From contemporary tea bars to time-honoured institutions, these are the best places in Hong Kong to sip an excellent cup of tea.

Yum cha — or drinking tea, as it’s known in Cantonese — is no doubt a beloved weekend past time for many in Hong Kong who love to pair a hearty dim sum breakfast or brunch with endless pots of satisfying tea.

Yet, contemporary offerings continue to go far beyond the typical teahouse selections. Whilst the Taiwanese bubble tea phenomenon has certainly expanded the popularity of tea to the modern-day drinker, tea connoisseurs would be delighted to know that there is an eclectic and ever-increasing range of venues to discover traditional tea across Hong Kong.

Not only is tea’s numerous health benefits — physical and mental — popular with the health-conscious crowd, tea lovers are increasingly concerned with the provenance as well as the proper craft behind brewing a perfect cup.

There are plenty of places to drink artisanal tea in Hong Kong, from classic teahouses to modern tea bars that celebrate the heritage of particular leaves with a twist — to even meditation studios that offer tea ceremonies as part of their wellness programme. If you’re looking to discern Wuyi oolong from your lapsang souchong; or your matcha from your sencha; delve deeper into the world of tea from our selection below.

Teakha

Founded by Nana Chan, one of the city’s most well known tea enthusiasts, Teakha is a contemporary teahouse that has been pouring some of the best brews in town since 2012. Its first branch in Sheung Wan’s hip Tai Ping Shan neighbourhood is a cosy space to sit back and sip on international tea specialties, including the Masala chai or hojicha au lait, paired perfectly with homemade cakes and cookies — often featuring an element of tea. Since 2016, Chan has also been behind Plantation by Teakha, a craft tea company that sells fine loose leaf online as well as at its larger Sai Ying Pun teahouse.

Teakha, Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2858 9185; Plantation by Teakha, 18 Po Tuck Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 3482 2660

181 at Fortnum & Mason

Paying homage to its original 181 Piccadilly address in London, Fortnum and Mason’s Hong Kong flagship is a stunning waterfront restaurant and retail space that debuted at Tsim Sha Tsui’s K11 Musea in late 2019. Promising a collection of some of the finest teas from around the world, the venue is an all-day dining hotspot particularly packed during afternoon teas and brunches, and also offers its beloved British scones for takeaway. It’s hosting a one-off Tea Adventure (HK$400 per person) on 12 July from 9:30–10:30am for a unique workshop to discover Fortnum’s best blends.

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

Lock Cha Tea House

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If you’re after a traditional Cantonese teahouse experience, Lock Cha Tea House is a must-visit. It has several locations including its newest Tai Kwun flagship, which serves an east-meets-west menu along with prized brews. The Admiralty branch, located in the heart of picturesque Hong Kong Park, is particularly popular among tourists and locals alike, serving vegetarian dim sum and celebrated for its delightful lunch offerings and calligraphy classes. Lock Cha’s Chinese tea selections are extensive, and it’s the perfect place to explore if you’re learning to discern between varieties.

Lock Cha Tea House, Shop 01-G07, Block 1, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2276 5777; G/F, The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2801 7177.

Tea WG

With five branches across Hong Kong, Tea WG is known for its decadent, British-inspired tearooms and a vast selection of over 800 single estate teas and blends. Contrary to popular belief, the storied tea brand is in fact, Singaporean. Started in 2008, Tea WG pays tribute to the year 1837, when the island nation became a designated trading post for teas, spices and fine epicurean products. Tea WG integrates everything (and we mean, everything) on its menu with tea — think green tea-infused vinaigrettes for salads, genmaicha-smoked fish, Moroccan mint tea-infused pasta ragout, signature tea-flavoured macarons and more. With set menus and a la carte dishes available as well as an extensive tea list, your chosen brew is served in an elegant pot, or you can also enjoy a range of tea cocktails or icy mocktails.

Tea WG, various locations including Shop 1022, 1/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2796 2828

Song Cha Xie Teahouse

Song Cha Xie (or the Pine Teahouse) is a traditional teahouse located in the heart of Nan Lian Garden. Designed after Tang dynasty-era architecture, the tranquil tea pavilion allows you to admire the scenery of the zen rock garden, the man-made lake and immerse in the sounds of nature while enjoying a pot of excellent tea. There’s a wide selection of prized Rock Oolong brews from the Wuyi Mountains like Da Hong Pao or Shui Jin Gui (also known as Golden Water Turtle), as well as aged Pu’ers. Dim sum, sweets and savoury snacks are also available to go along with your tea.

Song Cha Xie Teahouse, Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong, +852 3658 9366

Tell Camellia

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Tell Camellia is a cocktail bar by night, yet some may be surprised to hear that it’s actually a tea sanctuary in the daytime. The bar aims to bridge tea and cocktail culture with innovative recipes that place the provenance of teas in the limelight. Visit in the afternoon (open from 12–6pm for tea) to try a selection of signatures including the Turkish Rize Tea, Masala Chai, a Matcha-based ‘Teapresso’, cold brewed teas, as well as a range of interesting varieties such as the Milk Oolong from Taiwan or Italian Almond tea. For friends who want an easy segue into the evening, there are also a range of zero-proof tonics available (before you transition with one of the bar’s popular T&Tonics, that is).

Tell Camellia, LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9821 5501

Basao

Online luxe tea purveyor Basao opened up its first brick-and-mortar location in 2018 on Wan Chai’s Moon Street, and now also has a larger branch in Causeway Bay. The brand has long been transparent in its leaf-to-cup ethos, showcasing sustainably grown, single-origin teas from China to Nepal. At its chic tea bars, Basao hosts educational workshops for those looking to learn more about the tea beyond the cup.

Basao, 17 Moon Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2338 8172; 16 Pak Sha Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2952 3313

Noc Whampoa

Coffee specialist Noc may be famed for its coffee-based fixes, but it has recently launched a nitro coffee and tea concept exclusively at its Whampoa store to help beat the heat of summer months. The brews are nitrogenised to create a creamier taste and texture, whilst also imparting a subtle sweetness to the beverage. The nitro teas here are brewed using a special blend of mango peach green tea, curated by Hong Kong tea sommelier Tea Concept.

Noc Whampoa, Shop G42, G/F, Site 9, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom, Hong Kong

Matchali

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Founded by cousins Cara and Laura Li, Matchali has risen to fame with its innovative concept that pairs colourful fresh fruit blends with the wellness benefits of matcha. The cousins source their ceremonial-grade matcha from Uji, just outside Kyoto, that has long been used in zen meditation rituals by monks. Matchali’s popularity has only soared since bursting on the scene with a pop-up café at Upper House earlier in the year — it’s now holding fort at Landmark Atrium through to 31 October 2020.

Matchali, Shop 239, 2/F, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 9684 8438

Yú Teahouse

Located in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Eslite Spectrum bookstore with a calming space overlooking the waterfront, Yú Teahouse was created as an ode to the restorative power of tea. It hosts regular classes to promote tea appreciation, and it has also lent its tea expertise to high profile brands such as Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Yú Teahouse provides a wide selection of Chinese teas, ranging from antique pu’erh to vegetal, high mountain green teas.

Yú Teahouse, Shop L230, 2/F, Eslite Spectrum, Star House, 3 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3419 1089

Tealosophy Tea Bar

Macanese import Tealosophy brings the experience of a traditional Japanese teahouse to Wyndham Street, occupying a 2,000 sq.ft. space dedicated to the art of preparing and serving top quality matcha. The airy, Japanese-inspired space (check out the tatami nook at the back, used for workshops) makes it a great alternative to the modern cafés in Hong Kong to enjoy a relaxing cup. There’s also a menu of traditional Japanese sweets and snacks (including vegan options), as well as a lunch menu, to best complement the complex flavours of tea.

Tealosophy, 36-38 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

DK Cuppa Tea

Owned and operated by longtime herbal therapy specialists DK Aromatherapy, DK Cuppa Tea is an adorable Sheung Wan café known for its organic herbal tea selection and an extensive menu of homemade sweet treats. Afternoon tea sets are available for dine-in or takeaway, best paired with essential oil blends that will help you unwind from the bustle of the day. The venue also offers private workshops and corporate events.

DK Cuppa Tea, 19 New Market Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2386 3588

Tea Meditation

Ease your mind with these tea-based wellness offerings.

Fivelements Habitat

Urban wellness sanctuary Fivelements Habitat is located in bustling Causeway Bay, yet feels worlds away upon entering the tranquil destination. Tea is an integral part of the ‘Sacred Arts’ experiences here, with a dedicated meditative tea ceremony curated by in-house practitioner Resham Daswani. The brewing session invites guests for a moment of stillness and reflection, as well as to appreciate what makes a fine cup of tea. While Fivelements operates on a membership basis, non-members can book a trial session at HK$450 through the website or by phone call.

Fivelements Habitat, 13A, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3106 2112

Enhale Meditation Studio

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Meditation studio Enhale knows a thing or two about the healing benefits of tea. Not only are guests served a small cup of tea before every class, the venue offers a dedicated tea ceremony session to cultivate self-healing and mindfulness, using cha dao as a path to soothe the mind.

Enhale Meditation Studio, 14/F, The Plaza, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9385 8389

Faye Bradley
Faye Bradley is a contributing writer for the food and drinks section of Lifestyle Asia. She is a regular Netflix binge-watcher, G&T enthusiast and will settle for all things dim sum. Besides her passion for travel and writing, she is also an illustrator with her own greeting card brand, Cha Siu Papers. You'll find her at a beach in Bali, Pina Colada in hand.