What in the World Is Cheese Tea?
By now you’ve probably heard of the latest craze to hit the beverage industry—cheese tea. While it may sound strange, the creamy cheese-topped iced tea has people lining up from China to New York. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the concept originated in Taiwan circa 2010 and used a cheese powder instead of real dairy.
However, it wasn’t until HEYTEA, a tea shop in southern China, started serving cheese tea prepared with real New Zealand cheese and cream in place of powder that the concept really took off. Fast-forward six years and cheese tea is popping up in shops across the U.S. while redefining the term “Instagram-worthy.”
Little Fluffy Head Cafe in Los Angeles was one of the first to serve cheese tea in the U.S. Here, customers can order iced tea—traditionally jasmine, oolong or green—which is then topped with a fluffy cloud of whipped cream cheese. In the video, Jenny Zheng, founder of Little Fluffy Head Cafe, explains how she makes cheese tea.
“In essence, the cheese component of the recipe is a cheesecake batter consisting of cream cheese, sugar, dairy and Himalayan salt that is whipped until aerated, resulting in a light and decadent topping,” says Eric Nakata, VP of culinary development at S&D.
“As a tea enthusiast, I recommend first sipping the cheese tea from a straw to appreciate the flavor of the tea, then incorporating the foam into the drink. To me the transformation of the drink from tea to an indulgent fun version of a tea latte is what makes this drink so enticing,” says Nakata. “Purists will argue that this drink should not be consumed with a straw and instead be imbibed at a 45-degree angle to get a sampling of both tea and cream while leaving the consumer with a fun ‘cheesestache.’”
Whichever way you choose to enjoy cheese tea, there’s no denying the allure of this one-of-a-kind beverage. Want to see how your customers respond to cheese tea? Serve Chef Eric Nakata’s recipe for Blueberry Citrus Cheese Tea as a menu special. Not only is this a great way to gauge how adventurous your customers are, but it also shows you’re on top of the latest trends.