Okinawa Milk Tea- A Captivating Brew

Any tea that is made by using milk makes milk tea. Tea and creamy milk combine to create a delicious beverage with mouth-watering flavors. The same is true for Okinawa milk tea. It is a refreshing tea that blends the richness of black tea, tasty brown sugar-Kokuto, and creamy milk.

This exquisite bubble tea that originated in Okinawa, the southern province of Japan has become popular amongst milk tea lovers who like enjoying intense tang.

This article will discuss all about Okinawa milk tea, its health benefits, ingredients, taste, how it differs from other milk teas, and the best way to prepare it.

What is Milk Tea?

Milk tea is a beverage that combines milk with tea. This popular drink is a harmonious blend of addictive flavors, tastes, and textures.

Milk tea is made by steeping tea in hot water. You can use loose tea leaves or tea bags. Adding milk to the tea creates a delicious and creamy drink. People add sugar or natural sweeteners for taste.

It is a versatile drink. You can use any tea, including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, and purple tea. Milk tea can also be a herbal tea that offers a distinct profile and taste.

You can customize milk tea with your favorite sweeteners and toppings. Some people like boba pearls, while others prefer jelly or fruit. Milk tea can be consumed hot or cold depending on the preferences.

Milk tea is easy to prepare, but its preparation may vary from place to place. Some common types of milk tea are bubble tea, Hokkaido milk tea, tea lattes, Hong Kong milk tea, masala chai, or Thai tea.

Some of most famous milk teas you can enjoy are:

Some other milk teas are:

  • Hong Kong Milk Tea
  • British Cuppa
  • Bubble Tea
  • London Fog
  • Chai Latte
  • Thai Iced Tea
  • Hong Kong-style
Okinawa Milk Tea

What Is Okinawa Milk Tea?

Okinawa milk tea is one of the healthiest bubble teas that originated in Okinawa prefecture in Japan. Like most milk tea, it contains milk, tea, and sweetener. People also use tapioca boba pearls. It is growing in popularity and you can find it in many tea shops in the U.S., including Starbucks.

But what makes Okinawa milk tea unique?

It is a versatile beverage. The growing popularity of tapioca pearls makes it more interesting and delicious.  Black tapioca pearls are small chewy black balls made from the paste of cassava plant roots. The paste is mixed with other ingredients, like brown sugar, sweet potatoes and coloring.

However, the sweetener in Okinawa milk tea sets it apart. Okinawa brown sugar is used as sweetener which gives it a distinct flavor. It is made from roasted brown sugar, known as ‘kokuto’.

The black tea in Okinawa milk tea gives an earthy and satisfying flavor whereas fresh dairy milk from local cows gives it a creamy texture.

The tea is made by brewing the tea leaves which is combined with milk and the distinct brown sugar called kokuto. You can also use oat milk, or milk of your choice but Okinawa milk tea is best enjoyed with creamy high-quality whole milk of Okinawa cows.

Kokuto, the brown sugar gives it a very special taste. It is made differently than the other brown sugars. 

Okinawa Milk Tea Ingredients

People generally believe that Okinawa milk tea is made with special milk found in Okinawa prefecture in Japan.

However, this popular milk tea is similar to other types of milk tea. It combines tea leaves, milk, and sweetener. It gets its name from Okinawa Island in Japan.

This delightful beverage is special due to its unique ingredients. It contains black tea, brown sugar, milk, and tapioca pearls.

The black tea provides a robust flavor and a slight bitterness. The special brown sugar which is called kokuto adds a distinct sweetness to the tea. Milk gives the tea a creamy and smooth texture. The chewy tapioca pearls or boba enhances the overall experience.

Although cow’s milk is most preferred, people also use other milk such as soy oat, almond, coconut etc. These ingredients create a harmonious blend making Okinawa milk tea special and highly enjoyable.

Kokuto is the special ingredient that makes Okinawa milk tea a delicious and delightful beverage. Let’s know more about kokuto.

Kokuto: Okinawa Brown Sugar

Kokuto is a unique and special Okinawa brown sugar. Kokuto is produced in Okinawa through distinct methods. Unlike other brown sugars, that are generally refined white sugar and molasses, kokuto is produced by cooking sugarcane juice.

Kokuto is commonly grown in Okinawa as a cane sugar. It doesn’t undergo the centrifugal extraction of molasses like other brown sugar. Due to the unique preparation method, kokuto is high in mineral content and vitamins. It is rich and full of flavor.

Kokuto sugar is darker in color, malty, and has a rich caramel flavor. Its healthier brown sugar and widely used throughout Japan. Japanese people also use kokuto in cakes and sweet soups.

Kokuto is healthier than other brown sugars because sugar is made by squeezing sugar cane juice. The juice is then boiled to get kokuto.

Okinawa Milk Tea

Why is it Called Okinawa Milk Tea

Okinawa Milk Tea is named so because it originates from Okinawa prefecture in Japan. Okinawa is a group of islands where most centenarians in the world live. Okinawa milk tea is one of the healthiest bubble teas.

The tea got popular in Okinawa, and later, it became associated with it. Now, the tea distinguishes itself from other milk teas and signifies its origin and popularity on the island.

Okinawa Milk Tea Taste

Kokuto, the Okinawa brown sugar, gives the tea a unique taste. It tastes like kokuto sugar and has a rich and malty taste similar to a roasted caramel flavor. Sweetness is mild as kokuto is not overly sweet unlike plain brown sugar.

Traditionally, Okinawa milk tea is made with Assam black tea which has a malty flavor. However, any black tea can be used to prepare Okinawa milk tea that suits your taste and preference. When black tea combines with kokuto, it creates a velvety rich and deep taste.

Since Okinawa milk tea is made by using milk, it is rich, creamy and smooth. Full-fat milk is the best option to enjoy this tea which lends it a creamy flavor.

People often confuse Okinawa Milk Tea with Hokkaido Milk Tea, but they are different. Let’s learn about these two well-known milk teas form Japan.

Hokkaido vs Okinawa Milk Tea

Hokkaido and Okinawa are two Japanese islands. Hokkaido is situated in the north whereas Okinawa is located south of the mainland.

These islands have their specialty traditional teas and people sometimes mix them. Although both the beverages have many similarities but there are some differences in their texture and flavor. Below are some of the notable differences:

  • Dairy milk and black tea, the two main ingredients make the tea base in both the tea types. However, Hokkaido tea is made with regular brown sugar (or other additives like honey or caramel) whereas; Okinawa milk tea is made with special brown sugar kokuto.
  • Creamy texture and milkiness are prominent in Hokkaido milk tea, whereas Okinawa milk tea has a deep, rich flavor.
  • You can use any type of milk in Okinawa milk tea but generally whole milk is preferred. However, Hokkaido milk tea is prepared with Hokkaido milk. It is creamy and rich milk with hints of vanilla.
  • Both the tea types use tapioca pearls but cream on the top of Hokkaido tea is a must. 
  • Kokuto gives Okinawa tea a rich and malty flavor like roasted caramel but Hokkaido milk tea is milkier with hints of vanilla.

Therefore, if you prefer creamy tea with hints of vanilla, Hokkaido tea is an excellent choice. However, if you are looking for a caramelized tea which is less milky, Okinawa will suit your taste.

Okinawa Milk Tea

Is Okinawa Milk Tea Good?

Sugar is one of the main ingredients in milk/bubble teas; therefore, they are full of carbohydrates. Okinawa uses kokuto as a sweetener, which is an unrefined brown sugar that has a better nutritional profile than regular brown sugar. However, it still adds to the total carbohydrate count.

People have started substituting fresh milk with powder mixes. But powder mixes may contain even more calories and sugar. Most milk teas do not offer much nutritional benefit. Therefore, like any sweet drink or milk tea moderation is the key.

Can Okinawa Milk Tea Be Enjoyed Daily?

Like most milk teas, Okinawa milk tea should be enjoyed in moderation. Due to high calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, it is not an ideal beverage to consume daily

Does Okinawa Milk Tea Have Caffeine?

The amount of caffeine content in Okinawa milk tea varies. It depends on the type of tea you use.

Generally, Okinawa milk tea contains Assam black tea. The amount of tea and seeping time determine the level of caffeine in Okinawa milk tea. Usually, it may have up to 20-30 mg of caffeine.

How to Prepare Okinawa Milk Tea

Okinawa milk tea is easy to make at home. You can enjoy it as a hot or iced beverage and the results are satisfying.  

Okinawa Milk Tea Ingredients

  • Loose-leaf black tea – It traditionally has a black tea base. Using Assam, Irish Breakfast, or English breakfast is an excellent choice.
  • Milk – Use whole milk for a creamy-rich drink. People also use plant-based milk.
  • Sweetener – Okinawa brown sugar-kokuto is the sweetener. You can also use toasted sugar, regular brown sugar, or molasses.

Preparation Instructions

  • Measure the leaves – Use approximately one teaspoon of tea leaves for every six ounces of water. You can prepare loose-leaf tea in a teapot, tea infuser, or tea filter, which allows the te leaves to expand for a flavorful cup.
  • Heat the water – Heat filtered water and bring it to a full boil.
  • Infuse the tea leaves – Pour hot water over the tea leaves. Infuse for about three to five minutes.
  • Add sweetener – Add Okinawa brown sugar, toasted sugar, molasses, or regular brown sugar.
  • Add the milk – Froth and add the milk and heat.
  • Chill the tea (optional) – To enjoy Okinawa milk tea cold, refrigerate it and serve it over ice. 
  • Add Tapioca pearls and enjoy!

Health Benefits

Although Okinawa is high in sugar, carbohydrates, and calories, it may have some health benefits!

  • Black tea is a vital ingredient in Okinawa milk tea. It comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It contains flavonoids, which help protect against cancer and heart disease.
  • The milk used in Okinawa milk tea adds some nutritional value. it contains calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Milk also provides vitamin B12, which helps maintain healthy blood cells and nerves.
How to make Okinawa Milk Tea


Okinawa milk tea is a healthy beverage choice. It provides a wide variety of benefits, making it a perfect beverage. It is an excellent source of nutrition.

People who don’t even like milk tea will enjoy the taste of this delicious drink. It is rich and delicious, and you will not notice any difference if you substitute skim milk for whole milk. I generally use and recommend choosing whole milk– the extra fat and calories double down on this delicious treat.


Where does Okinawa milk tea come from?

Okinawa milk tea originates from the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. It is a unique and popular beverage that combines black tea with brown sugar. It is a rich and flavorful drink that has gained worldwide recognition and appreciation.

Is Okinawa milk tea the same as brown sugar milk tea?

Okinawa milk tea is also referred to as brown sugar milk tea. The brown sugar gives it a distinct flavor and caramel-like sweetness. The terms “Okinawa milk tea” and “brown sugar milk tea” are often used interchangeably to describe this beverage.

What is in Okinawa milk tea?

Okinawa milk tea generally includes black tea, brown sugar, and milk. People sometimes use additional flavorings like vanilla or caramel. It is known for its unique blend of rich, sweet flavors and creamy texture.

What does Okinawa milk tea taste like?

Okinawa milk tea has a distinct taste profile. It has a robust and earthy black tea flavor complemented by the rich sweetness of brown sugar. Adding milk creates a creamy and smooth texture. It enhances the overall taste experience.

Why is it called Okinawa milk tea?

Okinawa milk tea is named after the island of Okinawa, Japan. This delightful beverage originated there which is a unique fusion of traditional Japanese tea culture and the island’s distinctive brown sugar flavors.

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Learn About Tea: A Comprehensive Guide on Teas

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Is Arizona Green Tea Good for You

Unlock the Energizing Power of Arizona Hard Green Tea

Arizona Iced Tea-Rejuvenating Delight

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