If ‘latte macchiato’ is the warhorse of American-style cafés, now its top position is called into question by a new challenge: cheese tea. It is hot tea with a topping obtained by mixing spreadable cheese with condensed milk to obtain a soft, velvety and tasty foam to be personalized with fruit or spices. It is a special use for fresh cheese, which in the West is instead spread on bread or bagels, used to fill cupcakes or to make cheesecakes. In China and Taiwan, where it first came from New Zealand and then from Europe and the USA, cream cheese is used in a different way. As the Italian dairies association Assolatte points out, it has been added to the traditional diet to give a touch of creaminess and modernity to the national drink, tea, be it matcha, oolong or jasmine.
Cheese tea conquering the USA
In a short time this innovation has conquered consumers, spreading first throughout China and then expanding into the rest of the Far East. So, today cheese tea is usual throughout the Asia-Pacific area and has successfully landed also in the United States, where cream cheese mousse is proposed on very popular and familiar recipes such as cinnamon flavored milk. The success of cheese tea shows how cream cheese allows to give soft and foamy consistencies and to add new flavors to many drinks, including hot ones. It can be added to milk, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, revealing a new trend for the ‘latte art’ which involves millions of bartenders all over the world.
A good moment for cream cheese
The success of cheese tea highlights the absolute modernity of dairy products and shows their versatility – so wide as to be still partly unexplored – to accompany new trends in taste and consumption styles. Waiting for cheese tea to arrive also in Italy, it can be noticed how spreadable cheese continues to live a happy moment; in the year ending in August 2017, sales in the large-scale retail channel increased by 1.1% and rose by 6.3% in discount stores. Having reached 33 million kg in supermarkets, hypermarkets, superstore, free service shops, and superettes, cream cheese represents more than 59% of the fresh and spreadable cheeses’ volumes placed on the shopping cart by Italian consumers.