The name describes the product very succinctly — tea topped with cheese.
There’s a little more to it than that simple description, however.
“Cheese tea is the name for cold tea (usually green or black tea, with or without milk) topped with a foamy layer of milk and cream cheese and sprinkled with salt,” wrote Esther Tseng in the article “Cheese Tea Could Be the New Bubble Tea — If Americans Get Over the Name.”
The latest rage in China
“We waited an hour and a half or two hours until we purchased our HeyTea,” said one very enthusiastic Chinese customer. In China, consumers revere tea as much as Americans seek out a morning cup of coffee.
“Cheese tea is a revolutionary beverage that breaks away from traditional Chinese tea culture,” said Zhou “Kiki” Meiqi, manager of Heytea. “The younger generation doesn’t like tea without milk or other additional flavoring, so we invented a new beverage,” she went on to say in her native language.
In search of the perfect cheese
“We look for a cheese that isn’t too sour or too salty, so we choose one with a lighter flavor. The cheese blend we make is thicker and richer, so when layered on top of the tea, it doesn’t mix with the tea,” she said. “The taste is full-bodied, smooth, and aromatic, and then the aftertaste is very sweet,” said Meiqi of the Heytea brand.
"In a single-counter store, we sell approximately 2,500 cups of tea a day,” she said of sales based in China. “In a double-counter store, we produce up to 4,500 cups."
“Cheese tea has gone global from Malaysia to Los Angeles, people are drinking it everywhere,” said the narrator of the video Cheese Tea is China’s Latest Drink Sensation.
In the United States, there is at least one company looking to supply product to meet the growing demand from the cheese tea market. That company plans to concentrate milk to create a product that has a longer shelf life. This innovative product could be a great ingredient for milk tea and the coffee business.