Cheese milk cap tea is the latest food trend taking Hong Kong by storm. Yep, that’s right. cheese and tea are a thing now. It may sound gross, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The combination of milk, cream cheese and salt beaten into a frothy form then paired with an iced tea of your choice is (surprisingly) delicious with a taste that lingers in the memory long after your drink is finished.
In recent months, Taiwanese tea chains have opened up one after another in Hong Kong, each one more popular than the last. As more outlets join the scrum, we pit four of the most popular brands against one another to decide the one ultimate cheese tea champion. By Ann Chiu and Sarah Moran
RECOMMENDED: Looking for more food face-offs? Check out our egg sandwich and French toast showdowns.
Hong Kong’s best cheese teas
Milksha uses fresh milk from its own pastures in Taiwan. If you enjoy the taste of creamy milk, you’ll love the tea here. The Cheese Green Tea we plump for ($36, half sugar) isn’t a large cup – it's only about the size of our palm – but the cheese milk cap is 3cm thick, with a dense texture and sweet and salty flavour. The green tea is smooth and sweet without being cloying – a perfect combination together with the sweetness and saltiness of the cheese. It’s a pity the topping is so dense, meaning we only taste a little of the cream each sip. We recommend drinking your cheese tea with a straw.
Cream thickness: 3cm
Time Out rating: 3.5/5
Heeretea is a popular brand that’s currently a booming success on the Mainland. Its Cheese Pitaya (dragon fruit) offering ($42) is particularly popular, the vibrant purple juice bringing a sunny, tropical feel to your day. Here, the main focus of our showdown, the cheese milk cap, is the second thickest out of the four we try. The milky taste is heavy, and leaning towards salty. The dragon fruit juice is light and slightly overwhelmed by the taste of tea – nor does it combine particularly well with the salty cream cheese. Moreover, the topping is gone by the time we drink just a third of the tea.
Cream thickness: 2.5cm
Time Out rating: 3/5
The elegant wooden decor of Tea Library provides a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere, pulling you in to sit down and savour a lazy afternoon. The cheese milk cap of the Cheese Mango Highland Oolong ($48) is rich and creamy with a moderate saltiness. The oolong tea base is wonderfully fragrant and sweet. The mango taste isn’t really strong enough, but it makes for a great pair with the oolong while the cream cheese topping makes the drink refreshing overall.
Cream thickness: 2cm
Time Out rating: 4/5
Cha Long is a brand that’s particularly stylish and savvy when it comes to its packaging and decor. There are constant queues outside its store near the Central-Mid-Levels escalator. So how does its cheese milk cap perform? The – deep breath – Mango Jasmine Green Sea-Salted Cream Cheese Milk Cap Cha ($42) tastes exactly like a cheese sandwich, while the salty cheese milk cap itself is full of milk. The first taste on your tongue is the saltiness of the milk cap together with the sourness of the mango, which tastes a little artificial. The tea that comes after is nice, but there are no hints of jasmine.
Cream thickness: 1.5 cm
Time Out rating: 3/5
The new cheese tea champion is... Tea Library! The cheese milk cap is rich and fragrant, and the mango and oolong tea is perfection. Yes, the price is slightly expensive but it’s still definitely worth a try!