Yuanyang: 'Coffee with Tea' Recipe

Cup of coffee on a table of wood.
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images
  • 12 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 2 mins
  • Yield: Two to four servings
Ratings (16)

Yuanyang is a popular coffee and tea drink from Hong Kong that is a tasty and energizing beverage. It is hard to resist the combination of homemade milk tea and fresh-brewed coffee and the recipe is incredibly easy.

Yuanyang can go by a variety of names. You might hear it as simply 'coffee with tea'€ or by the names 'Yuenyeung,' 'Yinyong,' 'Yingyong,' or 'Yin Yang.' It is a sweet and creamy drink that mixes coffee with Hong Kong Milk Tea and it has a significant jolt of caffeine.

If you travel to Hong Kong. you will discover exactly how popular Yuanyang is. It is sold by many vendors and each Yuanyang maker has their own secret recipe. This recipe captures the general flavor of this extraordinary beverage.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Mix the coffee and milk tea well.
  2. Pour into small glasses.
  3. Serve hot, or chill and serve over ice.

Vary the Coffee-Tea to Your Taste

This recipe uses a 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk tea and it's a great place to begin. However, some people prefer less coffee and more tea. You might even see some suggestions that go as far as 7 parts milk tea to 3 parts coffee.

Most of the time, you will find a happy medium between these two extremes.

It is also going to depend on the strength of your coffee as well as the type of tea brewed.

When exploring a new combination. begin with the 1:1 mix to see what you think. You can always adjust it immediately or wait until the next time you mix up a Yuanyang to fine tune your preferences.

Why is Yuanyang So Popular?

The history and modern culture in Hong Kong have fueled the popularity of milk tea and the Yuanyang drink. 

One must remember that from 1839 until 1997, Hong Kong was under British rule. During this time, many people on the island adopted not only capitalism but British customs as well. Among those is the famous afternoon tea.

Some of the favored teas for afternoon tea are the black teas of Ceylon and Assam. These, particularly Assam, are preferred with a little milk and sugar for drinks generally known as 'milk teas.' This caught on in Hong Kong and milk tea quickly became a favorite beverage.

Fast forward to Hong Kong in the modern day. It is a place that rarely sleeps and is filled with busy people living busy lives. As we all know, sometimes an extra bit of caffeine helps tremendously during the day and Yuanyang came in to fill that need.

Assam tea can have some of the highest levels (around 86 mg per cup) of caffeine among black teas and Ceylon is not too far behind at about 56 mg. When these teas are combined with a drip coffee that can reach 130 mg per cup, the effect is noticeable. It truly is a great pick-me-up drink that goes down a little easier thanks to the sweetened milk.