Once a friend asked me, “Which would you prefer; coffee or tea?” I had never thought about this before as I always considered both beverages irresistible in their own way. I replied casually with, “I like both.” Basically, I am a passionate coffee drinker in the morning and would usually prefer tea in the afternoon or evening. But as a proud coffee lover, I have a secret: I sometimes crave for tea in the morning over coffee. I have even had the dilemma of whether I would want to start the day with a strong cup of coffee or a delicate cup of tea?

If you’re having the same dilemma between having tea or coffee in the morning, I might just have the solution for you. You know where I am going with this…

What about mixing both?

Little did I know that Hong Kong Style Yuanyang is a coffee-tea beverage – made of 3 parts of coffee and 7 parts of black tea. Yuanyang refers to mandarin ducks.

Aren’t they the cutest couple?!

The name of the beverage is adopted from the fact that two ducks having different appearance are always seen in pairs; it’s the concept of yin and yang where one complements the other. This was an insightful concept and made me even more excited to try.

In fact, this is synonymous to teaffee in the US, Kopi Cham in Malaysian or Spreeze in Ethiopia. If you’ve never heard about these, don’t worry; you’re not the only one. It’s just another opportunity to try these recipes out and throw your boring coffee or tea routine out the window.

Kopi Cham

What You Need

  • Coffee
  • 1 teabag (Black – preferably Assam, otherwise your regular choice of black tea)
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Sugar (optional for coffee)

How to Prepare

  • Brew your coffee and tea separately. Let them simmer for a few minutes.
  • The ratio of coffee to tea is important in this recipe and would have to depend on your preference. Generally, you would want the tea to be as equally strong as the coffee. I brewed one cup of coffee to one teabag of tea.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk into the brewed tea. You can add sugar to the coffee but I would focus making brewed tea sweet as I would prefer it.
  • Mix the coffee and tea in a cup or a glass.
  • Stir, serve and enjoy!
  • You can also serve this cold with ice.

The Verdict

Essentially, it looks like tea with milk.

From the first sip, I could tell that the coffee was the yin – stronger and prevalent – while the tea was the yang. Over time, I was surprised that the taste of the tea came out as strong as the coffee; I thought the coffee would dominate the flavour throughout the experience. The bitterness of the coffee was reduced in a way that made it tolerable for those who don’t fancy coffee at all. As I used a small amount of condensed milk, the Yuanyang wasn’t as sweet as you would expect from milk tea. Some people use milk and sugar – the English style – to make the tea but I personally prefer condensed milk which gives a creamier texture to the beverage. I can’t pinpoint exactly what the aftertaste was, but it ended with the bitterness from the coffee rather than the tea.

Is it something that I would recommend to coffee or/and tea lovers? Yes! Get yourself cultured in the kitchen. It may be an acquired taste just like any of the other recipes I have shared with you before. It’s easy to make; it doesn’t need any special ingredient.

And let’s just put the “duel” on which beverage is better to rest, shall we?


Syaza is a freelance writer whose life revolves around coffee, cats and heartwarming stories.