Turning plants into medicine to improve the body's overall wellbeing and to boost the immune system is an age-old Chinese practice that herbal tea is at the very heart of. Herbal teas are considered an integral part of the legacy of ancient Chinese wisdom, and in Hong Kong the craft was even inscribed onto the first national list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006.
Despite the teamendous wealth of health benefits, for a time, Chinese tea came to be viewed as outdated by many. Recently however, the traditional tipple has experienced a resurgence in popularity as tea makers have began to refocus more on tea's relationship with health and wellbeing. These days, younger generations are creating renewed versions of the beloved beverage, designed to be more convenient in modernised packaging that promotes a hip and healthy lifestyle. So, the next time you’re looking for something to quench your thirst, maybe consider forgoing the bubble tea and going traditional! By Cara Hung. Translated by Ashlyn Chak
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Chinese herbal tea to detox with
All the herbal teas here are homemade by tea master Mac every morning. The menu's popular items include the five flowers tea (with or without black wolfberries) and the self-heal (prunella) tea – but they also serve signature blends such as hawthorn tea with mulberry and plum, roselle and purple-backed sunflower tea with chia seeds, and luo han guo tea with purple fig. Let the East and the West come together to give you a better Qi.
Herbaceous Teas was founded by a millennial brother duo who grew up in a family that ran a Chinese herb shop. These savvy young businessmen left their accounting jobs in 2013 to start among the first hip herbal tea shops in Hong Kong. Their locations are mostly in areas where white-collar workers frequent. Still, the store's stylish aesthetic also attracts a lot of young people. The Tsuen Wan shop has a cosy Japanese-style interior with a white and light brown colour scheme and features a unique logo inspired by the traditional wrapping paper of Chinese herb shops.
Their teas are made fresh at a local factory every day without sugar or preservatives. Options include the classics, such as 24 herbs tea, self-heal tea, dampness-relieving drink, and coix seed tea. Aside from serving those herbal teas in-store, Herbaceous Teas also offers convenient bottled herbal teas to-go, as well as other products like pear honey paste, red date honey, and ginger honey in jars that can be found in supermarkets.
Checkcheckcin sells Chinese herbal teas, but the shop's unique product is its cool rice water. The mild rice water is derived from red rice, white rice, and coix seeds alongside various other ingredients that are generally revered for their health benefits. Knowing that customers might find Chinese medicine theories a little tricky to understand, the shop created fun labels for their selections, including those labelled as "I get cold", "I get tired", "I gained weight", and "I'm dry". These self-explanatory labels make it easy for even those completely unseasoned in the ways of tea to pick out the right concoction that addresses what ails them.
A great highlight on the shop is its founder, Cinci Leung, who is a registered TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner. If you need some overall wellness advice, you may book her for dietary consultations or a speedy acupuncture session – now that's what we call sharp service!
If you're not up for a visit to a brick-and-mortar shop, just order herbal teas online to enjoy in the comfort of your home or wherever you please. Try, Seed's "soft drinks X herbal tea", which is basically a thirst-quenching sparkling Chinese herbal tea. Made in Hong Kong, Seed Softdrinks' four flavours include sparkling ginger tea, sparkling siraitia grosvenorii (also known as luo han guo) drink, sparkling bamboo cane chine drink, and sparkling chrysanthemum tea. Skip the sugar-filled fizzy drinks and beers at your next barbecue or hotpot gathering and order these products online from HKTVmall or Ozakka.