Best Hot Beverages In The Sky

While most premium cabin travelers are concerned with the type of wine served in first class, I’m all about hot beverages. Or more accurately I’m all about hot beverages and cold beverages that are traditionally served hot (such as any iced coffee or tea).

So I figured I’d share the five best hot beverages I’ve had in the sky. Of course everyone’s tastes differ, and these are just my “two cents” — in the comments section I’d love to hear what your favorite onboard hot beverages are.

Here are my top five, from fifth favorite to absolute favorite:

5. Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong Style Milk Tea

While it’s super simple and actually made with powder onboard, Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong Style Milk Tea is pretty good. If you’re in first class on a flight out of Hong Kong, be sure to order a couple of egg tarts off the snack menu to accompany it.


4. Malaysia Airlines’ Teh Tarik

Teh tarik (literally translated “pulled tea”) is a pretty tasty milk tea made by repeatedly pouring the tea back and forth between cups. Here’s a video of the process (though I’m guessing the Malaysia Airlines crews making them don’t have quite the skills this guy does):

Malaysia Airlines serves it in first and business class on their longhaul flights.


3. British Airways’ Afternoon Tea

While the tea itself isn’t anything special, I do think British Airways deserves an honorable mention for their afternoon tea service. Because let’s be honest, any tea tastes better when served with scones, jam, clotted cream, and other sweets. 😉


2. EVA Air’s Cappuccino

While the other four beverages on the list are sort of “signature” drinks to their respective airlines, I was shocked by how good EVA Air’s cappuccino was on some recent flights. I totally wasn’t expecting it, but the cappuccino I was served by them was literally the best I’ve ever had, be it on the ground or in the air. On my recent flight from Taipei to Los Angeles I had six of them… no wonder I couldn’t sleep despite the comfortable fully flat bed!


1. Austrian’s Extensive Coffee Menu

Not surprisingly, the number one spot goes to Austrian. In their longhaul business class they have a dedicated coffee menu with over a dozen coffee creations. It’s tough to beat an Eiskaffee at 38,000 feet.



So, those are my five favorite hot drinks in the sky — does anyone have any favorites that I missed?

Filed Under: Travel
  1. South African serves a good rooibos, as well as some other decent teas, in business class.

    The Virgin Atlantic Upper Class tea service is also pretty great.

  2. You might not think BA’s tea is anything special, but as a Brit in NY I have to say that there’s something incredibly wonderful about getting on a BA plane and having a cup of tea made properly, rather than a bag of Lipton muck in lukewarm water heated to American coffee temperatures.

    Oh, and EVA’s matcha is pretty great. To be honest, the Air China bog-standard jasmine tea in Y isn’t half bad either!

  3. I’ve always been a bit partial to the hot consomme served on Japan Airlines for some reason.

    Also, CX serves a phenominal jasmine tea in F.

  4. I would love to buy the Hong Kong style milk tea in the US.
    Do you or any of your readers know the brand they (CX) serve?

    (lots of recipes online, but am sure I will end up making a mess).

    Amazon sells one made by “Dai Pai Dong” and there is a Lipton MT listed on Ebay for sale also.

  5. I’m not a tea or coffee fan, any tips for who has the best hot chocolate? Most are pretty poor powder with hot water jobs!

  6. @ Alan — Haven’t come across any good hot chocolate on a plane, though hopefully a reader can chime in!

  7. @ Jorge — Hopefully someone can chime in, as I’m not sure which one they use (though I’ll ask on my next flight). That being said, It end to think you can get Hong Kong Style Milk Tea that’s just as good just about anywhere on the ground.

  8. CX has really good jasmine tea. Nothing beats getting on a CX LHR-HKG flight in the winter and having a nice hot cup of “Chinese tea”.

  9. I like the teas that SQ serves. My mom’s a huge Earl Grey drinker and she was raving about SQ’s. They use TWG, at least in F, and I enjoyed it too. Can be bought even in the US but pretty expensive.

  10. i understand Lucky lives in Seattle, for him to say BR has the best cappuccino “on the ground or in the air” is impressive, i look forward to try it on my Sept trip from tpe-sfo from burning UA miles.

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