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The History of Tea in Hong Kong - 香港茶史

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Tea was first introduced to Hong Kong in the 19th century. It was originally used as a medicine and believed to have health benefits. Tea was also given as a gift to friends, family, and business partners.



Tea production in Hong Kong is a very small industry.

Hong Kong is a small tea production region in terms of volume and exports. It's also a small industry by other measures: the number of farms, employees, and hectares under cultivation is all modest.

Despite its smaller size, Hong Kong has played an important role in the development of Chinese tea culture as well as modern agriculture more broadly.





The tea industry in Hong Kong dates back to 1867.

The history of tea in Hong Kong dates back to 1867, when the British established the first tea garden—a plantation for growing and processing tea—in the New Territories. This was an important moment in Hong Kong’s history and is one of the reasons why this city has become so well-known for its tea.

The development of other tea plantations followed soon after, including one owned by a Scottish merchant named Robert Fortune. The success of these early plantations led to an increase in demand for them, which eventually led to further expansion throughout Asia.





The vast majority of tea grown in Hong Kong is for domestic consumption.

Hong Kong is a major producer and consumer of tea. In fact, it's the second most consumed beverage after water in Hong Kong. Tea is grown all over the world, including China, India and Sri Lanka. The vast majority is produced for domestic consumption in these countries; however, some high-quality teas are exported to other countries as well.




Tea imports are dominated by black tea, oolong, and pu'er.

Tea imports are dominated by black tea, oolong, and pu'er. While there are other kinds of teas that are imported (such as green), the three named above make up most of Hong Kong's tea imports.

Black tea is an oxidized type of tea that has been fermented to varying degrees. It can be both sweet or bitter, depending on how long it's been oxidized. The longer it oxidizes, the darker it becomes in color and more astringent in taste.

Oolong refers to partially oxidized teas with different levels of fermentation between green and black teas—so somewhere between green and black on the spectrum. This is why they're sometimes called semi-oxidized or semi-fermented: they're not fully fermented like green but not fully oxidized like black either. Oolong falls into two main categories: lighter-flavored Formosa Oolongs from Taiwan; darker flavored Fujianese Oolongs from China's Fujian Province (which also produces pu'er).







Tea is a very important part of the culture in Hong Kong. The history of tea goes back thousands of years, and it has been an important part of life for many people in the region ever since. There are many different kinds of tea that can be found in Hong Kong, but most people prefer black tea because it is easy to drink and usually lower in caffeine than other varieties like green or white teas, which require more time to prepare properly before drinking them out of respect for their health benefits





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