Though prices here are at a slight premium compared to other chains, TenRen’s Tea is worth every dime. Its high quality teas combined with 60 years of tea brewing expertise shines through even in its more interesting creations (we wouldn’t have thought to add orange juice or grass jelly to green tea, but it works). There are many locations in the city, all offering fresh brewed teas, tea yoghurts, smoothies and even decaffeinated teas; it also promises that none of its milk teas contain trans-fat, only fresh fruits are used in its fruit teas, and most importantly, no artificial flavourings whatsoever.
Sassy Pick: Green Tea Latte with Pearls – a classic whether hot or iced, we recommend asking for 70% sugar.
TenRen’s Tea, multiple locations across Hong Kong
Founded by Taiwanese-turned-local Eilif, Bubble Tea Work was born out of blood, sweat and tears… But we promise these won’t be found in the drinks! Everything here, from the tea to the syrups, the tapioca pearls to the juices, has been meticulously researched and handmade daily by Eilif and his fast-expanding team. He insists on hand-shaking all the drinks, with the shaker machine only coming to aid during peak hours, as the process brings out that “old-style” flavour he knows from home. With absolutely no preservatives and flavourings, unique flavours of pearls on rotation (we love the subtly sweet osmanthus pearls), and over 40 drink offerings, Bubble Tea Work is an underrated choice.
Sassy Pick: Honey Lemon Black Tea with homemade Aiyu Jelly – the black tea is brewed with cassia, a rare addition in pursuit of the “old-style” flavour and the lemon juice is fresh squeezed.
Bubble Tea Work, G/F, Wellive Court, 12 Victory Avenue, Ho Man Tin, Hong Kong
Bubble Tea Work, Shop 60A, G/F, 64 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/bubbleteawork
Probably the most instagrammed tea salon in Hong Kong, Flamingo Bloom serves up artisanal brews tailored to your taste. Handcrafted floral teas are the specialty at Flamingo Bloom, with four premium base teas: Jasmine Tips Green Tea from Fujian, Highland Oolong from Taiwan, French Rose Buds from France and Chrysanthemum Pu’er from Yunnan. Not only do the drinks taste great, but the pesticide-free ingredients and antioxidant boosts are also great for you. You’ll know exactly what goes into your drink as you watch the tea baristas do their thing at the open bar. Celebrate your cheat day in style with its signature flamingo floatie and be sure to boost your Instagram feed with loads of pics here!
Sassy Pick: Jasmine Tips Green Tea with Smashed Fresh Strawberries and Milk Cap – perfect for a hot Hong Kong summer day, and the milk cap isn’t too heavy either!
Flamingo Bloom, multiple locations across Hong Kong, www.flamingo-bloom.com
Yuan Is Here and he’s here to stay. Bringing authentic Taiwanese street food culture to Hong Kong, the bubble tea here will transport you to the night markets of Taipei. Its tea drinks rivals any regular bubble tea spot – its tea is strong and smooth, the milk cap is just the right amount of creamy, and you can even add on nata de coco and coffee jelly. Head to its Kwun Tong location to grab your boba to go as its Sai Ying Pun restaurant regularly has lines snaked around the block and only offers dine-in service.
Sassy Pick: Winter Melon Iced Tea with Nata de Coco – winter melon tea offsets the grease from the finger licking salty fried chicken and the nata de coco is a healthier alternative to tapioca pearls.
Yuan Is Here, G/F, 73 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Yuan Is Here, G/F, 28 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/yuanishere
After its pop up in Hysan Place was received with much fanfare, Cha Long (The Tea Wolf) has migrated into the 852. While the wolf doesn’t like bubbles, its excellently crafted tea makes up for it. Cha Long is most famous for its “Nitrogen Cha”, featuring jasmine green tea and roasted oolong tea brewed in the same method as beer, making it extra easy to drink. Limited amounts of its bottled ice drip and cold brew teas are also available daily. Best of all, you can save $2 on your order when you bring your own bottle!
Sassy Pick: Sugarcane Cha with fresh fruits – one of its signature drinks, the sugarcane cha is an interesting twist on the traditional sugarcane juice you find in Chinese herbal tea shops. The fruits soak up the tea and make for a refreshing snack as well.
Cha Long, multiple locations across Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/chalonghk
With tea chains taking Southeast Asia, the UAE and Australia by storm, Chatime prepares handmade milky morsels for thirsty Hong Kongers all over the city. Available in heaps of different flavours from Wintermelon to Americano, this is one pitstop worth making.
Chatime, various locations across Hong Kong
Conveniently located across from Causeway Bay MTR Exit E is new hotspot Mr. Tea. Hailed as the spiritual successor to Heytea in Shenzhen, it has an extensive cheese tea selection. The tea base it uses is light and balanced, and the cream cheese topping is luscious without being overpowering. The fruit-cheese combos, particularly the cream cheese cap watermelon smoothie, are unexpectedly delicious and can definitely be counted as somewhat healthy. Its “volcano milk tea” is also a favourite – forgo the straw and drink it at a 45 degree angle so the creme brulee pudding topping combines with the milk tea underneath.
Sassy Pick: Kyoto buckwheat tea with cream cheese cap – Buckwheat tea has significant cardiovascular benefits, and aids in reducing blood glucose as well.
Mr. Tea, Shop A4, G/F, Causeway Place, 2-10 Great George Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/MR.TEA.HK
Named after Jupiter’s smallest moon, Europa Tea Foundry is out of this world! Specialising in Alishan Mountain tea brewed in purple clay teapots and handmade tea and honey pearls, and operating under the philosophy that tea should bring people together, the drinks here are of the utmost quality. You can also double up on flavour with add-ons like jasmine green tea jelly and tie-guan-yin tea jelly. Tea isn’t the only attraction, as its fruit smoothies and mocktails have a strong (gravitational?) pull as well. You can even try your hand at making your own typography cards while you wait. Just like its namesake, Europa Tea Foundry may not be the biggest, but it can shine just as bright.
Sassy Pick: Tie-Guan-Yin Milk Foam Latte with honey pearls – the honey pearls adds a layer of sweetness to the thick milk foam and the rich tie-guan-yin which can sometimes be bitter.
Europa Tea Foundry, Shop 3, G/F, 22 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/EUROPATEAHK
The brown sugar boba craze has reached its peak, and we reckon we’ve found the winner. Down the street from Europa Tea Foundry is Xing Fu Tang, the brown sugar boba powerhouse with a name that literally translates to house of happiness. The wait here is always long (but totally worth it) and it encourages you to draw a divination stick that’ll reveal to you your luck in love for the year while you wait. What sets Xing Fu Tang apart from its neighbours who also specialise in brown sugar boba is that it also offers sodas and smoothies – the bright blue “jellyfish soda” with handmade jelly and the seasonal mango smoothie topped with an adorable rabbit jelly have stolen our hearts.
Sassy Pick: Brown Sugar Boba Milk – the signature drink that catapulted it into fame, the milk foam is bruleed and the brown sugar pearls fried fresh in shop daily according to the founder’s grandma’s recipe. Remember to shake it for the recommended 18 times before drinking (and snapping the obligated humble brag pictures) for the ultimate flavour explosion. We can’t get enough.
Xing Fu Tang, Shop 5, 36 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/hkxingfutang
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written by Savannah Wasserman and published on 16 February, 2017 and was updated on 2 October, 2018 by Ines Fung.