What Kind of Tea is Served in Chinese Restaurants?

Tea is, of course, a staple of Chinese cuisine, so it’s very commonly found at Chinese restaurants, but if you haven’t been to one of those restaurants before, then you may be wondering exactly what type of tea they will be serving.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is probably the tea you’ll find most often at Chinese restaurants in the United States of America.

The wide range of flavor provided by oolong tea appeals to a large variety of people and is inherently Chinese, so it makes sense from a branding viewpoint.

You’ll typically find darker oolong teas at most Chinese restaurants, but you may find other varieties at higher-end restaurants.

tie guan yin oolong tea
Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea

Green Tea

If you’re not a fan of oolong tea, or are looking for something lighter in flavor, many Chinese restaurants will also have green tea available upon request.

Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea
Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea

Black Tea

In my experience, black tea is less commonly found at Chinese restaurants.

It does go well with many of the foods they serve, but unless they serve a rare tea varietal, it doesn’t really offer anything unique to the experience since black tea is served just about everywhere.

Tao of Tea Golden Monkey Black Tea
Tao of Tea Golden Monkey Black Tea

Puer Tea

Although the popularity of puer tea is growing in the United States of America, it is still an uncommon find in much of the country. You will, however, find this tea in many restaurants in Yunnan, Hong Kong, and many other regions of China.

It is sometimes served in very high-end restaurants, but it isn’t nearly as common as the other types of tea mentioned in this article.

Gu Hua Sheng Puer Tea
Gu Hua Sheng Puer Tea

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, most restaurants will usually serve you whatever cheap teabags they can purchase in bulk.

Sometimes higher-end restaurants have comparatively better quality tea, but those restaurants are often either expensive or hard to find.

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