Cheese tea is a trendy drink originating from Taiwan that combines a sweet whipped cream cheese foam topping with a variety of tea flavors, creating a unique and flavorful beverage experience.
Where Did Cheese Tea Come From?
Cheese tea is a relatively new beverage that originated in Taiwan in the early 2010s. The drink gained popularity in Taiwan and quickly spread to other parts of Asia before making its way to the Western world.
The exact origins of cheese tea are unclear, but it is believed to have been invented by a tea shop in Taiwan that wanted to create a unique beverage that would stand out from the competition. The shop experimented with various ingredients and flavors and eventually came up with the concept of a tea drink topped with a creamy cheese foam.
The first type of cheese used in cheese tea was cream cheese, which was whipped with milk and sugar to create a smooth and frothy topping. Later on, other types of cheese, such as cheddar and gouda, were used to add a unique flavor to the drink.
Cheese tea quickly became popular in Taiwan and other parts of Asia, particularly in China, where it has been embraced by young people as a trendy and Instagrammable drink. In recent years, cheese tea has also gained a following in the United States, Canada, and Europe, with many tea shops and chains offering their own unique versions of the drink.
Overall, this cheese tea recipe is a creative and delicious innovation in the world of tea that has captured the hearts of many around the world, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
What Kind Of Tea Do I Use? What About Coffee?
You can use any kind of chilled, strongly-brewed tea or iced coffee that you want for this cheese tea recipe. The cheese foam is light and sweet and would taste amazing with any fruity, herbal teas, though black and green teas are often used as well.
When testing this recipe, I brewed a strong batch of chamomile blueberry tea and it was delicious!
Are you a coffee lover? Try topping your favorite iced coffee with this sweet, creamy, cheesy foam.
Do I Have To Use Boba (popping pearls)?
While boba tea, or bubble tea, is a popular beverage to top with cheese foam, you don't have to use the chewy tapioca pearls at all if you don't want. I like the look of the pretty pearls at the bottom of a clear glass, but your beverage will be just as delicious without them.
If you're wondering what type of popping pearls to use, I bought this type from Amazon. To prepare the pearls, they must be boiled and then soaked to reach the desired soft and chewy texture. I then let the pearls sit in a thick brown sugar simple syrup for about an hour to sweeten them (they won't taste sweet otherwise!)
You can also buy pre-prepared boba pearls that are pre-sweetened and ready-to-use. This is definitely the easiest way to go since all you have to do is spoon them into your glass straight from the container!
What Ingredients Are in Cheese Foam?
The ingredients in a cheese tea recipe aren't all that dissimilar from a cream cheese whipped cream... in fact, that's kind of exactly what it is. Here are the general ingredients:
- Cream Cheese - it should be the full fat version at room temperature for easy whipping
- Sugar - the sugar will add sweetness to the foam and will also sweeten the tea, or whatever beverage you choose to top with your foam. Use regular (granulated) sugar and not powdered sugar!
- Heavy Whipping Cream - nice and cold
- Whole Milk - you'll want this chilled, too. You can use a lower fat version but it won't whip up quite as nicely
- Salt - just a teeny pinch to enhance flavors
What Does Cheese Tea Taste Like?
Cheese tea combines the brightness of fresh teas with the sweet and creamy taste of the cheese foam. The tea itself provides a refreshing and slightly bitter taste, while the cheese foam adds a slightly salty and creamy flavor that adds mellowness and sweetness. The overall taste can vary depending on the type of tea or beverage topped with the foam. Some cheese teas may have a more subtle cream cheese flavor, while others may be more strongly flavored. Ultimately, the taste of cheese tea is a matter of personal preference, and it's worth trying different variations to find the one that best suits your taste buds. This cheese tea recipe uses a foam that tastes like a fluffy cream cheese whipped cream.
Tips and Troubleshooting
Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your cheese tea recipe to ensure it ends up being the best it can be.
- Don't Over Whip - Stop whipping as soon as the mixture becomes light and like the texture of a slightly loose whipped cream. Whipping too much air into it will cause it to collapse and break down.
- Don't Make It In Advance - The foam will lose it's lovely light and fluffy texture the longer it sits after being whipped - even if you put it in the fridge. My advice is to use the foam soon after making it for the best result.
- Try Fun Toppings - Try sprinkling some extra flavors on the top of your foam to complement whatever tea or coffee you are using. Try matcha powder, ground cinnamon or nutmeg, cocoa powder, and more!
- Use Flavored Salt - The tiny bit of salt is an important ingredient
You don't need anything specialized to create your homemade cheese tea, but here are some things you'll want to have in your kitchen.
- Electric Tea Kettle - you can boil water in a pan on your stove, but an electric tea kettle lets you better control the temperature of the water.
- Kitchenaid Hand Mixer - my favorite hand mixer! Honestly, I use this thing more than a stand mixer.
- Mixing Bowls - I adore this set of glass Pyrex mixing bowls. They're heavy and sturdy and clean easily in the dishwasher.
How To Serve
Purists will tell you to sip the tea through the foam sitting on the top of the beverage to get the full effect of the bitterness of the tea with the sweetness of the foam. You could also go ahead and mix in the foam completely with the tea for a consistently sweet and creamy sip.
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