Iced teas are great for beating the heat but if, like us, you’re sick of having your drink diluted by melting ice, then try sipping on a cold brew instead. Made by steeping tea leaves at or below room temperature for several hours, cold brew teas take a lot longer to prepare compared to their hot counterparts, but the resulting flavours are sweeter and softer, with a lower level of bitter astringency. Brewing at low temperatures also reportedly leads to greater health benefits and lower levels of caffeine in the cup. If you’re looking for a way to cool down this summer, here are six cold brew teas that are well worth trying.
RECOMMENDED: If teas aren’t your cup of, well, tea, check out our recommendations for the most unique and quirky coffees, as well as the best cafés in town for a strong cup o’ joe.
Cold brew teas to try right now
Opened earlier this year, this hip beverage bar takes its teas very, very seriously. The leaves are hand-brewed by experienced baristas, who can even put together a tea omakase tailored to customers’ tastes. We recommend the premium sencha sourced from Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture. Light, grassy and boasting complex aromas, these teas taste best when treated delicately, making them perfect for cold brewing or even slow ice drips – both of which are offered at Green Tea Gingko.
The first thing you’ll notice about Charles Tea Bar is the crowd that forms in front of it. Since opening at the end of last year, this stall has become one of the hottest tea vendors in town and has added several branches to its name. Aside from the requisite lineup of bubble teas – which you can order with sweet potato and taro pearls – the big sellers here are the floral and delicate bottled cold brews. There are close to a dozen varieties on offer, ranging from Taiwanese ginseng oolong to Kyoto sakura white tea. Most of these have no added sugar, meaning they’re perfect as healthy summer thirst quenchers. While you’re there, don’t forget to try the warm and chewy grilled mochi.
With its minimalist, Muji-like packaging, it’s easy to mistake Moonlight Tea for a Japanese or Taiwanese import. The brand is actually completely homegrown and was making the rounds at local food and craft markets prior to announcing its official launch last month at Interval Coffee Bar. Specialising in cold brew teas, Moonlight sources its leaves from certified sustainable estates and suppliers and then steeps these at room temperature for up to 10 hours. There are currently two cold brews on offer – the French earl grey and the Darjeeling first flush. If you prefer to make your brews at home, Moonlight also offers teabags crafted from biodegradable materials.
This Tai Hang tea bar and shop offers more than 20 cold brew blends, ranging from the light and fruity mango green tea to the much more robust lattéa black tea, which comes infused with coffee beans. The flavours and aromas of each blend are released slowly but surely during a 16-hour steeping process in cold water. The cold brews are available in single cups and sharing pots but you can also grab a bottled brew to go.
This homegrown brand has appeared at various prime locations across the city, from its first pop-up in Hysan Place to its permanent locations at 100 Queen’s Road Central and Lee Tung Avenue. The stores specialise in fruit teas and beverages topped with cream cheese milk caps, but they also offer several cold brews, which are steeped at room temperature for eight hours. If these still aren’t cool enough for you, Cha Long also offers two ice drip options – Japanese yamecha gyokuro with jasmine green tea, and a Taiwanese oolong – which are available in limited quantities every day.
This one is for serious connoisseurs – or at least those with a lot of money to spend. Presented in 750ml wine bottles, some with wooden boxes included, Royal Blue’s products look more like vintage Bordeaux than oolong or green tea. They’re priced like fine wines too, with bottles starting at $1,000 and some, like the limited edition King of Green Hoshino Super Premium gyukuro green tea (pictured) costing a whopping $100,000. If you’re wondering why they’re so expensive, it’s because Royal Blue uses only the finest, hand-picked tea leaves, and infuses these in cold water for three to seven days before manually bottling the resulting premium cold brew. Royal Blue’s products are available at a very select number of high-end Japanese restaurants, including Tenku RyuGin, Kaiseki Den by Saotome and Sushi Saito. Bottles are also available at City’Super.
Image: ©ROYAL BLUE TEA
Sheung Wan is pretty much known as Hong Kong island’s coffee hub. Whether you’re looking for cold brews and Melbourne-style javas to Instagram-worthy coffees, this neighbourhood has got ’em all. Follow this guide to discover all the best coffee shops in Sheung Wan and our recommendations on the best brews to order.