Can You Mix Coffee And Tea?

Tea and coffee are two of the most beloved beverages worldwide. While the idea of mixing coffee and tea may seem strange to enthusiasts of either drink, it is surprisingly popular. Throughout the world, coffee and tea are combined and enjoyed in various ways, both in traditional and modern cafe settings.

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Popular Combinations Around The World

Although the concept of mixing tea and coffee is not exclusive to any particular country or culture, there are three popular coffee-tea combinations that stand out. Emily McIntyre, Founder and CEO of Catalyst Trade, a coffee trading platform in Portland, Oregon, explains that one popular drink is called spreeze or spritz and is widely enjoyed in Ethiopia. It is made by steeping tea in a cup, sweetening it with sugar, and then pouring an espresso shot over the top. The result is a refreshing beverage that balances the light, floral profile of black tea with the oaky bitterness of dark roast espresso.

A similar drink called kopi cham can be found in Malaysia and Singapore. It is made by mixing intense black tea with sugar, evaporated milk, and concentrated coffee, and can be served hot or cold.

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Yuenyeung: What Is It & How Is It Different?

The most famous combination of coffee and tea, by far, is yuenyeung, which originated in Hong Kong. Yuenyeung is a blend of Hong Kong-style milk tea and coffee. It is a popular drink found in almost all traditional tea houses and eateries in Hong Kong.

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Yuenyeung’s history dates back to the time when open-air food vendors served drivers and laborers in Hong Kong. These workers enjoyed Hong Kong-style tea but felt it lacked caffeine. To keep awake during long shifts and night drives, they started adding coffee to their tea.

Hong Kong-style milk tea is distinct from other brewed teas around the world. It is prepared by boiling crushed black tea leaves in water and then adding condensed milk. The mixture is simmered before being strained through a “tea sock” and served hot or over ice.

To create yuenyeung, Hong Kong-style milk tea is combined with concentrated coffee. The exact ratios and mixing methods can vary, but the “golden ratio” is often considered to be around 70% coffee and tea to 30% evaporated milk. This combination creates a drink that is thick, sweet, and slightly bitter, with flavors that complement each other like male and female ducks, as reflected in its name.

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Coffee & Tea: Will It Continue To Be Popular?

While yuenyeung is still relatively unknown outside of Hong Kong, the drink has gained popularity in places with significant Asian populations. Variations of the beverage have also entered the market in other Asian countries. For example, Asahi Soft Drink Co. launched Wonda Tea Coffee in 2018, a ready-to-drink tea and coffee combination aimed at introducing the flavor of coffee to young and inexperienced drinkers.

Some people have even started creating their own variations of coffee and tea combinations. For instance, ordering a chai latte with a shot of espresso in coffee shops can create a similar experience to yuenyeung.

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Despite the initial hesitations of tea and coffee purists, fusion drinks like yuenyeung, spreeze, and kopi cham have gained popularity among people worldwide. While it remains to be seen whether specialty coffee and the wider coffee supply chain will fully embrace such combinations, there is an undeniable appeal in offering new and unique beverage experiences to customers.

In conclusion, tea and coffee can be successfully mixed together, resulting in delightful combinations enjoyed in various cultures worldwide. The possibilities for combining these two beloved beverages are endless, with new flavors waiting to be discovered by those who appreciate both tea and coffee.

Visit Marmalade Cafe to explore a world of culinary delights, including unique coffee and tea blends that will leave you craving for more.

Photo credits: Denise Chan, City Foodsters, Thirstea Beverages, HYPEBEANS