TWRL's Canned Milk Tea Is Vegan-Friendly

These days, every beverage company seems determined to take something previously thought un-cannable and put it in a can. The latest addition to this trend is Twrl Milk Tea, a canned milk tea company that launched in 2021 and is striving to bring traditional milk tea made with organic, sustainable, and vegan ingredients to a broader commercial audience.

The company's name comes from an old Chinese legend about the invention of tea. According to the tale, the Ming Emperor of China was enjoying a stroll when a burst of wind sent some leaves twirling into his cup. Twrl is also a suggestion that the canned milk tea is best served if slightly "twirled" or shaken before opening to achieve maximum froth.

Milk tea as we know it came about during Britain's rule in Hong Kong, when locals began taking their tea with milk as the British did, and the more popular version of milk tea, made with boba, dates to the 1980s Taiwan. If you love boba and milk tea, but don't enjoy overly sweet drinks, Twrl might be right up your alley.

The history of Twrl

According to Bon Appétit, Twrl was founded by Olivia Chen, a Taiwanese-American marketing strategist raised in California, and Pauline Ang, a design director born in Hong Kong and raised in Hawaii. After two decades of friendship, the two decided to go in on a milk tea company together that would take inspiration from their cultural upbringing and the beverages they enjoyed as children, which were often available only when relatives returned from trips to Asia, with suitcases full of treats. "[It's] a [conscientiously] made version of the quintessential Asian milk tea that we grew up drinking and loving," Chen told Bon Appétit.

The company also came out of a mission to make a healthier alternative to the sugar-laden milk tea full of preservatives that is often available commercially, and to ensure all the ingredients used were sustainable and supported multi-generational family growers and fair trade suppliers.

How is Twrl Milk Tea made?

Twrl Milk Tea is made from single-origin, fair-trade tea leaves sourced from family farms that use regenerative farming practices. It also uses organic pea milk, making it a vegan alternative to traditional milk tea, which uses cow's milk. Pea milk was chosen because of its mild flavor, so as not to distract from the tea itself. (Other plant-based milks were deemed too high in carbs for Ang and Chen's low-carb goals for their milk tea). The milk tea is also nitro-infused, giving it a creamy texture and froth of soft bubbles.

Fans of boba have likely been asked at their local bubble tea spot to name the percentage of sugar they want, an important question given the intense sweetness of standard bubble tea. But Twrl Milk Tea is flavored with a small amount of organic blue agave syrup, which has a lower glycemic index than sugar, resulting in a low-sugar drink.

How to drink Twrl

Twrl Milk Tea comes in three flavors: Taiwan-Style Black Milk Tea, Supreme Jasmine Pu'erh Milk Tea, and Hojicha Roasted Green Milk Tea. These options offer three different flavor profiles. The classic Black Tea has chocolatey and cinnamon notes while the Jasmine Tea is smooth, floral, and herbal. Finally, the Hojicha Tea is nutty, earthy, and smokey. They are available for purchase on the Twrl website, on Amazon, and at a variety of natural food stores nationwide.

Twrl Milk Tea can be served either hot or cold, on its own, or with little jelly boba balls to make it a boba tea. Twrl also sells brown sugar boba, which only needs to be briefly microwaved before being ready to go. Just pour your milk tea over the bubbles and enjoy. You can even make your own boba using rehydrated tapioca flour if you are feeling adventurous.

The milk tea can also be served on ice and spiked with a cold brew or espresso, or stuck in the freezer for around 45 minutes so it turns into a milk tea slushy, as Ang shared with Bon Appétit.