! I sometimes buy those prepacked ones too, because it tastes good (with all the sugar inside already) and convenient on weekday morning… but it’s quite expensive ($6 for a pack of several milk tea, I think) considering I can get a can of very good tea leaves for $10. 😀 But I have to say I don’t have time to make royal milk tea in the morning. =P

  10. I did raise an eyebrow at the vending machines on my first visit to Japan years ago. Pocari Sweat – I’m sure it’s good but I couldn’t get past the name. :)

    I think I’d really like Royal Milk Tea. I drink my tea with milk, just not that much of it. :)

    • Hi Muareen! I think a lot of people in Japan have no idea what “pocari sweat” stands for, especially when it’s written in Japanese “ポカリスエット” (which is one word)… a lot of them don’t know what “sweat” means in English too. The manufacture did a terrible job! :( My favorite drink Calpis (カルピス) in Japan is sold in the US, but re-named to Calpico. Again, most Japanese have no idea what the second part of Calpis means in English! 😉

  11. hi Nami, what an interesting way to make tea.. My son made me a traditional chai while I was in Japan, and I loved it. I’m going to try this out, too.

  12. We remember all those vending machines everywhere in Japan the one (and only) time we went there years ago! If I remember correctly, you’re supposed to drink it on the spot and it’s rude to walk around with it? I love that you shared a homemade recipe. Every time I try to make a milk tea at home, it is too weak, light and thin. Now I have a good ratio to work with. My husband loves these kinds of canned drinks and the sweetness of extra milk; he’d love this.

  13. I just love to put milk and honey in my tea. I would take a cup of this Royal Milk Tea you made any day, rain or shine. I love your tea cup set – it reminds me of what my mom used for her tea. Thanks for sharing. Pour yourself a cup and relax, Nami!

  14. This brings backs lots of memories of Japan! My first job was in an Italian restaurant (btw, I was the only Italian there) and they had an Italian coffee machine. To make royal milk tea they just heated up the milk with steam and put a teabag into it, so this is what I though was royal milk tea…. but now I know the real recipe! :-)


  15. This IS chai…and this is the way my husband will have it, as will my Ma. They both love this milk tea, while me….I can’t be seen anywhere near it, hahaha! As a result, we have tea making fights at home, with hubs accusing me of not making good tea on purpose 😀 The only difference is we often add cardamom or ginger, or both most of the time to the mix.

    But to be honest, it looks awesome here and you inspire me. So I am going to make him some royal tea today evening, complete with loads of milk.

  16. Nami-san, I am totally loving your tea pot and spoon. So adorable!I remember getting this out of the vending machines in Japan whilst waiting for the train in the eki. I love they heat the drinks in the winter and cool the drinks in the summer in the vending machines. I am sure your delightful homemade version is so much better.

  17. That’s a very lovely cup and saucer. What did you serve on the side of the cup? I have never heard of this kind of tea before but it sure does have a lot of milk – a bit like a hot chocolate except made with tea leaves! xx

  18. I have to say, being Persian, the thought of adding milk to tea has always baffled me. Maybe one day I will try it, as your royal milk tea looks so inviting – especially as I sit in my cold house!!!

  19. This sounds wonderful Nami! I love milk tea and this homemade version is perfect – love your tea cups too – they look so elegant and pretty :)

  20. Bryan and I love royal milk tea. We usually get the 午後の紅茶 from Japanese supermarket. When we were in Tokyo, the first thing we did at the airport was to get a bottle of royal milk tea from a vending machine. Surprisingly, the milk tea came out hot! I didn’t know vending machine sells hot drinks too. It was very nice, especially it was during winter time. Thanks for sharing the recipe. It would be nice to have some royal milk tea any time we want.

  21. Oh, I absolutely LOVE royal milk tea! Or, all milk teas in general!! ♥ I always buy them when I got to Japanese supermarkets! I just never realized how simple it was to make at home. :)

  22. I’m a huge tea fan, of all kinds! I love freshly loose tea. I’ve had royal milk tea way back then – it was also a popular drink in Taiwan esp in “milk bubble teas.” I would love to try a vegan version of this, that’s awesome we can make our own royal teas! I’m bookmarking this, Namiko!

  23. I haven’t ever had royal milk tea. We have tons of milk tea places popping up all over the place here in the Cupertino/San Jose area. A place called Bambu just opened about a week ago and it specializes in all kinds of different milk teas. Do you think they’d be similar to yours?

    I told you this already but I’m so in love with the cups. I have the larger coffee mugs but not the tea cups. So pretty!

    • Hi Valerie! Yeah South Bay has lots of Asian tea cafes there where they sell Boba (bubble milk tea – those black tapioca pearl tea). “Royal Milk Tea” is a Japanese thing, and they don’t have it. I think they use Chinese black tea to make milk tea. :)

  24. There are so many drinks in Japanese distributors I have never noticed milk tea! I must say I’m not a fan of milk in any drink, apart from a tiny splash in coffee… but your cup looks so lovely, I want to drink its contents straight away!

  25. Being a huge tea lover, I’m going to join you in becoming a lover of this tea!! In the morning I drink my teas with a little bit of honey and no milk, but in the afternoon, I like at least a 1:1 milk to water ratio. This looks like the perfect afternoon tea. A sweet steam cake would be a nice little complement don’t you think. :)

  26. I would love to be in front of that vending machine. And I have never heard of royal milk tea. That is a lot of tea leaf per portion but as you said the milk balances out the stronger flavor. Gotta try it. Does it come hot in the vending machine?

    • Hi Evelyne! Usually Japanese vending machines have cold and hot drinks in one machine. In the 2nd picture (vending machine photo), middle left and bottom row are all hot drinks (indicated in red). :)

  27. Cristina

    I need to try this, it may be my next favorite thing! I love (I mean love) chai – it’s comfort in a cup when I can enjoy a hot cup of chai. Gonna try this royal milk tea… thanks, Nami!

  28. it looks so comforting especially after a long day or before a long day! I love the way you create your recipes and posts. Your blog is so incredible. keep it up my friend. I know its time consuming but you are doing an amazing job

  29. I’ve made some really strong accidentally…and now I’ll have this royal milk tea recipe to make future mistakes into a tasty drink! Thanks, Nami!

  30. Ah, I used to love the vending machines when I was in Japan. Every night I’d go downstairs and get a potato salad sandwich (and a strawberries and cream sandwich for my ex-girlfriend) from 7-Eleven, and then go and buy a can of “BOSS” coffee! So nice. I remember watching a soap on TV and someone bought two cans from the machine and was rubbing them against their face … in the snow. I didn’t realise then that you could get hot cans from the machine!

    I never had this tea before, though I had indeed heard of it. Always wondered what it was exactly! Thanks for sharing Nami!

  31. So that’s what Royal Milk Tea is! I love the different variety of drinks Asians have as well and always stock up when I go to the Asian supermarket. hehehe I will have to try this recipe out soon!

  32. Joe Brown

    You’re a lifesaver! My girlfriend is moving to the states and this is her favorite drink. And I cannot find it anywhere!

  33. Tsubasa

    This is how we make chai here in Pakistan as well; no spices, just strong sweet tea :) It’s so nice to know people across the globe enjoy their tea the same way 😀

  34. Shaine Edwards

    I love Royal Milk Tea and drank it often in Japan. I’ve been making it for my friends here in Canada for years now and I love this very clear recipe.
    I have a question though. Many of my friends enjoy it cold, like how you’d buy Kochakaden or Lipton from convenience stores in Japan. How do you recommend I get it cold? Specifically – what type of bottle should I keep it in? How long can it stay in the pot, while very hot, on the stovetop while I let it cool down? Should I change the recipe any if I’m going to be making it to serve cold?
    Also, I’ve been working on making Royal Milk Tea ice cubes…. super concentrated Assam tea with sugar that can be frozen into cubes, then later put in a cup with warm water poured on and stirred. The main advantage of this is it’s easier to transport cubes to my friends’ place than a bottle of liquid.
    What do you think?

    • Hi Shaine! I’m happy to hear you love Royal Milk Tea too, and glad to hear you like my recipe. :) I answered to your questions below:

      Q: How do you recommend I get it cold?

      A: For iced tea, the “base” tea should be double (you need x2 tea leaves). For iced tea, you make the base tea only without adding milk to the pot. So you follow until Step 2.

      Then strain the tea into a glass (or heat resistance pitcher) where lots of ice cubes (and milk) are in it already.

      For sweetening, if you use sugar, I’d add while the tea is hot (in Step 2) so it is dissolved completely. Otherwise, you have to use simple syrup to sweeten iced tea.

      Q: Specifically – what type of bottle should I keep it in?

      A: Do you have a pitcher? If you make a lot, I’d recommend to use a pitcher instead of bottle. Easy to pour in and out.

      Q: How long can it stay in the pot, while very hot, on the stovetop while I let it cool down?

      A: As I mentioned earlier, you would pour the tea into ice cubes so the tea will be cold instantly. The tea should be enjoyed within a day – it won’t taste good the following day.

      Q: Should I change the recipe any if I’m going to be making it to serve cold?

      A: Yes, the tea leaves should be double for iced tea.

      Q: Royal Milk Tea Ice Cubes.

      A: A lot of people make the coffee version and it’s brilliant idea!

      Hope I answered to your questions. :)

  35. Tina

    Thank you so much for these instructions! My son visited Japan in June and his host family’s Mom made him this tea. He loved it! Now I will make it for him!!

    • Hi Tina! I hope your son enjoyed this tea! I hope he had a wonderful home stay in Japan! I still keep in touch with my American home stay family. :) Thank you very much for your comment.

  36. Faith

    My favorite Japanese milk tea brand is also Kocha Kaden! Every time I fly through Tokyo or actually get to go there, I grab a bag full of Kocha Kaden royal milk tea with me back home cause here in Canada it costs over $3. I can’t wait to try your recipe and bring back the nostalgic moments with royal milk tea. Thanks!

    • Hi Faith! I’m happy to hear you are a fan of Royal Milk Tea! Those bottled ones are pretty sweet, so you might be surprised to see how much sugar goes in to have the similar taste. 😉 Hope you enjoy!