Bear with me as I use an uncharacteristic amount of words for this particular entry. It’s been an entry 2.5 years in the making!
Anyone who really knows me, would know that I have a major obsession with Tea Station’s Green Milk Tea. If you know my family, you will know that my sister shares this same obsession. Whenever Triple F comes to town, she hits up Tea Station at least once a day. The Bay Area just isn’t replete with Tea Stations like Southern California. I’ve been to every Tea Station in Southern California and I love them all.
You may ask, “What’s so special about Tea Station?” If you’re asking this question, then you know very little about tea drinks. Tea Station uses very high quality tea and its very apparent in their drinks. While other boba shops serve drinks that are sugary sweet or overwhelmingly milky, Tea Station serves drinks that are bright, refreshing, and well balanced to allow the true flavor of the tea to sing through with every slurp. You may prefer your milk tea very milky, so to each his own. I prefer a light milky sweetness with a relative strong tea flavor. Tea Station consistently serves up individually shaken drinks like this. It’s an extremely rare occasion to find any other drink spot that makes drinks any other way. Trust me, the H.o.P. trekked through Taiwan trying every single milk tea we could fit in our stomachs and only Ten Ren managed to meet our expectations.
Because of accessibility issues (Tea Stations are not conveniently located in LA like Starbucks and are nowhere near the Pacific Northwest), I started on a journey to recreate Tea Station’s green milk tea at home. What a journey it has been! You think it was as easy as brewing up some tea, adding some sugar, some milk, shake shake and serve. NO, it was nothing like that! First off, finding the right tea was more difficult than I thought. I knew they used Jasmine tea, but when I purchased their Jasmine tea bags, the result was disappointing. I tried green tea, jasmine green tea, but no luck. The aroma just was not there. When I asked what tea they used in their teas, they directed me to same things I was using. I had a suspicion that they did not want to let me in on their secrets. So I went to another tea cafe that served up drinks very similar in quality to Tea Station, Cha for Tea in Alhambra. At least there they were honest with me and told me they used very high quality expensive tea. I bought their tea at $22 for a half pound of jasmine tea. Finally I concluded that expensive high quality tea was the key! The aroma, the taste, it was all there. Soon enough, I stumbled upon a Tea Station employee who showed me which tea they use.
The key is this ten-luh jasmine tea, which has to be brewed very strong and concentrated or else the flavor of the tea while be washed out by the cream and sugar. You can buy it at Tea Station or any specialty tea stores for about $24-28.
Next on this journey was figuring out how the drinks were sweetened. It was clear that sugar did not provide that intense zing of sweetness in these drinks. Unfortunately fructose isn’t something you can easily buy in your local supermarket. Whole Foods sold fructose in powder format so I purchased that and made a simple syrup. That was totally the wrong sweetner. As luck would have it, I came across fructose in a Japanese market. Unfortunately, they stopped selling it but I found another brand at the 99 Ranch Market. Finally, I found it!
When it came to the cream element, I tried all sorts of combinations. Just to be clear, condensed milk is the absolute WRONG ingredient. Using this will make your drinks taste gross. Half and half is a decent option, but I concluded that non dairy creamer in powder form is the best option. The pre made creamer options found in the refrigerated dairy section has a very subtle off taste, so I stick to the powder form.
I will usually make a large amount of tea to store in the fridge and make an individual cup whenever I feel like it.
Tea Station Green Milk Tea
For the tea (makes 4 cups of tea)
3 heaping tbsp Ten-Luh Jasmine Green Tea
5 1/3 cup water
For the green milk tea (makes 1 drink)
1 1/4 cups cooled tea
2-3 tbsp fructose
3 tbsp non dairy creamer dissolved in 3 tbsp hot water
6-8 ice cubes (depending on size)
1. Heat up 5 1/3 cups of water to just boiling
2. Add to a teapot with the tea
3. Steep for about ~7 minutes (You can steep anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea. I think Tea Station steeps on the lower side, maybe about 5 minutes, but I like a strong tea taste. The tea should taste very very bitter and be pretty dark)
4. Strain prepared tea into a container to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours (You can throw it into the freezer for a quick cool down if you intend to serve your tea sooner rather than later)
5. You can use a martini shaker like they use in the shop, but I just use a tumbler to shake up the tea, fructose, creamer, and ice together.
There you have it folks. Probably about 2.5 years of slow research presented to you in an instant! My job here is done. The only thing I have not been able to find are the super long bendy straws since the regular bendy straws are too short for my tumbler =(
I’ll have to admit that my version doesn’t taste EXACTLY like Tea Station’s. In fact, mine has a stronger tea flavor, which I’ve actually grown to like, maybe even better than Tea Station’s. If you are a true tea lover, than you will surely like my take on my favorite drink. Keep in mind you can have it hot or cold too!