I always wanted to visit MingCha tea in Tai Koo, but it is a little bit off the beaten track in a warehouse in Tai Koo. It is not hard to get to, it is just opposite exit A2 of the MTR station Tai Koo, but because it is closed on Sundays and public holidays, it took me months to visit!
MingCha is all about authentic Chinese tea and works with small traditional farms in different parts of China, who put value in their work. It is not about the volume, but the quality of tea and MingCha pays the farmers a decent price, so they can live with dignity and pride. Therefore the tea that MingCha sells is not cheap – but before you make up your mind, what tea to purchase, you can taste them.
For 100 HKD per tea, you can try different green, white, red, black and oolong teas. We decided to try the oolong range, and tasted the Teguanyin Supreme, which comes from Western Anxi in Fujian. This tea is very light, fresh, crisp and clean. It costs 360 HKD for 120g.
We compared this to the Phoenix Supreme, which comes from the Phoenix Mountain in Guangong. While this smells fruity, it is stronger and more bitter. The description said it would be sweeter, but I found it to be sharper and more bitter. I did not enjoy this one as much as I hoped, as the smell was better than the taste – but of course, that is just personal opinion. The tea costs 320 HKD for 55g.
MingCha sells a few of its teas in supermarkets such as City Super, Great, Fusion etc. but in its own shop the variety is much larger – not only can you get larger size of the favourites such as Jasmine silver tips but lots more special teas that are not sold in large batches: First Flush Longjin (also known as Dragonwell tea), Green Spring Spires and Wuji Supreme.
Moreover, the founder Vivien also created honeys with roses or osmanthus that you can try and buy. And there is even a selection of chocolates that you can pair with your tea.
Overall it was a great and interesting experience – I learnt about oolong teas, tasted two exquisite flavours and bought some chrysanthemum tea that I was looking for.
However, I do prefer the small tea studio in Sheung Wan, just because it feels less commercial and more homely than the MingCha room in a factory. Moreover, at the tea studio in Sheung Wan, owner Ivan Chiu Chi-ming will take as much or as little time it needs to answer my questions and during the conversation, will let me try different teas – without a 100 HKD charge.
But then, maybe the tea at MingCha is more exquisite and of higher quality? Personally, I can’t tell. So maybe you have to try both and let me know?
12/F Flat D, Wah Ha Factory Building, 8 Shipyard Lane, Tai Koo
Open from 10am to 7pm everyday except Sundays and public holidays