Tea is everywhere in Hong Kong, but finding quality tea is a little more tricky. Here are a few tips on where and how to buy the perfect brew for you.
Since the origins of tea have their roots in China, it’s no surprise that tea (pronounced cha in Chinese) is sold and consumed on just about every corner in Hong Kong. There are hundreds of tea shops and tea houses offering everything from the world’s most popular and widely consumed tea (Chinese black tea) to half price oolongs and exclusive puerh’s.
The choice of teas can be overwhelming. There are many types of tea, ages, grades ways of preparation, mixes, and infusions. But fear not, Hong Kong is a tea lover’s town and most shop owners will happily talk you through the options and help pick the perfect blend for you.
Here are a few of our favorite tea shops where the staff are friendly, knowledgeable, able to speak English, and happy to help you make an informed decision on what to buy.
MingCha is one of the leading brands of authentic Chinese tea in Hong Kong. Its founder, Vivian Mak, sources the teas herself from plantations in China to ensure the very best quality. The selection of tea is impressive and is mostly loose-leaf Chinese and floral teas. What’s more, they have their own tea house, where their friendly and knowledgeable tea masters will teach you the art of traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
Fook Ming Tong
Whether you’re a tea novice or tea expert, the staff at Fook Ming Tong are very knowledgeable and speak fluent Cantonese, English, and Japanese and will help you pick the perfect blend for you. The selection of tea ages and grades is vast, from gunpowder to Nanyan Ti Guan Yin Crown Grade—costing anything from HK$10 to HK$9,000 per 100g.
The Best Tea House
The selection of tea here is incredible. They have three shops dotted around the city but the main store in Kowloon resembles a cave of tea treasures. Founder Mr. Chan has been running the store for more than 20 years and is an expert in the art of brewing tea and tea storage. Their high grade aged or new puerh cake, oolong tea, white tea, and green tea are most popular with customers.
Ying Kee Tea House
One of Hong Kong’s longest established and most respected tea houses, Ying Kee has over a dozen shops in Hong Kong offering a wide selection of Chinese tea leaves including puerh tea, oolong tea, fragrant tea, green tea, white tea, old luk on tea, and black tea, as well as teaware and gift sets.
Ying Kee Tea House, 151 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2544 3811
It’s essential to try before you buy. Fortunately, there are several tea tasting houses in Hong Kong. Among the best is LockCha Tea House. Here you can choose from a selection of over 100 premium teas. They allow you to order up to five loose teas per person in a sitting—which allows you to really compare and contrast the various options. They also offer their own tea tasting program. Write down your favorite, or ask for it written down in Chinese, which you can keep for future reference.
The price scale is as vast as there are varieties of tea. At a Hong Kong tea shop, on average, you will end up paying a minimum of HK$100 for an ounce or two. You may be able to find a package for as little as HKD$10, but don’t expect it to be a quality tea. At the other end of the scale, some premium aged puerh teas can cost in excess of HKD$100,000. Tea is big business in Hong Kong.