Finding organic and ethically sourced tea brands can prove challenging in a city where you could pass over a hundred tea shops or stands spread around the streets. From traditional tea shops and bubble tea stands to milk tea vendors and boutique loose leaf tea brands, Hong Kong’s tea market is oversaturated.
You might think that a diverse market for tea would make the hunt for natural, chemical-free tea easy. But sifting through the overwhelming options, many of which contain harmful ingredients, can be a headache. In fact, many tea brands engage in unethical means of production, especially when it comes to benefits for tea growers. The lack of transparency in the tea market makes consumers complicit in murky ethics unbeknown to them.
Now, with growing consumer demand for health benefits found in botanical blends and single estate artisanal teas, ethical boutique tea brands have begun to flood the market. Instead of grabbing a bubble tea with questionable ingredients on their way to run errands, consumers prefer to know the story behind the tea they drink. From where does it originate? Does it have digestive functions? How is it traditionally prepared?
Emerging tea brands like Peerie Tea, Green Common and Plantation by teakha work to combat these issues within the tea market by educating consumers about their teas and the process behind the product.
Traditional loose leaf blends from Peerie Tea
Peerie Tea is a farm-to-cup company that prioritizes quality natural ingredients through loose-leaf tea. They carry the legacies of various local farms throughout Yunnan, Assan and Taiwan, and they engage in projects with the community.
Each blend is hand-picked and traditionally processed. The contents of a single estate tea originate from a single farm, which means that all ingredients arrive high-quality in your cup. In addition, none of the teas are diluted with artificial ingredients, gluten, dairy or refined sugar.
Favorite blends include Organic Four Seasons Oolong, harvested four times each year in Taiwan and has a subtle floral fragrance and a sweet aftertaste, and Organic GABA Oolong, which has high levels of an amino acid called GABA that helps improve mood and possesses a distinct fruitiness. To reach every blend’s full potential, add Peerie Tea’s reusable tea infuser to your cart to enhance tea flavor and preserve all the benefits of the ingredients.
Green Common and the green lifestyle
With opening a new branch in Kwun Tong Yue Man Square YM2, Green Common aims to raise awareness regarding sustainable initiatives by introducing an electronic shelf label system and biodegradable packaging for their clean, vegan teas. They also stock Elephant Cuppa’s “say ‘no’ to single use!” products, an eco-tumbler Taiwanese brand made trendy by social media.
Green Common promotes clean, plant-based eating and drinking. Rather than focusing on traditionally processed, specialty farm-to-cup tea, Green Common focuses on the vegan lifestyle. Vegan milk foam tops many of the bestselling teas on the menu, including a fresh and smooth Ginger Oolong Tea (a new drink packed with nutrients), Pineapple Kale Jasmine Tea, and Roselle and Perilla Tea. Regular customers tend to opt for the ever-popular low-sugar Vegan Lippy Tea collection. The thick froth adds a note of decadence while holding back on the sugar for a healthy yet hearty beverage.
Aside from the plethora of plant-based drinks, Green Common’s new branch also offers an Instant Plant-based Meal Pack collection – easy meals based on Asian staples made with alternative meat. Check out the stir-fried OmniPork Strip with Kimchi. Don’t forget the vegan desserts! Indulge in cheesecake, mini muffins, apple pie and more.
Plantation’s love of tea and community
Plantation’s founder Nana Chan left the corporate workspace to follow her passion for tea and the community it creates. She began her tea cafe teakha almost a decade ago, which serves quality tea and homemade cakes. Chan then founded Plantation by teakha in 2017 to further educate people about tea.
Their farm-to-cup whole leaf teas come in small batches and are of single origin to ensure that customers receive the tea in its most natural form. In addition to the tea sourced from family farms, Plantation locally sources their teaware from artisans in China, Taiwan and Japan. Their story and mission are simple, functional and founded on a love of tea.
You can also book a tea tasting at their tea house to learn even more about this classic brewed beverage. “If you are serious with your tea, then this is the place to go and try out the different varieties of tea available,” says customer Guai Chan. “We tried the tea tasting and learned so much out of it!”
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