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Tea Time: 8 loose leaves just in time for Chinese New Year tea traditions

The tea leaves you choose can either promote health benefits or a dearer lai see packet. What are you waiting for? Go put the kettle on.

Hong Kong knows how to appreciate a good cup of tea — there are generations-long tea houses across the city just to prove it. And in many homes, a complete tea station fitted with all kinds of special bits and bobs — clay teapots and fine bone China cups — that all add towards a fantastic sip. At the centre of it all, the most crucial part of the time-honoured practice: tea leaves.

Different blends serve different purposes — in Chinese culture, at least. Some are savoured purely for rare and rich, palatable profiles; other for health purposes: Pu’er is said to help eliminate hard-to-digest fats so are a choice brew for oily dim sum lunches, while Oolong is said to reduce risk of heart disease. But like the brews itself, tea traditions in Chinese culture are just as important, too; markers of milestones and big celebrations like weddings and Chinese New Year.

When it comes tea traditions during Chinese New Year, the central practice is the usual: the youngest of the family serves the oldest. During the holiday, this is typically done on the morning first day of the of lunar calendar. The tea should be presented while standing with a slight bow and cup and saucer snug between two hands. Don’t forget to bring along a good selection of loose leaves, too. Get that right and hopefully you’ll receive good blessings for the rest of the year.

Where to get the best loose leaf teas in Hong Kong

Tea WG

Singapore-based brand Tea WG is reputed for its luxury leaves that vary across 800 exclusive tea blends and single estate harvests, which also means tea leaves which are sourced from the same tea plantation. With a wealth of choice for every occasion — from a special Breakfast King Tea to be paired with the New Year special King’s Cake to another made especially for last Christmas season, Night of Noel — you can be sure that the brand has one for the Year of the Tiger. Tiger Hill Tea, with symbols of strength, bravery and beauty, is a black tea brew blended with Darjeeling first flush teas sourced from the Himalayan mountains, with notes of cocoa, sweet vanilla bean and fruit. A sip for a strong start to the new lunar year, as the brand intends.

Tea WG, various locations including, Shop 1022-3, Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2796 2828

Boon Tea

Boon Tea’s extensive menu of loose leaf teas are traditional styles that are known and loved across generations alike. Steeped in elegance, from the packaging to selection of delicate tea wares, the tea leaves are a similar high-quality blend sourced in small in small batches directly from local farms and produces who are expert into picking, choosing, and nurturing new varietals. Meaning the brews here are rich in flavour and smooth in texture. Boon Tea currently offers five types of teas: White, Green, Oolong, Black and Dark.

Follow Boon Tea here.

Wilden Herbals

These may not be your traditional Chinese loose tea leaves, but WIlden Herbals’ range is a selection that encourages the same goal: to soothe and remedy. The tea blends, made with certified organic medicinal plants, are curated for “functional” tea experience that guide you through the day. Ranging from brews that are especially designed for Morning and Night, these also blends that work between the day: Boost, a ginger-based blend for antioxidant and immunostimulating; Digestive, a peppermint-based blend for revitalising digestive systems; tumeric-based Hangover; verbana-based Focus, floral-based Relax and a herbal-blend to Detox. Enjoy Wilden Herbals’ pretty packaged tea either warm or cold to brighten up traditional tea practices, and hopefully tea habits too.

Shop Wilden Herbals here.

Peerie Tea

Peerie Tea is not just about the leaves. The farm-to-cup brews also shine a spotlight on the brand’s collective of small local farms located in Yunnan, Assam and Taiwan. Each of the leaves are hand-picked and traditionally treated before hand-blended by the brand’s team of experts for classic blends — your chamomile and oolong — to new, creative brew like Work From Home, a caffeine-free blend of red raspberry leaves, lemon balm and goji berries; or Minty Pineapple, with lemon and hibiscus for properties that aid digestion. Either way, the teas here are completely free from chemical preservatives, artificial flavourings, gluten, dairy and refined sugar for a truly healthy and refreshing cuppa.

Shop Peerie Tea here

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason, purveyor of British fine-foods, need no introduction. The renowned London-based brand has been a long time favourite for its scrummy range of biscuits and extensive selections of tea — a classic duo in many of the luxury hampers here. While it might not be an authentic Chinese selection, the blends here stay true to the practice of British tea appreciation with high-quality leaves that are sourced from across the globe and a collected of beautifully crafted tea wares.

For this Chinese New Year, Fortnum & Mason enlists feng shui designer Thierry Chow and her father, Master Chow Hon Ming, for curated selection that auspiciously represent Love, Friendship, Health and Career.

Fortnum & Mason, Shop 022, G/F, K11 Atelier, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3916 8181


While Basao’s blends are informed by tradition, the expert brews that you’ll discover at the minimalistic tea house also lean towards exploring next and the new, which includes a ingenious range of tea-infused coffee and cold brew recipes that strides beyond dunking a strainer in cold water — the Fig White Luna is a White Luna leaf blend infused with honey and fresh figs. For the leaves, Basao stock a quintessential range of Taiwanese Ali Mountain Oolong, Chinese Fujian Jasmine and Nepalese hand-rolled Dhankuta amongst other everyday staples.

Basao, various locations including, 17 Moon Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2952 3313

LockCha Tea House

Here’s a taste of true tradition: LockCha Tea House brew some of the city’s finest Chinese tea, some are even soured from rare, remotes locations that are visited then hand-picked by the brand’s own team of Tea Masters. If it’s impressing the elders you’re after, LockCha’s teas will meet the task; the leaves here are made according to four criteria: delicious, healthy, authentic and good value for money. While the blends are exclusive brews made with leaves baked in the own workshop to allow personally measured blends of tea leaves and flowers for new flavour profiles. The Slimate Tea, namely, is a mix of Zhengshan Brown Pu’er, Narcissus White, Golden Osmanthus Oolong and Roses in LockCha’s own secret ratio.

Other than offering a beautifully brewed cup, LockCha also dedicates its brand to supporting tea farmers which they have worked with for over 30 years to conserve and develop, fair-trade authentic teas.

LockCha Tea House,  Shop 01-G07, Block 1, Tai Kwun, 10, Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2276 5777

Header image courtesy of Wilden Herbals

Lorria Sahmet
After two years writing in luxury retail, Lorria now covers food and drink happenings in Hong Kong. When not taste-testing for the best fries in the city (shoestring, always!), find her cosied up at home skimming through Netflix or nurturing baby plants in her indoor greenhouse. She is happiest by the ocean with a giant fishbowl-glass of Aperol Spritz.
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