I got to thinking the other day: my entire blog started with the idea of different ways to treat coffee. A common colleague, but never bedfellow to coffee, is the ever-present. They’re always served side by side, but never together.
This got me wondering: do people combine them? If so, how?
Here are 5 of the most interesting ones that I came across in my research.
1) Yuanyong / Kopi Cham (Hong Kong / Malaysia)
The ratio of coffee and tea varies depending on who is making it, but some reported a coffee:tea ratio of 3:7 or even 1:1 using hong kong-style milk tea and strong coffee.
People drink it year-round in Hong Kong because it can be served hot or cold. The name is said to come from mandarin ducks both because they are a symbol of conjugal love in Chinese culture and the male and females look very different from each other.
In other words, it’s two unlike items being brought together.
Hong Kong-style milk tea is made from black tea (bold Ceylon tea is recommended) and milk, usually evaporated or condensed. HK-style tea also had a nickname: pantyhose tea because it is often brewed in a large sock that resembles the clothing item.
It appears that in HK itself, the method for making the perfect milk tea is a trade secret, so what I provide may be different from what will be found there.
The kind of tea used is universally a strong, black tea, usually containing Ceylon or some Sri Lankan tea.
The basics appear to be having a large food-grade sock partially-filled with tea, simmered for between 2-12 minutes in a pot.
The tea is then poured back through the sock a minimum of 4 times. The reason they pour it back through is to bring down the astringency and pull out the flavors of the tea, making it more enjoyable. So they say, at least.
Once the tea is prepared, it is traditionally added to evaporated milk, but people will use condensed milk to satisfy their sweet tooth. The ratio is about 3 parts milk to 7 parts tea, making it very milky.
Here’s where coffee enters the picture.
It should be extra strong, with some suggesting drip coffee. Personally, we’d opt for a french press to allow for a stronger brew and to keep the coffee’s oils in the mix.
If you would like a snack to go with this beverage, HK-style egg tarts are said to be the perfect pairing.
Yuanyang Tea / Kopi Cham
- 1 cup Brewed Black Tea Ceylon or Sri Lankan
- 1/3 cup Evaporated or Condensed Milk
- 1 cup Brewed Coffee Strong
- Simmer the tea leaves in a small pot, typically in a food-grade bag, for between 2 and 12 minutes, depending on the desired strength.
- Pour the tea into the top of the bag a minimum of 4 times.
- In a carafe or similar container, mix the milk and brewed tea. Stir thoroughly. If you stop now, you have HK milk tea.
- Add the coffee to taste, up to a maximum of a 1:1 ratio with the milk tea.
Boom. Enjoy your Coffee-Tea mix!
2) Dirty Chai (America)
This one is dear to my heart, as a nice, spicy chai is one of my favorite forms of tea. Here, though, it gets kicked in the teeth, spat on, and abused a bit before it drags itself to your door. In a good way, of course.
It combines two shots of espresso with a strong chai tea. Here’s a combination that we enjoy that goes a little heavy on the cinnamon, admittedly.
- Mortar and Pestle
- 1.5 cups Whole Milk
- 2 pods Cardamom
- 2 sticks Cinnamon
- 4 kernels Black Peppercorn
- 1 inch Knuckle of fresh ginger peeled and crushed
- 2.5 Tbsp Honey
- 2 bags Black tea Loose leaf is preferred
- 2 shots Espresso
- Gently crush the spices together in a mortar and pestle, or using a rolling pin and a bag. Add the milk and crushed spices in a saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from heat and steep for up to 10 minutes.
- Add tea leaves, wait another 5 minutes.
- Strain out solids
- (option) Reheat in saucepan
- Stir in honey
- Split between two appropriately sized mugs, add one shot of espresso each
3) Coffee-Leaf Tea (Ethiopia, South Suda, Indonesia)
This one may not be at your local store, as it hasn’t quite picked up around the world yet. It is said to be one of the first uses of coffee, and may very well be healthier than the usual brew.
Using the leaves from the coffee tree themselves to make a sort of tea, this may not be what you had in mind when someone says “Coffee-Tea hybrid”, but I’m going to count it.
It is said to be less bitter than tea, weaker than coffee, and to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which could help with improving heart and brain health, as well as fending off diabetes and cancer.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t come across this drink before, it’s likely because it doesn’t have nearly as much caffeine as either coffee or tea.
Or it could have something to do with what Dr. Aaron Davies, a botanist, said in the 2012 Annals of Botany journal:
“In 1851, people were touting it as the next tea and there were all these reports about its qualities. It was said to give immediate relief from hunger and fatigue, and ‘clear the brain of its cobwebs’. It is also said to be refreshing – although some found it undrinkable.”
It’s silly that the reporting on this appear to call it an end to the “question” of whether to drink coffee or tea in the morning; first, who is actively debating this with themselves each morning? Second: coffee, obviously. Not to mention, they were touting this amazing beverage back in 1851 and again as recently as 2013. So… where is it?
I guess it never took off, but I’d still like to give it a shot.
If you’re like me and you want to try it, here’s a link to Wize Monkey tea on Amazon (not an affiliate link). I doubt they deliver to Beijing, so I’ll have to wait til I go home again to try it, but let me know how it goes.
4) Coffee Cherry Tea (Yemen, Pacific Northwest, Bolivia)
Like Coffee-Leaf tea, this uses yet another part of the coffee tree that is normally either ignored entirely or treated like waste. Its flavor is different from the beans, being described as somewhat sweet and cherry-like.
Coffee cherries contain caffeine, as does the leaf, but only roughly a quarter of the kick that coffee normally delivers. It’s also said to be fairly high in antioxidants.
If you want to try some yourself, you can buy a bag of Cascara tea (not an affiliate link) from their site here for $15 for 90g (at time of posting).
Another name for this is the Yemeni beverage, Qishr, which combines spiced coffee cherries, ginger, and sometimes cinnamon. It is widely drunk in Yemen instead of coffee because it doesn’t need to be roasted.
For this, you’ll need coffee husks which can be found on amazon (non affiliate link)).
- Pot or Saucepan
- Strainer (or straining medium)
- 1 cup Coffee Cherry Husks Ground
- 3 cups Water
- 2 Tsp Ginger Grated
- 1/2 Tsp Caraway Seeds
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- Bring water to boil.
- Add husks, spices, and sugar
- Let boil for 5-10 min until coffee steeps
- Strain solids out
- Serve while hot
5) Wonda Tea Coffee (Japanese)
In 2018, the Japanese company, Asahi, released a line of Tea-Coffee beverages that were intended, as they put it, to appeal to younger folks who are “not strong enough” to drink the full-fledged ordeal that is coffee.
At first, I balked at this idea but then realized that Western countries, too, often discourage younger people from drinking coffee. There’s that whole rumor about stunting growth.
The reviews for this brand were mixed, as you might expect. Many people who drink coffee or tea will think that this entire list is a travesty, but why not explore new avenues, hm?
But, unfortunately, it’s not as easy to find.
Best I could find was a website called Rakuten Global Market that sells Japanese goods internationally. If you really want to try it, here’s a link to the options for this beverage (non-affiliate link).
Well, with this curiosity satisfied, I am glad I looked into it. It seems there is always more to learn about the world of coffee, and I’m happy to share these discoveries with you! Please let me know what you think, and subscribe if you want more content like this!