Why Everyone's Obsessed with Cheese Tea
Cheese and tea: two words that go unnoticed separately but together might cause a double take. But trust us when we say cheese tea is the drink you'll be seeing a lot more of in 2018.
Thankfully, cheese tea doesn't involve a wedge of Gorgonzola blended into your Earl Grey. Instead, a base of iced tea—traditionally jasmine, oolong or green— is topped with a fluffy cloud of salted cheesecake-like cream. And though the drink originated in Taiwanese street stalls around 2010, it wasn't until it made its way to China when bloggers, such as Ethan Wong, noticed people were willing to wait up to three hours for cups of the sweet, savory beverage.
Luckily, you won't have to travel across the world to try a sip of the unique concoction—China-based chain Happy Lemon has been opening locations in Boston and NYC, while West Coasters can get their fix at Little Fluffy Head Cafe. Owner Jenny Zheng whips up daily batches of cheese cream at the L.A. shop before floating them atop a whole menu of freshly brewed teas, and then sprinkling them with Himalayan pink salt. But how does this combination taste?
"You have the sweet-and-salty flavor from the cheese cream mixed with the earthy-and-grassy flavor from the tea," Zheng says. For her, the trick to getting the most out of the experience is making sure you sip the drink at the right angle, so the tea and fluffy foam combine into a frothy new beverage.
"The rich cheese foam makes the tea taste even better," Nie Yunchen, founder of HEYTEA in China, tells Condé Nast Traveler. "It's still our most popular beverage." Just look to his success as proof: His empire grew from just a single store to 69 locations across China, each branch selling up to 3,000 cups a day.
If you aren't in the mood to wait in an hour-long line, though, Wong recently shared how you can make your own cheese tea at home: Beat softened cream cheese with sugar and salt, then add heavy cream and whip it until you reach soft peaks. All that's left to do is top the iced tea of your choice and knock it back until you're left with a mustache that would make any Got Milk? ad look weak.
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