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.


Anonymous said...

I would absolutely love, love to have this!!!!! I drink Milk tea everyday, twice or three times a day even, but I Just use lowfat milk to top it off, mostly water and no sugar, so I get my water intake during the winter.. but Red Tea and Milk, are my favorite.

I can't find these anywhere here, I might have to get you to send me some "wink"!

Orchid64 said...

I drink tea with milk at least once a day - sometimes two or three times. That being said, it's not as sweet or milky as royal milk tea. I also use lowfat milk to top mine off! ;-)

If you can't find any, I'll pick you up one, but they're everywhere right now in convenience stores. The hub got this one at New Days and I saw more at 7-11. I think you'd really enjoy it! :-)

Pegglass said...

Royal Milk Tea is certainly NOT a British thing - it sounds like something just invented to SOUND British.

PS - love the site!

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Pegglass, and thank you for your kind comment and for reading!

It definitely does appear to be an invention, though I can't say if the Japanese created it or someone else did. It does appear to be something which is not common in the West.

Anonymous said...

RMT is usually made with Assam tea and spices, it's not what the English drink which is earl grey or english breakfast.

In Nagano they make it up by hand from scratch right in front of you and it tastes delicious.

I've never had milk tea anywhere in Japan that was as good as in Nagano. I hope they make a Nagano RMT kit kat.

Rach said...

I just had it, recently bought it in Osaka, Japan. So yummy, wish they sell this in states. :(

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Rach, and thanks for taking the time to comment!

I wonder how well these KitKats are selling because they're on sale at one of the Okashi no Machioka discount snack shops in my neighborhood for 69 yen. They're still in convenience stores though (at full price).

Leah said...

hi! i'm british through and through and consequently am addicted to tea. just got back from a holiday in japan and discover the royal tea drinks. LOVE THEM!! yes, they are disgustingly sweet (especially the asahi brand), but the lipton one was very drinkable and VERY addictive. had withdrawal symptoms for my first few days back home.
found the royal tea kitkats at the airport and thought 'bloody hell, gotta have one of those!'. but i stupidly only brought one and didn't crack it open til i got home. major regret. LOVE THEM!! can't believe how much they taste like royal tea. i will pay a lot of money for anyone to send them to me in australia. i so should have brought 100s!
anyway, awesome blog. you're top of the google list when you type in 'royal tea kitkat'. trying to find a site that sells them :)
happy tea drinking everyone.

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Leah, and thanks so much for taking the time to read and write such a delightful comment!

I think the Royal Milk Tea KitKats are actually going to be gone soon. They're still in some convenience stores, but the discount snack shop near my place had them on sale for 69 yen. That's generally a sign that they're liquidating their stock!