Understanding the Chinese Tea Culture in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is on China’s southern coast and was under British rule until 1997. And although Hong Kong is one of the few parts of China that doesn’t boast of local, indigenous tea, you’ll find numerous tea houses and varieties there. This explains why the Hong Kong tea culture provides a unique blend of the British and Chinese tea cultures.

This article looks at the rich Chinese tea culture in Hong Kong, the variety of teas available, and their health benefits.

An Introduction to Chinese Tea Culture

In China, tea is a part of everyday life. It is enjoyed throughout the day, i.e., morning, afternoon, and alongside dinner. Tea drinking is a huge part of Chinese culture and history; there are numerous writings about tea by famous people of the past Chinese dynasties. A great example is Cha Jing (The Tea Bible), written by Lu Yu, a Tang Dynasty scholar who claimed that the best water to brew tea originates from clear mountain springs.

While this revelation may not be the reality in modern Hong Kong, tea enthusiasts can still relive this ancient practice by visiting mountain teahouses in Hong Kong. Here, the tea is brewed from a mountain spring, and guests are encouraged to drink it slowly to savor it.

Pouring tea for an elder is a sign of respect in Hong Kong. In traditional ceremonies, the bride and groom would kneel before the parents and serve them tea. After sipping the tea, the parents would then offer the couple a red envelope as a token of good luck. The newly married couple would also serve tea to other family members. Drinking it meant the bride and groom were accepted into the family, while refusal to sip suggested opposition to the marriage.

Chinese Tea Varieties and Their Benefits

Hong Kong is a haven for tea enthusiasts as it’s full of teahouses. These establishments aren’t just places to sit and drink tea but the perfect ambiance to enjoy China’s rich tea culture. Regular patrons visit the teahouses to enjoy tea with friends, family, and even alone. Below are some of the popular tea varieties you are likely to find.

Green Tea

Green tea is the oldest and most famous tea variety in China. Although the tea is now associated with other Asian cultures, it originally hails from China in 2373 B.C. The leaves and buds used in green tea don’t go through the same withering and oxidation process as black and oolong teas. Instead, they undergo a short fermentation process to load the resulting tea with antioxidants and other powerful body nutrients.


  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves brain function
  • Reduces bad breath

Black Tea

Chinese black tea, commonly referred to by the English as red tea, is the second-largest tea variety in the country. Black tea is made through a similar oxidation process to most tea varieties, i.e., new shoots of tea leaves are picked, wilted, rolled, fermented, and dried. The main difference is that the process takes longer, resulting in a beautiful deep red hue with subtle aromas.


  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves heart health
  • Lowers blood sugar

Oolong Tea

Another popular, traditional Chinese tea is oolong, also known as blue tea. It comes from the same plant to make green and black teas but undergoes partial oxidation, making it fall somewhere between the two tea varieties. The taste is similar to green and black tea as it offers some bitterness with a sweet aftertaste.


  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps reduce inflammation
  • Improves brain function

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea results from green tea not drying properly after the leaves have been processed. The distinctive yellow color is caused by fermentation as the tea is neither wilted nor oxidized. Although this tea was initially regarded as bad green tea, people have grown to enjoy the unique flavor. Surprisingly, yellow tea is difficult to make and even takes years to master, making it a rare commodity.


  • Maintains liver health
  • Aids digestion
  • Lowers signs of aging

Post-Fermented Teas

These are the darker tea varieties made from freshly-picked tea leaves exposed to humidity and oxygen for a prolonged period (longer than black tea). A great example is Pu’er tea, whose fermentation period ranges from 1 to 20 years. It comes from Yunnan Province in China and has a rich history that’s over 2000 years old. Pu’er tea is typically sold in compressed “cakes” of tea leaves and also as loose tea.


  • Promotes weight loss
  • Boosts liver health
  • Lowers cholesterol levels

Enjoy Your Tea!

There are uncountable teahouses in Hong Kong today, which you can visit to savor the different tea varieties available. You can even find several tea shops online selling numerous blends and infusions to tickle your taste buds.

Unfortunately, many online tea shops in Hong Kong don’t ship worldwide. Some sites may even block you from accessing their websites, and this is where a reliable Hong Kong proxy comes in handy. This way, you can buy numerous wellness tea bags, tea wares, and other accessories related to the rich Chinese tea culture, no matter where you are!


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