//vol.15-4 AI Chatbot

Hey ChatGPT

Let’s Talk About Milk Tea


With so many young people turning to ChatGPT, we explored its potential. It is fun, but is it trustworthy?


Me: How did the world’s first milk tea come into being?


Ah, the world’s first milk tea, also known as “Chai”, is a delightful concoction with an interesting origin. Legend has it that it all began in ancient India.

Once upon a time, a wise and thirsty sage named Damodar was meditating under a banyan tree. In need of refreshment, he prepared a steaming cup of hot tea, which he had just brewed. Just as he was about to take a sip, a curious goat wandered by and accidentally knocked over his cup, spilling the tea into a nearby bowl of milk.

Damodar, not one to waste a good brew, decided to give it a taste. He was pleasantly surprised by the creamy and aromatic flavour of the mixture. He sipped the serendipitous blend of tea and milk, and thus, the world’s first milk tea was born!

Damodar went on to share his newfound creation with others, and it quickly became a sensation, eventually spreading beyond the borders of India. Over the centuries, the recipe for milk tea evolved, with each region adding its own unique twist to the mix, creating the diverse array of milk teas we enjoy today.


Me: How about Hong Kong milk tea?


Hong Kong milk tea, often affectionately referred to as “Yuan Yang”, is a unique and beloved beverage with its own amusing origin story. It’s the drink that’s as bold and dynamic as the city itself!

So, legend has it that Hong Kong milk tea was popularised during the British colonial era. The story goes like this: The British, being the tea enthusiasts they were, brought the tradition of brewing black tea with milk to Hong Kong. However, in typical Hong Kong fashion, they decided to give it a local twist.

To make the tea extra smooth and flavourful, Hong Kong-style milk tea is prepared using a special technique known as “pantyhose tea”. Yes, you heard that right! Tea leaves are placed in a cloth bag that resembles a giant pair of pantyhose, and then the tea is strained through this unique filter. This method gives the tea its characteristic silkiness and richness.

But here’s the fun part: The vigorous back-and-forth motion of pulling the “pantyhose” filled with tea leaves through the strainer not only aerates the tea but also adds a bit of flair to the whole process. It’s practically a ballet of tea preparation!

And what’s the “Yuan Yang” part of it all? Well, in Hong Kong, they love mixing things up, so they often combine coffee with tea in a delightful concoction known as “Yuan Yang”. It’s like a perfect marriage of caffeine and flavour in a single cup!


Me: Why is milk tea so popular?


Rich and Comforting Flavour: The combination of tea and milk creates a harmonious blend of earthy, bold, and creamy flavours. It’s like a warm hug for your taste buds, offering a comforting and soothing taste.

Versatility: Milk tea is incredibly versatile. You can have it hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened, and with a variety of spices, flavours, or tea bases. This adaptability makes it suitable for people with different preferences.

Caffeine Boost: Milk tea provides a gentle caffeine kick without the jitters that sometimes come with coffee. It’s the perfect choice for people who want an energy boost but prefer to avoid the strong stimulation of coffee.

Cultural Significance: Milk tea is an integral part of many cultures, from Indian chai to British tea with milk, from Hong Kong-style milk tea to Thai iced tea. It has deep cultural roots and traditions associated with it, making it a symbol of hospitality and social bonding.

Balance and Creaminess: The addition of milk or cream to tea balances the tannins and bitterness of the tea leaves, creating a smoother, more mellow taste. This creaminess is particularly appealing to many people.

Customisation: One of the fun aspects of milk tea is how customizable it is. You can adjust the level of sweetness, the type of milk (dairy or non-dairy), and add various flavours and spices to tailor it to your taste.

Social Experience: Sharing a cup of milk tea is a social activity in many cultures. Whether it’s gathering for afternoon tea in England or enjoying tea time” in Hong Kong’s cha chaan teng, milk tea often brings people together.

Nostalgia: For many, milk tea carries a sense of nostalgia. It can evoke memories of childhood or special moments shared with loved ones over a cup of tea.

Global Popularity: The global popularity of milk tea, driven by the rise of bubble tea and the fusion of different flavours and ingredients, has introduced this beverage to a broader audience, further increasing its appeal.


Me: Will I die if I drink milk tea every day?


Well, I must say, there’s a good chance you won’t meet your end solely because of your love for milk tea. But if you start swimming in a pool of sweetened milk tea every day, you might eventually develop gills and turn into a rare “Milktea-saurus”.

In all seriousness, it’s all about moderation. Like anything in life, overindulging in milk tea can have consequences, but enjoying it in sensible quantities should be just fine. So, sip on and savour your milk tea adventures, and may you have many more tea-rrific days ahead!



The world’s first cup of milk tea is difficult to determine as milk has been added to tea in many cultures for centuries. Several accounts narrate the origins of the oldest milk tea. One such story traces back to Princess Wencheng of the Tang dynasty, who, in her marriage to King Songtsen Gampo of the Tibetan Empire in 641 AD, introduced tea culture to Tibet

When we talk about Hong Kong milk tea, it refers to silk-stocking milk tea by default, while “Yuan Yang” milk tea, or “Yuen Yeung” in Cantonese, is another type of milk tea with coffee in it. A Hong Kong dai pai dong-style restaurant called Lan Fong Yuen (蘭芳園) claims it invented both Yuan Yang and silk-stocking milk tea in 1952.