If you’ve ever spent time in Hong Kong and visited some of its many cafes, you may have encountered YuenYeung on the menu. If you did, there is a good chance you will have been intrigued by this unusual-sounding hong kong style coffee milk tea beverage.
YuenYeung, also called YuanYang tea, is actually a refreshing and tasty alternative to some of the more common coffee-based drinks. However, while coffee is a prominent ingredient in the drink, there’s another important element that makes it stand out.
This article will explain exactly what this Hong Kong coffee milk tea is, including its origins, how it came by its name, which ingredients are typically used to brew it, and how you can make it at home quickly and easily. Let’s get started.
Hong Kong Coffee Milk Tea Recipe (YuenYeung Recipe)
- 1 Kettle
- 1 large tea bag
- 1 coffee maker
- 4 tbsps black tea or Ceylon tea grounds
- 32 fl. oz hot water
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 8 fl. oz strong brewed drip coffee or instant coffee
- 2 tsps brown sugar or white sugar
- Measure and add 4 tbsps of black tea and Ceylon tea grounds into a tea bag.
- Add 32 fl. oz of water to a kettle and boil the water. Steep the tea bag in the water and simmer gently for ten minutes.
- Use your coffee machine to brew a cup of coffee. Add more grounds or choose the strongest strength if possible. (If you don't have a coffee machine, use instant coffee instead.)
- Get a measuring cup, fill 1/3 cup of evaporated milk and 2/3 cup of brewed tea. Mix well and you get a cup of milk tea.
- Get a serving cup, fill 1/3 cup of coffee, then fill 2/3 cup of milk tea you just made and mix them well. Add sugar as you prefer.
- Optional: If you want to make iced coffee milk tea, chill the hot drink and then add ice cubes.
What Is YuenYeung (Hong Kong Coffee Milk Tea)?
YuenYuen is a beverage popular in the region that combines coffee with Hong Kong-style milk tea. As a rule of thumb, it is made with three parts coffee and seven parts Hong Kong milk tea, a beverage combining Ceylon tea, black tea, and evaporated or condensed milk. However, the precise recipe for YuenYueng can differ depending on the region or outlet you buy it from. As well as those differences, the drink can also be served either hot or cold, making it a versatile alternative to other coffee-based drinks.
The name of this Hong Kong-style tea and coffee drink refers to Mandarin ducks, a symbol of love in Chinese culture. The male and female ducks live as a pair and have radically different appearances. That idea of a pair of very different things (in YuenYueng’s case, coffee and tea) coming together is at the root of this the drink’s name.
Origin Of YuenYeung Coffee Milk Tea
The notion of combining coffee and milk tea came from Britain when it ruled Hong Kong in the mid-nineteenth century. From those origins, milk tea became popular in Hong Kong culture. YuenYeung and milk tea were supposedly invented in 1952, although that date is open to conjecture where it comes to the former.
YuenYeung is thought to have originated when dock workers combined bitter coffee with tea to relieve hunger and thirst, replenish physical strength and provide refreshment. Later, the drink evolved from its grassroots beginnings to become popular throughout Hong Kong society.
Ingredients of Hong Kong Style Coffee Milk Tea
Hong Kong-style coffee milk tea contains black tea, granulated sugar, and evaporated milk. However, if you ask for ‘no yueng’ when ordering in a cafe, you will be offered sweetened condensed milk rather than evaporated milk and sugar.
At local Cha Chaan Tengs (cafes), the tea master prepares traditional Hong Kong-style coffee milk tea blended with strong brewed coffee. Some cafes opt to brew the coffee and tea mixture offered by the supplier in the same way they prepare milk tea to brew YuenYeung. However, they usually use 30% coffee and 70% milk tea to ensure a more prominent tea flavor.
If you are making the drink at home, you can use tea bags or loose black tea leaves to make the tea first, then add evaporated milk and instant coffee for a close approximation of the authentic beverage.
How To Make YuenYeung At Home (Hong Kong Coffee Milk Tea Recipe)
A traditional way to make hot and iced Hong Kong style tea coffee
- 4 tbsp black tea or Ceylon tea grounds
- 32 fl. oz hot water
- 1/3 cup of evaporated milk
- 8 fl. oz of strong brewed drip coffee
- 2 tsp brown sugar (white sugar also works)
- Saucepan or kettle
- A large tea bag (If you don’t have loose tea grounds)
1. Mix the tea leaves into a large teabag or cloth filter
It’s far easier to separate the tea grounds from the liquid after brewing. You can also use a cheesecloth to filter out the grounds. However, tea bags are the most convenient.
2. Steep and brew the tea in hot water
Pour water into either a saucepan or a kettle and boil it. Steep and brew the tea in hot water for between five and 10 minutes. You will notice the fragrance from the tea begins to fill the kitchen.
3. Brew some strong coffee
Use a brewer, such as a drip machine, to brew some strong coffee. If your machine has an option for coffee strength, select the strongest.
Alternatively, you can use instant coffee.
4. Mix milk, tea and coffee
Add 1/3 cup of evaporated milk and 2/3 cup of strongly brewed tea into a cup and mix them to make the milk tea.
Next, add 1/3 cup of coffee to the milk tea. Or you can mix 2/3 cup of tea and 1/3 cup of coffee, then add sweetened condensed milk until you find your preferred sweetness.
For Iced Coffee Milk Tea:
Allow the served hot drink to cool, then pour it over some ice cubes. Note that if you pour a hot beverage onto the ice cubes, the melted ice will dilute your cold drink.
Make Coffee Milk Tea Using A Moka Pot
You can also make Yuanyang tea using a Moka pot.
- Add equal amounts of ground coffee and tea leaves to the Moka pot’s filter basket, and mix them well
- Pour hot water into the water chamber of the Moka pot
- Assemble the Moka pot in the usual way
- Brew both the tea and coffee mixture in the Moka pot on a stove
- Fill your cup with 30% of evaporated milk and one tablespoon of white or brown sugar
- Add the freshly brewed tea and coffee mixture over the milk.
- Enjoy the hot coffee milk tea.
Make Coffee Milk Tea Using A French Press
- Add coffee and tea grounds to your French press, aiming for 70% tea and 30% coffee
- Add hot water to your French press, using a 1:10 tea-coffee-to-water ratio
- Steep the mixture in hot water for 10 minutes, then press the plunger down
- Fill 1/3 cup of evaporated milk in a ceramic cup, then add hot water and white or brown sugar
- Enjoy this creamy drink with ease.
What Is Children YuenYeung?
Because you use strong tea and strongly brewed coffee in Hong Kong-style milk tea, it is not necessarily suitable for children. Indeed, the drink typically has around 170mg of caffeine per cup. For that reason, there’s a delicious alternative has been developed that children can enjoy without the caffeine content.
Cafe offering the children’s version of the drink usually makes it with sweet malted milk drinks, including a mixture of Horlicks and Ovaltine. Because Horlicks drink is lighter in color, just like milk, while Ovaltine is darker, like coffee.
How Much Caffeine Is In YuenYeung?
As we mentioned earlier, the caffeine content of Hong Kong-style coffee milk tea is an average of around 170mg of caffeine per cup. However, in some instances, the caffeine content can reach as high as 250 mg per cup, depending on factors including the type of coffee and tea used in the brewing process. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid exceeding the daily recommended maximum intake of caffeine when consuming this coffee milk tea.
Can You Mix Tea And Coffee?
YuenYeung is delicious and easy to brew, but is it advisable to combine tea and coffee?
Thankfully, both tea and coffee have numerous health benefits, including antioxidants, which can help fight against disease and illness. Not only that but tea and coffee can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. In addition, it is also widely believed that both beverages help suppress the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or even help prevent it from developing altogether.
Studies have also shown that if you drink three to five cups of coffee a day, you can lower the risk of heart disease, while some research suggests that liver disease can be suppressed by drinking coffee in moderation. Similarly, tea and coffee are thought to be useful in the fight against certain cancers and can help prevent strokes. Meanwhile, coffee is thought to be particularly useful in fighting the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
In general, tea and coffee are also low in calories, so they can also help fight weight loss.
On the downside, tea and coffee both contain caffeine, and too much can make you irritable and affect the quality of your sleep. Another potential side effect is that they can lead to you losing calcium, making you more susceptible to bone fractures.
If you’ve visited Hong Kong and seen YuenYeung on the menu in one of its cafes, you’ll likely have been intrigued by this exotic-sounding drink. However, as this article has shown, it is made from ingredients that are commonplace in Western society. Nevertheless, their combination is less typical in countries like the US.
You can make the beverage at home with ingredients you’d typically find in your cupboards, and with the equipment you may already have to hand. Not only that, but you can make the drink quickly and easily.
As well as being a delicious alternative to other hot or cold coffee-based beverages, there are some health benefits to combining tea and coffee.
While you are advised to drink the beverage in moderation, owing to its caffeine content, it is both tasty and easy to make and well worth taking the time to give it a try.