Can you drink green tea with milk? Guide to Perfectly Pairing Green Tea with Milk

green tea with milk

is rarely used for making milky teas. But did you know that adding to green tea can open up a whole new world of delicious flavours and creamy textures?

This guide will show you:

  • how to pair green tea with milk,
  • which types to choose,
  • and give you some ideas on unique drinks to try.

Can you put milk in green tea?

The simple answer is yes, absolutely! The longer answer is that you can, but it's often not as straightforward as adding milk to .

There are a few good reasons for that.

First, it's the flavour. Green tea is usually not served with milk, mostly because it often has a vegetal green flavour. The flavour profile of milk simply does not go very well with the grassy notes of most green teas, especially steamed types. That's why you'll never see deep and grassy sencha served with milk.

Next, it has a much lighter texture and body than any black tea. Adding even as little as a splash will often mask the flavour of green tea and leave you with a glass of hot water with some milk.

And the third reason is potential health benefits.

gunpowder with milk

Is green tea healthy with milk?

Many tea drinkers avoid adding milk to green tea fearing it could decrease the benefits of EGCG. EGCG is the most important catechin in green tea, and the reason green tea is considered super healthy. It's responsible for a myriad of potential health benefits.

While many sources claim that adding milk to green tea is not a good idea, studies are still inconclusive. Some suggest that the bioavailability of catechins is reduced (1) with milk, while other suggest that milk may actually help preserve antioxidant activity (2). This basically means that we are still not 100% sure and the best way to enjoy your green tea is perhaps the one you enjoy the most.

If you want to explore drinking green tea with milk, there are many tea types you can try.

Choosing the best green tea for adding milk

It's crucial to choose the right tea type for making green milk teas. Most green teas are too light to be mixed with milk, but that doesn't mean you can't use them. One of the easiest solutions is to add more tea leaves and make a stronger infusion.

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But first, let's see how to choose the right type of tea.

In general, green tea can be divided into two main categories – steamed and pan-fired. Most steamed teas will have a fresher and more vegetal flavour, while pan-fired teas will probably have a nuttier note. There are roasted green teas, too, which are typically a subcategory of steamed teas. Because of their unique roasted flavour and dark colour, they will almost always go well with milk.

Find everything you need to know about green tea in the Ultimate Green Tea Guide.

green tea guide

So, how to choose the best tea?

Tips for choosing the best tea

  1. Consider the flavour notes: Look for green teas that have a natural sweetness or nuttiness, as these flavours pair well with milk and avoid teas with grassy, vegetal flavours. Roasted has an intense roasted note that goes well with milk and so does genmaicha, a popular Japanese green tea with toasted rice.
  2. Check the colour: Some green teas will always be very light, such as Dragon Well or even lightly steamed sencha. While Dragon Well may actually go well with milk, it's quite light, so the flavour may easily get lost. On the other hand, gunpowder and many Indian green teas have a darker yellow green colour and usually go really well with milk.
  3. Experiment with blends: Green tea blends that contain other ingredients, such as spices, chocolate, vanilla or coconut, may go really well with milk. They are usually blended with gunpowder, chun mei of hyson green teas that are strong enough to pair them with milk.
  4. Choose powdered teas: is perhaps the most popular type of tea for making milk teas, and it's a type of green tea. But other tea powders are available too, such as hojicha and genmaicha.
genmaicha green tea
Genmaicha green tea

Top 7 green teas to try with milk

  1. Hojicha: Hojicha is a type of roasted Japanese green tea that is unlike any other green tea. It has a flavour profile that's similar to some roasted oolong teas and goes really well with milk. Hojicha has a light or dark brown colour, depending on the roasting type and taste great with both dairy milk and plant-based milk alternatives.
  2. Kyobancha: Kyobancha is a special type of roasted Japanese bancha tea originating in Kyoto, with a mellow flavour with sweet and smoky notes. It's great for making milk teas as well.
  3. Genmaicha: Genmaicha is a type of Japanese tea blended with toasted rice. It can contain different green teas, from sencha to bancha or gyokuro, and it can be blended with matcha too. For making milk teas, bancha genmaicha may be the best option.
  4. Matcha: matcha is one of the most popular types of green teas that's super versatile and you can use it to make different milk teas. You can make it with only a splash of milk or use milk only.
  5. Gunpowder: Gunpowder is a type of Chinese green tea that has a strong and mellow flavour which may go surprisingly well with milk. You can use it for making a proper pink tea too.
  6. Chun Mei: Chun Mei is another strong Chinese green tea that can go really well with milk. It has a light smokiness and some astringency.
  7. Jasmine green tea: Jasmine green tea is another delicious type of tea to try with milk. This tea has a stronger smoky green tea base with fragrant floral jasmine notes. It's an amazing choice for making boba milk teas or lattes.
Iced pink tea
pink tea with green tea

How to make a perfect cup of green tea with milk

No matter which type of green tea you choose, it's unlikely to go well with milk if you prepare it using a standard western brewing technique. What does that mean? It means that one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of water steeped for 1-3 minutes will not give a strong enough tea to pair well with milk. It simply won't have enough depth and the flavour will easily get lost.  

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To truly enjoy the taste, it's important to brew the perfect cup.

  1. Bring fresh water to a boil. The best water temperature for making green tea should be around 70-85 degrees Celsius. Since you will add milk, you can use a slightly hotter water, but not boiling. Keep it at 85-90 degrees Celsius.
  2. Measure 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea per cup of water and place it in a teapot or infuser. Steep tea for 3-5 minutes, depending on the type of green tea and your personal taste preferences.
  3. Once the tea is ready, remove the infuser or strain it.
  4. Add a sweetener (optional).
  5. Add hot or cold milk.
  6. Serve it hot or over ice.

How much milk to add to green tea?

How much milk you will add will depend on the drink you are making. If you are making a milk , you can add only a tablespoon or two of condensed milk. If you are making a tea , add 50-150 ml of steamed and frother milk, and if you only want to enhance the flavour, a splash may be enough.

Now that you know how to brew the perfect cup of green tea for milk pairing, let's explore types of milk you can use.

Hojicha bubble tea with matcha milk jelly

Which milk to choose

Regular dairy milk is a classic choice that adds a rich and creamy texture and goes well with any green tea. Whole milk is usually a better choice than semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, especially if you want a creamier texture.

If you are using stronger green tea with enough depth, condensed milk, evaporated milk, creamer and half-and-half may work well too.

But if you're looking for a dairy-free option, you can choose from many delicious non-dairy milk alternatives such as coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, soy milk or oat milk. Nut-based milk will be wonderful for green teas with nuttier roasted notes, and neutral cashew milk will work with most green teas.

Final Thoughts

Green tea may not be the type of tea you'd typically drink with milk, but it can be incredibly tasty. Choosing the right green tea, brewing it properly, and selecting the best milk are key factors in making the perfect cup of green tea with milk. This guide will help you get started and explore the whole new world of unique and refreshing flavours.  

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Need more inspiration?

Check out these recipes:




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