Under ordinary circumstances, tea is not usually the substance that comes to mind when the words divine decadence are bandied about. In fact, unlike coffee or chocolate, tea is rarely ever considered a sensual indulgence. Far from it, as a matter of fact: tea is usually the drink of choice of ascetics, highly disciplined Oriental martial artists, and puritanical aristocrats.
However, when your local milk tea shop offers a laissez les bon temps rouler attitude towards what you want added to your tea, you sometimes have to pull out all the stops and let your imagination play – or, more appropriately, wreak havoc and run riot – with that most chaste of beverages.
Gong Cha‘s menu has an Earl Gray-based milk tea drink that elevates that citrusy tea to new heights. The addition of milk tempers the slightly tart and strongly orangey taste of the tea, making it akin to a freshly made confiture au lait avec orange only a lot less sugary: smooth, creamy, soothing. Sometimes, however, you don’t want your tea to be soothing and, instead, you want it to be sensual, sexy – something Marie Antoinette, that divine doyenne of decadence, would not mind serving as a refreshment for one of her infamous masked balls.
If one is so inclined, you can ask the staff at the counter to add an extra layer of Gong Cha milk cream – that divinely creamy custard that’s a cross between mousse and a liquefied cheesecake – to float on top of one’s Earl Gray milk tea. And, instead of chewy tapioca pearls or any form of wobbly jelly, soft, custardy slices of egg pudding get to sink to the bottom of your drink. The end result: an exquisite creamy bev, much like a liquefied cheesecake flavored with fragrant bergamot; an indulgence worthy of the wildest queens of yore.
You also have the option of topping your drink with ice cream, but really: even sensualists have to draw the line somewhere, so you’re better off without it.