Liangcha, South China's Favorite Bitter Summer Drink

By Phoebe Kut, August 31, 2020

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This summer, you were probably overindulging. Admit it – desserts, booze and late-night shaokao have been part of your weekly routine in China. 

Well, what better way to ‘clear the heat’ then to pick up some liangcha (凉茶) or ‘cool tea.’ Liangcha is a common summer drink in South China which can usually be found at street-side vendors. 


You can spot these herbal tea shops from the kettle-lined storefront along with their price tag, which is usually around RMB5-15. Customers can sip these dark, bitter elixirs from bowls or to-go plastic bottles. There is a Chinese saying, “There are 100 different kinds of herbal tea in 100 different shops” as there is no fixed formula across vendors. Here, we highlight three popular flavors and their benefits: 


24 Flavors 二十四味

This bitter tonic is composed of, you guessed it, 24 ingredients. It’s commonly made with 10-28 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ingredients and used to help clear toxins and heat in the body. It can also aid digestion, sore throats and colds. 

Clearing ‘Dampness’ Tea 祛湿茶

TCM suggests that there are certain foods that make our internal systems ‘damp,’ or phlegmy which can lead to a general imbalance. This type of tea is good for those who have bad breath and sallow complexions.

Wuhua Cha 五花茶

Wuhua Cha is a sweeter and lighter remedy usually made from honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, Sophora japonica, kapok and plumeria. It’s good for ‘clearing heat,’ headaches, dizziness and dry throats.

READ MORE: 8 Chinese Aphrodisiacs to Help You Get it On

[Images via That’s]

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