Hong Kong is known for its eclectic mix of an East-meets-West tea scene. Rather then being a destination for buying tea, the city has been mostly associated with its British-influenced high-tea at the top-notch historic hotels like The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, the Hong Kong style sweet milk tea sold casually on the streets or the ‘yum cha‘ cafeterias where Chinese tea is served with dim-sum dumplings.
But, as the Chinese moment is now once again dawning upon Hong Kong, aside the fancy afternoon tea lounging at the hotels, numerous new tea venues – authentic or modern – popped up in this ultra-dense metropolis. I will save you plenty of searching time, so you can head straight to enjoying a more authentic cup at one of its best tea rooms and shops I feature here in my rigorously researched and tried Hong Kong tea guide. From tea tasting, tea & cookie pairing to serious tea shopping, these are my favorite destinations for anything tea in Hong Kong.
I had been traveling to this skyscraper-dotted Asian giant regularly for almost 10 years and over time I refined my selections for the best tea spots in town. Since my website is directed at English speakers, I selected businesses with an English speaking staff, which is sadly for us, currently giving way to more Mandarin-only communicating citizens across Hong Kong. My selections are based on diverse experiences so everyone finds something, that suits his/her tastes or needs the most.
Owned by a tea loving and youthful Cindy Ng, Teavers was envisioned as a place to clear up one’s thoughts and a get-away from the stress of the Hong Kong island. Her focus is more on exotic house-made blends and an excellent selection of oolongs (perhaps because her favorite tea is Oriental Beauty). You can enjoy the tea either hot or iced, when the latter is popular particularly with her signature creations such as Cranberry Currant oolong or Pineapple Phoenix oolong. Of course, you can also savor a pure tea without any fancy flavoring.
She makes drinking tea fun, letting you select your brew from a sampling tray on your table or having a tea tasting session on the high bar where you can wonder at the burbling water in glass pots as the tea is being made.
Featured daily creations entice returning customers as there is always something new to try. Teavers is one of the most modern tea rooms in Hong Kong. Natural and pure lines, wood and cosy upholstered chairs designed for your comfort, so you can sink in for a couple of hours if you fancy.
During the week the tea room is an oasis of calm, ideal for mind grazing, daydreaming or reading over a pot of tea. The weekends get much more crowded as the local residents as well as by work non-constricted tea lovers traveling from other locations hum inside creating a more social environment.
Teavers’ teas are the in-room amenity at the legendary Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong, and that certainly marks their merit attracting more customers.
Their teas are served with matching superb cookies from the nearby Joey’s cookies, my favorite on the island. Sencha cookie with green tea, Earl Grey with black, while oolong buttons fit the semi-fermented teas. Hand-made in small batches from the best ingredients (even the butter is imported from France), the sweets are worth sinning with sugar and butter since nothing artificial was added inside.
Do not be discouraged by its not-so-central location as it is worth finding tucked away inside a newly built retail and residential waterfront area in Lei King Wan.
Address: Shop GB22, GF, Site B, 45 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2350 3828
Opening Time: Closed on Mon; Tue-Fri: 10am-7pm; Sat-Sun 12noon-8pm
“Lock” (樂) means happiness, enjoyment, fortune; and “cha” is tea. The company’s direct relationships with tea farmers in China, sustainable and fair-trade practices, and foremost the decades spanning knowledge of its founder, guarantee your experience with their teas being a joyful affair with a premium quality chinese tea.
A personal supervision of the quality by its founder, Mr. Ip Wing-chi, a founding Chairman of Hong Kong Tea Association, who established Lock Cha in 1991, sets high ladder for his competitors.
The house offers a wide variety of Chinese tea, particularly the highly sought after pu-er cakes for drinking or collecting (mostly they increase in value when aged properly), alongside Lock Cha’s own designed earthenware and Chinese ceramics (Yixing-zisha teapots, Jingdezhen porcelain, Swatow porcelain and earthen wares), that are sold by a knowledgeable staff.
LockCha has two locations in Hong Kong. While the most visited is their tea house and restaurant (yum cha) in a gallery inside the Hong Kong Tea Wares Museum in Admiralty, I prefer the less crowded and much smaller space in Sheung Wan that is also the main shop.
If you like some tea, you can try it during a Gong cha tea tasting session conducted by an in-house specialist when the shop is not very busy.
There are two weekly music concerts (on weekends) at the tea house as well as frequent tea classes at both locations making it a full-rounded experience. You can call for current schedule and fees.
Address: 290B Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tea house: The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2805 1360; Tea house: +(852) 2801-7177
Opening Time: daily 11:00 am – 7 pm
Tea house: weekdays 10:00 am – 8 pm; weekends 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. Closed every second Tuesday of the month.
Fook Ming Tong
If you like your tea nicely packaged in a stylish tin or intend to purchase a particularly fine chinese porcelain Fook Ming Tong is the right place for you. It is also the highest end tea shop in the city.
Its strengths are oolongs, particularly various grades of Anxi Tie Guan Yin since the tea masters process them directly on the farm by employing traditional technique using charcoal. This green tea has characteristic reddish edges on its leafs. Their facility located in the Songyan village, Xiping, Anxi, is at the heart of Tie Guan Yin region guaranteeing an absolute control over their product.
A top grade green long jing as well as jasmine teas such as Jasmine Silver Needle, Jasmine Dragon Pearl, Jasmine Mao Feng and Jasmine Silver Fur are also the prides of Fook Ming Tong. Other chinese teas including a wide selection of aged pu-er pressed into cakes or bricks are also on the shelves. Tasting of some teas is possible at a specially dedicated table fitted with chairs.
Although most of its current locations are inside very fancy malls, the company has over 20 years heritage and guarantees top quality for a fair price. There are many Fook Ming Tong tea shops in China as well as a couple of Hong Kong branches, two inside the airport terminals 1 and 2, so if you forgot to buy tea in the wild paced city centre or need a gift, you can still fix it at the last-minute before your departure.
Address: Shop 3006, Podium Level 3, IFC mall, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2295 0368
Opening Time: Mon-Sat: 10:30am-8pm; Sun & Public holidays: 11am-8pm
DK Cuppa Tea
Do you seek “Deep Harmony”, “Soothing Love” or just need a “Pure Awakening”? Then head to DK Cuppa Tea Café set in the midst of the trendy meets hectic Soho district in the hills of the Hong Kong island.
Although DK is primarily an aromatherapy consultancy, spa and natural remedies store, the company recently also opened a cafè offering organic herbal Ayurvedic blends at the cosy back corner right bellow the steps leading to the treatment rooms. Now, this is truly holistic.
You can snuggle up on a fluffy carpet or sit in a proper chair, unwind, recharge or pamper your body with their herbal and fruit infusions certified organic in the US. My cup of fruit & herbal Ayurvedic infusion titled “Sweet Paris” (I was homesick and needed a fix) was a sweet blend of raspberry, blueberry and elderberry for an antioxidant boost; vanilla rooibos remineralizing my body and bolstering immunity, calming lavender, and topping it up was a complexion-soothing rose. My Crown Chakra was energized as it allegedly “gives one a sense of connection to others and oneself” and it surely brought me even closer to my husband with whom I shared the experience.
If you crave something sweet or a light lunch, the café serves house-made organic food and aromatic desserts such as curiously looking (flabby panacotta shapes) low-fat yogurt cheesecakes in rose, lavender, lemongrass & bergamot flavors. More, their low-fat organic high tea set or a “Guilt-free Dark Chocolate Truffle Fondue set” made from 70% soy-free, vegan dark chocolate mixed with Italian truffles, will free your guilty mind from the distressing high calorie counting, while enjoying these sweet treats.
DK even creates their own infused sugars with bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, peppermint or rose flavors. Not anymore a guilt-free affair, but worth the splurge for those who do not resist. (I must admit that I prefer all my teas unsweetened as only then the tea’s true fragrances come out).
Address: 16A Staunton Street, SOHO, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2771 2847
Opening Time: Daily 11am-10pm
Ippindou is a great shop to buy high quality japanese artisan ceramics and tea accessories like the precious cherry wood tea caddies or handy bamboo whisks to whip up a bowl of frothy matcha. Now, you do not need to travel to Japan if your only stop is Hong Kong.
Despite being mainly a ceramics and silverware business, Ippindou also sells its own Japanese green teas. Sencha, matcha and top-quality gyokuro are also available for tasting before you buy.
Located on the popular second level inside the Prince’s Building in Central, it is easy to get to, unless you get pulled into too many of the other intriguing design and antique shops on the same floor. It would be a shame though, because Ippindou is one of the most interesting retailers in the building (at least for me).
Here you can admire the perfectly crafted Tokoname teapots, that are highly prized in Japan, as well as tea ware from artists based in and around Kyoto, the birthplace of the Japanese tea culture. More seductive temptations like the high quality Japanese silverware for tea and sake are in store. Their alluring shine of novelty pulls your eyes in. It wouldn’t be a Japanese tea shop if it did not offer some distinctive matcha bowls. It won’t be easy to choose from all the varied colors – from earthy, nature evoking, to bright modern shades. So, flex your wrists for a meditative session of your own chanoyu (the japanese tea ceremony).
The Ippindou staff will wrap up your gifts beautifully, making them an ideal gift or safe to ship overseas. A wooden box for top quality rare artisan tea ceramics and colorful paper boxes for the rest. Each pot also comes with a detailed artist history for you to appreciate the craftsmanship even more.
Address: Shop 226, Prince’s Building, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2971 0080
Opening Time: Daily 10am – 7:30pm
All of my suggestions are based on the Hong Kong island and easily accessible either by metro, the world’s longest mid-levels escalator and a short walk. Some are ideal hideaways from the daunting crowds of the island, while others combine an accent on wellbeing with tea. The rest offer intriguing house blends or top quality teas from China, Taiwan, India and Japan. I hope you will find your own preferred tea heaven in Hong Kong, and if there is anything I missed out, do not hesitate to add your suggestion in the comments section.