Making Yuan-yang (Coffee with Tea)

There are people who love coffee, there are people who love tea, and there are people who love both coffee and tea. But to most people, the idea of mixing coffee and tea into one is simply outrages! The most common reaction is: YUCK! Haha… I used to be disgusted at that thought of mixing coffee and tea too. But it turns out, when I visited a Hong Kong cafe, that it tastes really really great! This combination of coffee and tea is known as yuan-yang (鴛鴦).

I’ve always wondered what possessed someone to mix coffee and tea together. And I think I finally found out why! When you have awesome coffee, awesome tea, and a french press, you’re spoilt for choice. That was the situation I faced a few days ago. I want to enjoy both coffee and tea at the same time. So how? Why not mix them both?

And so I did, and it was OH-SO-AWESOME!

I’d thought I’d show you how to make yuan-yang at home, to enjoy the awesomeness of this drink.

Having made yuan-yang twice on my own, I realised that the importance is to not have two over-powering flavours. It’s really the Chinese principle of yin (passive/receptive/weak) and yang (active/strong) at work in your cup! The ideal will be to have coffee with a hint of tea – yin (the tea) complementing the yang (coffee). You cannot have two yang, i.e. two strong flavours of coffee and tea, at the same time. It tastes really really bad. The tea was so over-powering that it just made the coffee taste bad.

So… bear in mind: you want coffee that has a hint of tea flavour. That’s the goal of making yuan-yang.

The first step will be to brew coffee as per normal. In my case, I use two teaspoon full of ground coffee beans.


Pour in the hot water.


And wait for 4 minutes.


3 minutes later, when you have 1 minute before the coffee is ready…


Add your tea. Put slightly less than a teaspoon of red/Western tea leaves.


And stir!


And when your timer tells you your done, put in the plunger!


Pour it into your cup…


And add sugar and milk. I find that adding lots more milk makes for a great cup of yuan-yang.


And voila! An awesome cup of coffee-with-tea – yuan-yang!

Different people will have different taste preferences. So I do recommend experimenting with different amounts of coffee, tea, and milk to get that perfect cup. Although the first cup I brew was superbly awesome, I believe there’s still room for improvement. And so I’ll definitely be experimenting with different proportions of coffee and tea. The amount stated in this post functions as a guide to get you started on your journey of awesome yuan-yang experimentation!