Winter melon milk tea: recipe and fun facts

by Mama Loves A Drink

Winter melon milk tea is a fruit-based beverage made with winter melon, milk and sugar.

It is a milky variation of a traditional Chinese drink, winter melon tea, also known as white gourd drink, ash gourd juice or winter melon punch, and it gained popularity after the success of Boba tea, a milky tea from Taiwan.

Winter melon milk tea has a delicate taste, it is caffeine- free and it can be served hot or cold.

This is a versatile tea drink you can make at home using fresh winter melon or syrup. This is all you need to know about winter melon milk tea and out favorite recipe to make it at home.

Winter melon milk tea recipe: pin this for later!

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What is winter melon milk tea?

Winter melon milk tea is a milky tea beverage made by adding milk to Chinese winter melon tea.

Winter melon is an Asian fruit commonly use as a vegetable in Chinese cuisine. Its Latin name is Benincasa hispida, and in English it is often referred to as wax gourd or ash pumpkin.

Winter melon has a mild, gentle taste and it is often used to make a light fruit tea.

The milky version of this tea has had a surge in popularity after the success of bubble tea among westerners, who associate it with another Asian milk tea, Boba tea.

However, winter melon tea has little in common with its Taiwanese counterpart.

While both teas are made with milk and, sometimes, chewy tapioca balls, Boba tea is made with tea leaves while winter melon tea is not.

Rather, winter melon tea is made by cooking a fresh winter melon in a mixture of water and sugar.

Where is winter melon tea from?

Winter melon tea is originally from South East Asia, where it would be traditionally served without milk.

In its original form, you make winter melon tea by boiling the winter melon in water and sugar for several hours and then drink as a refreshing and healthy tea.

Traditional Chinese medicine considers winter melon tea as a longevity drink and tends to recommend it to reinstate stomach and bowel balance.

The current version with milk has taken inspiration from this Chinese drink and has developed a faster recipe that delivers a taste more familiar to western palates, bringing this tea to the world stage.

Where can I get winter melon?

You can get fresh winter melon in Asian grocery stores or online. You can opt for seeds or grown melons, if you want to make tea from scratch, or you can opt for a winter melon syrup or ready made tea bags.

How to make winter melon milk tea: recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1500g winter melon
  • 250g granulated brown sugar
  • 50g rock sugar
  • Water
  • Ice cubes (optional)
  • Tapioca pearls (optional, if serving as a bubble tea)

Process:

Wash the winter melon carefully and then remove the skin with the help of a sharp knife.

Chop it into small cubes and place them in a large heat resistant pot. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of it, cover with cling film and leave it to macerate for about 1 hour.

After this time, you will see a small amount of watermelon water at the bottom of the pot, which is what you were aiming for!

Now, place the whole pot on the hobs and bring it gently to a boil.

Add the rock sugar, water melon seeds and skin (optional) and leave to simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours, paying attention not to make the liquid to evaporate.

Once this time has gone, remove from the heat and use a strainer to collect the juice in a pretty bottle: with the aid of a fork or masher, mask the winter melon cubes so that you get as much juice off them as possible. Discard the rest.

If you are using tapioca ball, pour water in a second container and bring it to the boil.

Add the tapioca balls and let them cook until soft, then take off the heat and set aside.

Now you are ready to assemble your winter melon milk tea!

Pour into individual glasses, then add a handful of tapioca balls and a dash of milk. If you want to serve it chilled, leave it to cool naturally, then put it in the fridge and add ice cubes just before serving.

If you love Asian milk teas, also check our recipes for Hokkaido Milk Tea and Okinawa Milk Tea.

Winter melon milk tea recipe

winter melon milk tea

Winter melon milk tea is a delicious milk tea from Asia with a delicate taste. Perfect as a summer drink to enjoy on your own or with friends: add tapioca balls for an extra touch!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Medium size winter melon (about 1,5 Kg)
  • 250 g granulated brown sugar
  • 50 g rock sugar
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Dash of milk (to taste)
  • Tapioca balls (optional)

Instructions

Wash the winter melon carefully and then remove the skin with the help of a sharp knife.

Chop it into small cubes and place them in a large heat resistant pot. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of it, cover with cling film and leave it to macerate for about 1 hour.

After this time, you will see a small amount of watermelon water at the bottom of the pot, which is what you were aiming for!

Now, place the whole pot on the hobs and bring it gently to a boil.

Add the rock sugar, water melon seeds and skin (optional) and leave to simmer for about 1.5 - 2 hours, paying attention not to make the liquid to evaporate.

If you are using tapioca ball, also bring to the boil a second container of water and bring that to the boil.

Add the tapioca balls and let them cook until soft, then take off the heat and set aside.

Once the winter melon is ready, remove from the heat and use a strainer to collect the juice in a pretty bottle: with the aid of a fork or masher, mask the wintermelon cubes so that you get as much juice off them as possible. Discard the rest.

When ready to serve, add milk or creamer, ice and tapioca balls (if using) and fresh leaves as a decoration.

Want to discover more about teas? From medicinal favourites for mamas to those perfect gifts for the tea-lover you’ll find all our favourite tea topics over here.

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