Is Cheese-Topped Tea The Next Big Thing?

Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
American palates aren't unfamiliar with Asian beverages, but the latest twist on tea may leave even the most seasoned boba drinkers intrigued. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the latest trend at Asian tea houses is cheese-topped tea...and it's heading straight across the Pacific to America's shores.
The trend started in Taiwan's food stalls, but has since spread to China, Singapore, Malaysia, and now, Hong Kong and the U.S.A. One of the biggest names in cheese tea is Heytea, which offers up four different flavors of tea topped with a whipped white cheese topping that makes the resulting beverages look like macchiatos.
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"Tea culture has a long history in China already, but bitterness at the beginning when people drink it is off-putting for some younger people. We wanted to add a new flavor that young people would like," Nie Yunchen, Heytea's CEO, told Condé Nast Traveler. "The rich cheese foam makes the tea taste even better."
So it's not like a slice of Parmesan is floating atop matcha, oolong, or jasmine tea, but it is a savory and salty component to counter the different flavors in the tea itself. Made from cheese powder or actual cheese mixed with dairy products, the whipped cheese foam is thick, similar to whipped cream. It may be off-putting at first, but CNT explains that it's actually akin to sipping on a tea-spiked milkshake.

For all the coffee lovers! COFFEE with SALTED CHEESE 🔥 . . . Picture by: @bubbleztickles

A post shared by Happy Lemon CA (@happylemonca) on

Different people drink the beverages in their own ways. Some forego the straws and sip, so that each and every mouthful has a bit of cheese foam and tea. Others shake the tea and foam together to create a richer, creamier tea. At Heytea, the cheese foam can be customized, too: Customers can mix in fruits like grapefruit or go for a lighter, low-sugar option.
The trend's come to America, with shops in New York, San Francisco, and L.A. whipping up their own versions of cheese-topped tea and coffee. Little Fluffy Head, which opened recently in Downtown L.A., offers up an explainer for its signature beverage, below.
This new topping could be just the thing to bring a new twist to boba drinks everywhere.
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