With the summer heatwave hitting us hard, there’s nothing quite like an ice-cold drink to quench your thirst. But before you pick up a can of soda from the fridge, or pay for that overpriced bottle of cold-pressed juice, how about some tea for thought? Specifically, cold-brew tea, that is. Hailing all the way from Taiwan and Japan, not to mention a few homegrown local brands, here are some of the best cold-brew teas you need to try to cool off this summer.
The self-proclaimed pioneer of the delicious and wildly-popular cheese-capped tea trend, HeyTea, offers a wide range of fruit-infused teas topped with a rich, sweet-and-savoury foam cheese. Since it first gained attention on Instagram in the Mainland, HeyTea has quickly spread its way around Hong Kong with seven different locations around the city. Not sure if your palette is ready for cheese mixed with tea? HeyTea also has other sweet treats available such as egg waffle sundaes and bubble tea ice cream—yum!
Cha Long, literally translating to “tea wolf” in Cantonese, uses innovative brewing techniques and only the best tea leaves from Asia. The shop is known for its handcrafted artisanal tea blends, along with its fruit tea that comes in eight refreshing flavours for you to choose from. If you’re not a fan of fruits and cheeses in your tea, Cha Long also has a range of grab-and-go Pure Cha that gives tea lovers the option to just enjoy a simple bottle of cold-brew tea, without any of the fancy-schmancy stuff.
Read more! Check out our guide on everything you need to know about Chinese herbal teas.
Photo courtesy of OpenRice / 天天食好野
With over 2,000 stores around the world and 60 years of history, TenRen is one of Hong Kong’s most well-known cold-brew tea destinations. With a wide variety of tea-based beverages for you to choose from, tea-sippers can indulge in everything, from the ever-popular Grapefruit Green Tea to the 913 King’s Oolong Tea with Winter Melon, a modern take on a traditional tea with healing properties. Afterwards, treat your sweet tooth to a cone of TenRen’s tea-infused Tieh Kuan Yin Soft Ice Cream!
Our list simply would not be complete without mentioning the OG of all cold-brew teas in Hong Kong—Gong Cha. We’re sure most of you are pretty familiar with the brand, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade (which is no excuse, because Gong Cha has been around since 2006), this Taiwanese tea mega-chain has a huge menu of signature teas. These include Milk Foam Oolong Tea and Lemon Winter Melon Tea, healthy options like the Brown Sugar Ginger Tea, and creative blends featuring crowd-favourites such as the Passion Fruit Green Tea and Strawberry Black Tea. With every order, customers also have the choice to add on a few extra toppings to their teas too—tapioca pearls, aloe jellies, red beans, cornflakes—they’ve got it all!
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If you’re anything like us and prefer the simpler and more refined things in life, then you ought to give Moonlight Tea a try. Using premium tea leaves sourced from quality-guaranteed, ethically- and environmentally-responsible tea gardens, the team at Moonlight Tea puts care and dedication into every bottle of cold-brew tea they produce. Currently, there are only three types of cold-brew on offer—Darjeeling First Flush, Imperial Earl Grey, and Oriental Beauty—which can be found at Common Ground and Interval Coffee Bar in Central. For those who are curious to try making their own brews at home, you can also purchase your own tea bags from their online shop.
Chun Fun How
Fruit-infused teas and cheese-capped drinks are great and all, though one can’t help but worry about the large amount of sugar that goes into making these sweet concoctions. Enter Chun Fun How. Using only locally-sourced, raw ingredients, along with aromatic tea leaves, Chun Fun How does not use any additives to enhance the flavour of its drinks in order to preserve each and every ingredient’s most natural taste. Apart from its completely guilt-free teas, the shop is also known for its beautiful packaging and traditional floral designs on each cup. So if you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your everyday tea-sipping experience, then this is the place to be.
Chun Fun How, G/F, Lap Fai Building, 6 Pottinger Street, Central | (+852) 3168 1683
Charles Tea Bar
At Charles Tea Bar, customers can treat their tastebuds to a wide variety of refreshing Taiwanese teas. We’re talking fresh fruit teas, milk teas, salted milk foam-cap teas, agar jelly teas, medicinal healthy teas, and of course, cold-brew teas. All cold-brews come in a bottle, allowing tea lovers to choose from a selection of floral and sweetened teas to enjoy on-the-go. Feel free to jazz up your drink by adding in some sweet potato and taro pearls, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing it with some (delicious?) dried bean curd bits. While you’re at it, don’t forget to add a side order of its popular grilled mochi dressed in your choice of either a mocha sauce, brown sugar, condensed milk, or chocolate sauce.