Monday 5 September 2011

Hong Kong Melting Coffee Tea Pot

Yet again, some Hongkies are trying to rationalise and justify a bad thing. In this instance, it is Yuan Yang (pronounced yin yeung in Cantonese), a repellant mix of coffee and tea.

From the sounds of things, no one has any idea how to judge Yuan Yang.

What is the criteria?
For example, in some instances the drink can be served cold but according to one judge (the only judge interviewed for the news story) the drink must be served hot.
What is the taste test? According to the same judge, the best Yuan Yang is a mix of "Earl Grey tea plus Java coffee beans". However, this is not what local Dai Pai Dongs and Cha Chaan Tengs (HK-style cafes) serve.

And why does the SCMP or the organisers of the 1st competition spell Yuan Yang using pinyin, and not in the Cantonese style?
This drink, like the terrible-tasting Hong Kong milk tea, is meant to be a Hong Kong invention ... so why give mainland China the credit? Yet another example of creeping insidious nationalistic and patriotic bootlicking, perhaps?

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Milk-tea king brews cuppa to take yuan yang crown (SCMP; paywall)
Stuart Lau
Aug 12, 2011

He brewed the best cup of tea last year and now, he is also "your-cup-of-tea-plus-coffee" king.

This year, the Association of Coffee and Tea held, for the first time, a competition on yuan yang - a mixture of milk tea and coffee - a unique local beverage. The champion, Law Tak, was last year's "milk-tea king".

Although different in tastes, one judge, Pamela Peck Wan-kam, said milk tea and yuan yang were similar in certain ways. "It's about real coffee and real tea. Don't expect a machine to do the best," she said.

Fancy a cold drink in hot summer? "No way! They must be hot. Ice cubes only dilute the flavour," Peck said.

"For me, Earl Grey tea plus Java coffee beans make the best cup of yuan yang," she added, although such a combination is rarely served in the cha chaan teng or tea cafes.

Some say the prevalence of fast food-style coffee shops has diminished young people's interest in the traditional beauty of tea.

Twinings, the 300-year-old exhibitor, said it had newly added organic styles to cater to the younger, more health-conscious generation.

Local tea brand Ying Kee, founded more than 100 years ago, recently put its tea into bottles, a trend that has proved appealing to grab-and-go young people.

Tea-loving American Matthew London, a visitor, put it this way: "I think tea is not just ancient, it's also part of the modern spirit today."

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