Learning to Brew Like a Champion!

From the moment I heard of Secret Tour Hong Kong, I wanted to join one of their (you guessed it) secret tours. Founded by two self-proclaimed “Hong Kong advocates of backpacking,” Secret Tour Hong Kong’s main objective is to show tourists and locals alike the hidden side of Hong Kong, the side behind the neon lights, high-end shopping malls and towering skyscrapers.

Due to several scheduling conflicts, I wasn’t able to participate in some of Secret Tour Hong Kong’s earlier walks but finally, the scheduling gods smiled upon me and I was able to participate in Secret Tour’s most recent foray: a Hong Kong milk tea workshop and tasting!

Work station for brewing Hong Kong milk tea

The event started out with a demonstration by Master Law, the 2010 Milk Tea Champion brewer. Master Law divulged the secret recipe to brewing the ultimate Hong Kong milk tea, even demonstrating some of his own special techniques.

Master Law at work

We were then given reign over our own brewing stations to try our hand at the somewhat complicated process of brewing, straining, brewing and straining. Unfortunately, in all the rush, I forgot to jot down the recipe. I do, however, remember bits and pieces of the secret technique. The brew consists of a blend of three different black tea leaves, the tea is strained through the “silk stocking” four times and the higher you strain, allowing more air for the brew to breathe, the better.

Doing my best to recall Master Law’s technique

Once the tea was properly brewed and strained, I was instructed to mix the brew with evaporated milk and sugar to get that authentic Hong Kong milk tea flavor. At this point I was over-boiling (haha, I made a pun) with excitement to taste my milk tea concoction and compare it to that of Master Law’s champion brew!

Tasting our own Hong Kong milk tea brew

The verdict? Personally, my own milk tea brew tasted better than Master Law’s, but that’s only because I prefer my tea milkier and sweeter than most and I was able to modify my cup accordingly. But I will say that Master Law’s brew was incredibly strong and creamy. It’s no wonder that he won the 2010 championship!

My personal brew was my favorite

Once the milk tea workshop was over, all the participants hopped on a hired bus and we were shuttled to two of Hong Kong’s most-famed milk tea shops, known locally as cha chaan teng, to sample their famous in-house brews.

By the end of the day, I had drank about five cups of Hong Kong milk tea and I loved every minute of it, all fourteen hours to be exact when I was finally able to fall asleep!

So I was able to learn how to make my own Hong Kong milk tea, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to remember the recipe. I guess some secrets deserve to be kept hidden, but at least now I know the most popular cha chaan teng to get Hong Kong’s famous milk tea!

Josie and Stephen, founders of Secret Tour Hong Kong

For more information on upcoming Secret Tour Hong Kong events, follow their Facebook page. 

And I love puns so if you have any more to add to my admittedly bad pun above, please leave a comment!

© Connie Hum 2011

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