Monday, November 16, 2009
Royal Milk Tea KitKat
Before I came to Japan, I had never heard of "royal milk tea." You find it sold in bottles in some refrigerator cases, at coffee and snack shops, and in vending machines both hot and cold. I'm not sure what is supposed to make this "royal", but what it really is is tea with loads of milk and sugar. I'm pretty sure that's what the British tend to give children to break them into tea drinking.
The odd thing about royal milk tea is that it is often portrayed as being British, and the packaging on this KitKat is playing up that particular image, but I couldn't find any reference to it in my research. I think it may actually be a Japanese thing. The closest thing in English tea culture that I came across was what is called "Builder's tea".
I will go on record saying that I love royal milk tea, but sometimes find the Japanese bottled versions too sweet and I have to be in the right mood to have one. Lipton makes some especially nice versions, but it can be like liquid candy. I rarely buy it because it has as much or more sugar in it than Coca-Cola. It's one of the few things that makes me think that one can contract a blood sugar disorder from drinking a beverage.
Given that royal milk tea is so sweet and full of dairy, it is an excellent candidate for a KitKat variation. While many white-chocolate-based KitKats are too sweet and this drowns out the flavors, it's difficult to over-sweeten and not hit the mark on royal milk tea. Being very sweet is what it is all about.
The bar smells of tea and has the same distinct flavor of the bottled teas you get in Japan. The tea flavoring is vaguely floral and not incredibly strong. As expected, the bar is very, very sweet and I think it'd be really hard to eat an entire box at once. By the end of the second finger, you throat will be burning if you don't have a little beverage on the side to wash it down.
Despite the intense sweetness of this, I liked it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't had royal milk tea in Japan as it may be overwhelming.