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Okinawa Milk Tea Recipe (Authentic & Delicious)

two cups of milk tea with pearls

Okinawa Milk Tea can make the perfect addition to your afternoon lunch or you can pair it with an evening meal if you have a sweet tooth. The tea is easy to make and you can create your own blend in about 15 to 20 minutes right at home. If you’re looking for a tea that has a balanced flavor with a hint of sweetness, this recipe is a great one to try. Let’s take a look at the best way to prepare it!

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What You’ll Need

Ingredients
Equipments
  • Tea Kettle
  • Whisk
  • Bubble tea straws (optional)
  • Teacups (or coffee cups)
  • Sauce pant (or soup pot)
  • Spoon

1. Make the Syrup

Grab your soup pot or a saucepan and add 2 cups of water and the kokuto sugar. Place the pot on low-medium to medium heat. You can wait for the water to come to a boil before adding the sugar to prevent clumpiness. Use your spoon to stir it so that the sugar melts faster.

Once the pot starts simmering and the sugar has completely melted, reduce the heat to low–this usually takes around 4-5 minutes. Make sure that the sauce is thick and sticky (it shouldn’t be watery) before moving into an unheated stovetop.

2. Warm Up the Tapioca Pearls

Now it’s time to warm up your tapioca pearls. In a separate pot or saucepan, add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Next, pour in the tapioca pearls and bring them to a boil. The stovetop should be set to low or low-medium and cook for 4-6 minutes or until they’re slightly translucent.

When they’ve risen to the surface, they’re ready to be removed from the stove. The pearls will also be soft–you can do a quick test with your spoon. Next, drain the pearls in a strainer and then add them to your syrup mixture, which should still be warm.

3. Make Your Tea

During this time you’re going to make your tea. Start by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil. Then, place your tea leaves in the kettle, letting them brew for anywhere from 3-5 minutes. The heat should be set to medium or medium-high.

Keep a careful eye on the tea, as you don’t want to overheat it (which will make the tea taste terrible). In fact, it may be best to set your timer for 5 minutes. Next, strain the leaves and pour the tea into your cup.  Add the milk and stir it into the tea. Then, slowly add the syrup mixture with the pearls, about half an ounce at a time (note: about half a shot glass).

It may be best to add a small amount of time to avoid making the tea too sweet. Be sure to consume the tea immediately or within the next 10-15 minutes

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What Does Okinawa Milk Tea Taste Like?

Many Okinawa milk tea drinkers say that the tea has a strong “tang” that is common in most black tea varieties. But it’s also mild and smooth enough to balance the strong overtone. Assam tea itself is actually very strong and has a rather malty aftertaste. If you’re a fan of black tea, you will likely love this well-balanced mix of flavors.

The Okinawa brown sugar is the “must-have” ingredient that provides this milk tea with its well-known flavor. The sugar has a molasses-like sweetness that is hard to miss. It has an especially rich and deep flavor with a mild almost nutty undertone.

Black teas with full-bodied flavors are usually darker teas, unlike their light-flavored white and green tea counterparts. So, if you’re a fan of the deep and rich flavor of black tea, you’ll like Okinawa Milk tea. And the cool thing is that you can add milk to adjust the flavoring to your liking. Prefer stronger tea? Simply add less milk. Want it sweeter? Add more Okinawa brown sugar.

This tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on the season and your personal preference. You’ll find that it has a dark brown or caramel color, depending on how much sugar you add. In the event that kokuto sugar isn’t available to you, you can try adding coconut palm sugar instead. It’s similar in its taste profile and is super-rich in minerals and vitamins.

iced Okinawa milk tea
Image Credit: jyk20180915, Shutterstock

Top 4 Health Benefits of Okinawa Tea

In addition to enjoying its enticing fragrance and fulfilling flavor, you may gain health benefits from drinking Okinawa tea as well. Let’s take a look at what’s been documented so far.

1. Improved Heart Health

Okinawa tea has demonstrated the ability to improve heart health. Studies have shown that Okinawa tea has properties that can potentially increase heart pumping and reduce arterial blockages. They’ve also shown that the saponins (compounds found in legumes) found in this tea can increase strength and endurance.

2. May Lower Blood Cholesterol

There is also evidence that the tea may help improve high cholesterol levels.. Okinawa tea contains a group of antioxidants known as catechins. These antioxidants are important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Studies have demonstrated that Okinawa tea reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. Gypenosides, which are found in Okinawa Tea, have been shown to increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

3. Increase Fat Burning Rates

Researchers found that drinking Okinawa tea daily can increase fat burning by up to 40%. The study showed that participants who consistently drank Okinawa tea lost as much as 3 times as much weight than those who didn’t drink it regularly. The tea’s active polyphenols help increase energy and decrease the risk of storing body fat as glucose.

4. May Help Regulate Blood Sugar

People with type 2 diabetes may benefit from a healthy diet and Okinawa tea. In a sample study, Okinawa tea was found to be effective in reducing blood triglycerides concentrations (a type of fat found in our blood) by as much as 80%.

Osaka City University conducted a study that found Okinawa tea could increase plasma adiponectin levels. An improvement in these levels is associated with overall health improvements in people with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. The study also concluded that Okinawa tea could help improve clogged arteries in patients suffering from coronary artery disease (also known as CAD).


iced Okinawa milk tea

Simple Okinawa Milk Tea Recipe

Okinawa Milk Tea can be made in no time. And remember, if you don't have the kokuto sugar you can always try coconut palm sugar as well. However, it's important to know that you can order kokuto sugar online on sites like Amazon and eBay.
5 star average
Prep Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2
Calories 250 kcal

Equipment

  • Tea Kettle
  • Whisk
  • Tea cups (or coffee cups)
  • Soup Pot
  • Bubble tea straws optional
  • Spoon

Ingredients
 

  • 3 tbsp loose-leaf Assam tea
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 3 ounces Okinawa brown sugar (kokuto)
  • 4 tbsp tapioca pearls

Instructions
 

  • Add the two cups of water and kokuto sugar and place the stovetop on low to low-medium heat.
  • Once the pot starts simmering and the sugar has completely melted, reduce the heat to low.
  • Make sure that the sauce is thick and sticky before moving into an unheated stovetop.
  • In a separate pot or saucepan add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Next, pour in the tapioca pearls and bring them to a boil for about 4-6 minutes, or until they're soft.
  • Drain the pearls in a strainer and then add them to your syrup mixture-- which should still be warm.
  • Bring two cups of water to a boil. Then, place your tea leaves in the kettle, letting them brew for anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
  • Next, strain the leaves and pour the tea and your cup.Add the milk and stir it into the tea.
  •  Add the syrup mixture with the pearls, about half an ounce at a time to add sweetness.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal

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Conclusion

Okinawa tea is great for any occasion. If you’re making it for the first time the be sure to note how much sugar (kokuto) you’re adding to the tea, as kokuto is really sweet and can sneak up on you. Once you make this tea for the first time you will surely make it again as it has a very mild, balanced flavor–and the creaming provided by the milk is simply unmatched. Enjoy!

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Featured Image Credit: gowithstock, Shutterstock

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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