Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh picks: the capital’s best brews, from fresh oolong to chai

Phnom Penh picks: the capital’s best brews, from fresh oolong to chai

Phnom Penh picks: the capital’s best brews, from fresh oolong to chai

With the many purported health benefits of tea – lower risk of heart disease and stroke, weight loss, increased concentration – there’s never been a better time to enjoy a cuppa.

The staff at China Brand Tea prepare a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
The staff at China Brand Tea prepare a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Poppy McPherson

Chinese tea at China Brand Tea
The Chinese tea shop on the corner of Monivong and Mao Tse Tung Boulevards offers an unusual way to spend an idle hour. Shelves are stacked with many different types of tea – from $6 ginseng and jasmine to $150-and-up quality Taiwanese blends. Ask to sample some and the staff will serve up a traditional tea ceremony. Ceramic cups are laid on a tea tray, warmed and sterilised with hot water. Metal tongs are used to pour out the excess. Then the tea is brewed at the right temperature for the type, before being poured and thrown out until stewed perfectly. There’s no charge for the samples but, if you do want to take some home, fresh, undried oolong tea has an earthy kick while black tea is said to be good for the stomach.
China Brand Tea, #735 Monivong Blvd (near Mao Tse-tung Boulevard). Open daily 6:30am – 9pm. 012 699 399

Myanmar tea is made with condensed milk.
Myanmar tea is made with condensed milk. Poppy McPherson

Myanmar tea at IrawaddI Restaurant
Myanmar teashops – crowded meeting places with Indian snacks and swirling vats of golden brew – are a must for any visitor to the country. Closer to home, Boeung Keng Kang’s Irawaddi serves up a mean cup of black tea with condensed milk and sugar. Strong, creamy and $1, it’s a sweet footnote to a meal at the restaurant, beloved for tasty and good value curries and salads.
Irawaddi Gallery and Restaurant, #24 Street 334. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed Mondays.

Tea with a hint of cinnamon at Beirut.
Tea with a hint of cinnamon at Beirut. Bennett Murray

Cinnamon tea at Beirut
Lebanese hookah-smoking may have been squashed in Cambodia thanks to a ban earlier this year, but its rich tea and coffee culture can still be enjoyed. For a sweet and spicy tea break over shwarma, Beirut Resto Cafe offers its Beirut Red Tea, black tea with cinnamon sticks, for $2 a pot. For the full effect, add lots of sugar like the Lebanese do.
Beirut Resto Cafe, #117 Sisowath Quay. Open 11am-11pm

Hong Kong-style tea is similar to British.
Hong Kong-style tea is similar to British. Bennett Murray

Hong Kong-style milk tea at Noodle Garden
With its Chinese ethnicity and British colonial legacy, the Pearl of the Orient could not be in a better position to produce some of the world’s greatest tea. The quintessential type, aptly known as Hong Kong-style tea around the world, is black tea mixed with sweet condensed milk which can be served either hot or cold. Noodle Garden on Riverside whips up a great tea for $2.20 that goes down splendidly with the dim-sum.
Noodle Garden, #121Eo Sisowath Quay. Open 7am-midnight

Moroccan Mint tea at Tea House Hotel.
Moroccan Mint tea at Tea House Hotel. EMILY WIGHT

Moroccan Mint tea at Tea House Hotel
Don’t let the name put you off – Tea House Hotel welcomes non-guests to enjoy its huge variety of teas from around the world. For $3, you will be served a huge terracotta pot with a bamboo handle, along with a small porcelain cup from which to drink. The Moroccan Mint is deliciously refreshing and soothing, and the atmosphere of the “tea lounge”, with its low-lying cushions and human-size plants, will almost transport you. Tea House Hotel also offers teas from China, India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa in flavours that range from chocolate to jasmine to green tea to Earl Grey to Royal Orchid.
TeaHouse Hotel, #32 Street 242. Tea Lounge open 7am - 10pm

Indian chai tea from The Vegetarian.
Indian chai tea from The Vegetarian. EMILY WIGHT

Indian spiced tea at the Vegetarian
The Vegetarian restaurant, with its veggie soups, curries and noodle dishes, hides a surprising secret: excellent Indian chai tea, at $1.50. Rather than in the small metal cup which is traditional in Indian restaurants or on the streets of the vast subcontinent, the tea is served in a decent-sized mug. It’s piping hot, milky, sweet and pretty heavy on the cardamom. If you’re averse to spice, watch out: the rawness leaves a buzzing in the mouth.
The Vegetarian, #158, Street 19. Open 10:30am - 8:30pm

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this