Header image courtesy of BASAO (via Facebook)
Originally published by Jenny Leung. Last updated by Annette Chan and Celia Lee.
During the seven-plus months of Hong Kong heat, 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? Ice-cold tea, that is. Hailing all the way from Taiwan and Japan—not to mention a few home-grown local brands!—here are some of the best iced and cold-brew teas you need to try.
Tucked away in a corner inside The One in Tsim Sha Tsui is Tea Brush, a quaint shop selling creamy gelato, fluffy cakes, and delicious hand-shaken teas. A wide selection is available on the menu, including milk tops, bubble teas, and iced delights crafted in local flavours such as black sesame and tofu. Try out the pomelo tea with dried lemon for a light and refreshing summer drink, whilst the silky hojicha series offers the aromatic roasted tea with mochi milk, chocolate frappe, and chocolate milk. Milk alternatives are available upon request and the list of options are located at the bottom of the menu.
Tea Brush, Shop L411, 4/F, The One, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Although not yet as popular as some tea shops on this list, Loud Tea is steadily making its mark. Offering a wide selection of cold-brews, bubble teas, and fruit teas, tea lovers are certainly spoiled for choice at Loud. If this is your first cup from the store, sample your way through the menu by starting with the recommended drinks: the Four Seasons of Spring watermelon smoothie with milk foam is a refreshing choice for summer whilst the assorted fruits offers a subtle sweetness and an abundance of fruits in a neat cup.
Loud Tea, locations across Hong Kong
Opened in late 2022, Silk has been gaining a steady following for its hand-shaken teas. Although known for its silky smooth bubble milks with chewy tapioca balls, Silk’s fruit teas are not to be missed. The signature Silky StarBurst uses Four Seasons Spring Sijichun tea leaves as its base, topped with refreshing fragrances of apple, orange, grapefruit, and passion fruit—the ultimate blend for hot days. Other cold brew options include the Silky Grapefruit Crystal, Silky Aiyu oolong, and Simple Green jasmine, amongst others.
Silk, locations across Hong Kong
Hailing from Thailand, ChaTraMue offers city dwellers in Hong Kong authentic sips of delicious tea from the country. Tea leaves used in ChaTraMue’s brews are selected by experts to create a unique blend together with traditional Thai ingredients. Highlights on the menu include plum red tea, and o’lieng tea, and, of course, Thai iced tea. A vegan series is also available with oat milk alternatives for those with dietary restrictions.
Comebuytea is another popular option for iced drinks and cold brews as summer approaches. Known for its impressive display of tea leaf dispensers, Comebuytea has a selection of no-fuss options for those craving something simple and refreshing in the summer heat. Currently the lemon guava oolong tea with konjac jelly is a popular choice, while its hibiscus and osmanthus selections have been crowd favourites all year round.
Similar to many of the best third-wave cafés, Basao specialises in single-origin drinks—though they are of the leafy, rather than bean-based, variety. Besides pots of freshly brewed tea, Basao also offers bottled cold-brew tea (made from sustainably farmed leaves from artisan growers in China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal). If you want to experience cold-brew with the creamy and foamy texture of beer, try Basao’s nitro cold brew, which comes plain or infused with seasonal fresh fruit. Keep sipping at home—or gift a unique present to the tea-lover in your life—with Basao’s home cold-brew kit.
For all the fizziness and fanciness of champagne without the post-drink headache or the hefty price tag, try the sparkling cold-brew teas from London’s Saicho Drinks. These booze-free bubbles come in three delicious flavours—hojicha, jasmine, and Darjeeling—and can be found at a growing number of restaurants and hotels around town, while shoppers can pick up a bottle or case at various HK Liquor Store locations across the city.
Tea and dim sum are made to be enjoyed together—after all, yum cha means to drink tea! Put a twist on your typical Sunday dim sum at LockCha’s flagship in Tai Kwun, where you can enjoy a sit-down teahouse experience, sip on a delicious cold-brew tea, and buy all the kit required to make it at home in one go. As a Chinese tea specialist, LockCha offers a number of teas as cold-brews, such as phoenix oolong, organic misty cloud tea, Anhui yellow tea, Jasmine green tea, and honey red tea.
The bottle that your tea comes in is designed to be kept and reused, and its handy teabag clip under the lid makes it super easy to make your own cold-brew at home—just grab a pack of the refill cold-brew teabags from LockCha, fill the bottle with cold water, and flip it over to steep for one to eight hours. After it’s done, you can flip the bottle back up and the clip will keep the bag out of the liquid, preventing your tea from becoming overly bitter.
LockCha Teahouse, Shops 01–G07, Headquarters Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2276 5777
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 the most natural taste of the ingredients.
Apart from its completely guilt-free brews such as winter melon oolong tea and grapefruit four seasons tea, 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
As 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 different locations around the city. Not sure if your palate 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!
HeyTea, locations in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui
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. Its menu includes 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 have it all.