Milk being added to black Assam tea
Milk being added to black Assam tea
A glass of milk tea in Nepal
A glass of milk tea in Nepal
A cup of milk tea on a ceramic plate in India
A cup of milk tea on a ceramic plate in India

Milk tea refers to several forms of beverage found in many cultures, containing some combination of tea and milk. Beverages vary based on the amount of each of these key ingredients, the method of preparation, and the inclusion of other ingredients (varying from sugar or honey to salt or cardamom).[1] Instant milk tea powder is a mass-produced product.[2]


Local variations include:

It is believed that Thailand consumes up to six cups of bubble tea per person per month. Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia consume three cups per person per month.[10]

In Britain, when hot tea and cold milk are drunk together, the drink is simply known as tea due to the vast majority of tea being consumed in such a way. The term milk tea is unused, although one may specify tea with milk if context requires it. This may cause confusion for people from cultures that traditionally drink tea without milk.

Popular culture

Milk Tea Alliance

Main article: Milk Tea Alliance

The Milk Tea Alliance is a term used to describe an online democratic solidarity movement made up of netizens from Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Myanmar.[11][12] The concept originally arose in response to the increased presence of Chinese trolls and nationalist commentators on social media, but has now been described to advocate for improved democracy in their own respective countries.[13][14] Milk tea was seen as a symbol of anti-Chinese solidarity as it is believed that tea is historically consumed with milk in these countries while in China it is not (although this is factually untrue, as China has a long history of milk tea consumption).[15][better source needed] Australia has also been suggested to be a member of the Milk Tea Alliance, however the relation to milk tea is tenuous with the milk product Aptamil standing in for an actual variety of milk tea in imagery.[16]

The "Milk Tea Alliance" moniker emerged in 2020 after Chinese nationalist Internet commentators criticised the Thai actor Bright for "liking" an image on Twitter which referred to Hong Kong as a "country", and called for a boycott of his TV programme. Some Twitter users in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines joined Thai users in what The Telegraph called "a rare moment of regional solidarity".[17] Following the 2020 China–India skirmishes India has also been included in some formulations of the Alliance with masala chai being their representative variety of milk tea.[15]

Pallabi Munsi, writing in OZY, described the Milk Tea Alliance taking on 50 Cent Party and Little Pink as "Asia's volunteer army rising against China's internet trolls."[18]


  1. ^ "Franchise battle stirring up Vietnamese milk tea market". VietNamNet. September 15, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  2. ^ Zeng, Z.; Wang, J. (2010). Advances in Neural Network Research and Applications. Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 894. ISBN 978-3-642-12990-2. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "Coffee and tea connect daily life of the locals". The Myanmar Times. 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  4. ^ Driem, George L. van (2019-01-14). The Tale of Tea: A Comprehensive History of Tea from Prehistoric Times to the Present Day. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-39360-8.
  5. ^ "The Travelling Gourmet". Myanmar Times no.37. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
  6. ^ "The Rich Culture and Tradition of Tea in Myanmar". MVA. 2015-10-05. Retrieved 2021-01-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Definition of CAMBRIC TEA".
  8. ^ "royal milk tea" [Milk]. royal milk tea. 26 March 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "The real Dalgona coffee, in Korea | Eat Your World". Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  10. ^ Southeast Asia's bubble tea craze - The ASEAN Post, December 2019
  11. ^ Tanakasempipat, Patpicha (15 April 2020). "Young Thais join 'Milk Tea Alliance' in online backlash that angers Beijing". Reuters. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  12. ^ Bunyavejchewin, Poowin. "Will the 'Milk Tea War' Have a Lasting Impact on China-Thailand Relations?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  13. ^ McDevitt, Dan. "'In Milk Tea We Trust': How a Thai-Chinese Meme War Led to a New (Online) Pan-Asia Alliance". The Diplomat. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  14. ^ Lau, Jessie (15 May 2020). "Why the Taiwanese are thinking more about their identity". New Statesman. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  15. ^ a b Deol, Taran (18 June 2020). "'We conquer, we kill': Taiwan cartoon showing Lord Rama slay Chinese dragon goes viral". The Print. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  16. ^ Everington, Keoni (29 April 2020). "Photo of the Day: Australia joins Milk Tea Alliance with Taiwan". Taiwan News. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  17. ^ Smith, Nicola (3 May 2020). "#MilkTeaAlliance: New Asian youth movement battles Chinese trolls". The Telegraph.
  18. ^ Munsi, Pallabi (2020-07-15). "The Asian Volunteer Army Rising Against China's Internet Trolls". OZY. Retrieved 2020-07-30.

Further reading