What is Yuen Yeung, Coffee & Milk Tea?

Yuen yeung, also known as yuan yang, yin yong, or yin yeung, is a Cantonese drink that you can often order at Asian bakeries composed of a mixture of coffee and milk tea.

This drink is extremely popular in Hong Kong and is becoming increasingly popular due to milk tea becoming more popular worldwide.

Originally this drink was served with street foods and eventually grew to cafes.

Now, it has become so popular that Starbucks in Hong Kong serve this tasty drink. There is a Yuen Yeung Frappuccino exclusively sold in Hong Kong. It was served in 2010 at Starbucks locations in Hong Kong and Macau.

For those that grew up with an Asian upbringing, there isn’t a better treat than grabbing a hot cup of yuen yeung and pineapple bun from an Asian bakery.

What is Yuen Yeung made of?

Yuen yueng is made of milk tea and coffee. The main difference is the milk tea.

Hong Kong milk tea is different than most milk teas served elsewhere.

Hong Kong milk tea is especially smooth and creamy compared to other milk teas because of the use of evaporated milk. It stems from the British colonial rule of Hong Kong.

Black tea became popular with the natives, except they added condensed milk instead of ordinary milk.

The ratio will be different depending on what you prefer. Most recipes use a 1:1 ratio of coffee to Hong Kong milk tea. However, some people prefer less coffee and more team.

You will have to experiment for yourself to see what you prefer. Start with a ratio of 1:1 and go from there.

One popular ratio for yuen yeung is three parts of black coffee and seven parts of milk tea.

What Yuen Yeung tastes like

In a good cup of yuen yeung you should not be able to taste either the black coffee or the milk tea. They should be well balanced and create an entirely new experience.

Some may consider mixing coffee and tea together sacrilegious, but you will be surprised if you try it. It tastes amazing and the thicker creamy texture of the Hong Kong milk tea gives the drink more body than any regular cup of coffee.

This drink has the best of both worlds.

The flavor of the milk is on the forefront of the drink. For regular black coffee drinkers this may seem like a dessert, but it is very similar to bubble tea.

It is sweet and creamy with a hint of bitterness from the coffee.

The closest thing I can compare it to is with bubble milk tea with brown sugar.

How to make Yuen Yeung

Yuen yeung is a simple drink that you can make at home. All you need are the basic ingredients to make coffee or espresso and milk tea. Condensed milk is preferred, but you can use any sweetener you are accustomed to.


  • Condensed or evaporated milk
  • Loose-leaf black tea or tea bags
  • Brown sugar or sweetener to taste
  • Water
  • Your choice of coffee

Hong Kong milk tea

To make authentic yuen yeung you first must make authentic Hong Kong milk tea which is in itself another ordeal.

One thing that will surprise you about Hong Kong milk tea is the number of tea leaves that will go into just a few cups of tea. It is traditionally very strong and concentrated. It will be diluted with the flavors of condensed milk later.

First, add 1 cup of water and use 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf black tea leaves or 4 standard size tea bags. 2 tea bags is equal to 1 tablespoon of tea.

The types of tea leaves used in Hong Kong milk tea is usually a blend unique to each cafe, but the most common leaves will be Ceylon and Pu Lei tea.

These are both black teas and if you do not have access to this you can use any black tea you do have access to.

The black tea is both bold and rich which blends well with evaporated milk and coffee.

The last resort if you do not have access to any loose leaf tea will be Lipton tea bags. Lipton uses black tea in all of their original tea bags.

Lipton buys the “tea dust” or “tea fannings” for black tea which consists of small pieces of tea leaves and stems which will yield less flavor.

Step by step guide for making Hong Kong milk tea

Combine the tea leaves and water in a pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil.

You can put the tea leaves in a sackcloth (muslin) bag and boil the leaves in the bag. The bag looks like a silk stocky or pantyhose which is why Hong Kong tea got the nickname “silk stocking tea” or “pantyhose tea”.

Let this simmer for 3 minutes and then remove it from the heat and stir in your milk.

Once you stir in your milk return this mixture back to the heat.

Simmer for another 3 minutes with everything mixed together.

Last, separate your Hong Kong milk tea from the tea leaves by pouring it through a strainer.

Putting it all together

To enjoy yuen yeung just pour your coffee into your cup of Hong Kong milk tea.

One thing that I really enjoy doing is chilling the Hong Kong milk tea and preparing an espresso shot.

I chill the milk tea because if you pour the hot yuen yeung over ice it will melt the ice and dilute your drink. I will often make an extra batch and cool it in the fridge to make this treat for later.

Tips for enjoying yuen yeung

To get the most authentic experience you might want to invest in a HK diner style coffee mug.

Anyone who has been to a Hong Kong cafe knows exactly what I am talking about. A hot yeun yeung coffee is best enjoyed in this:

While this mug is not only for looks, it helps keep the drink warm for longer too because of the thick walls.

Another thing you need that will make your yuen yeung experience exponentially better is a traditional Chinese baked bun.

A pineapple bun and dan tat, which is an egg tart are great compliments to this drink.

Your thoughts?

Let me know if you tried this amazing drink from Hong Kong!

If you have your own mixtures and combinations I would love to read them, just comment them below.


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