Guangzhou Cafe Review: NAGI Tea House

By Jocelyn Richards, September 25, 2017

2 0

The Place

‘Not for all the tea in China’ – a phrase that presumes there’s a lot of tea in China. And there is, obviously. But classic teahouses? Not so much anymore (Hey Tea doesn’t count, by the way).

In a country where Starbucks has brazenly attempted to turn the traditional beverage order on its head, Chinese tea – at least among trend-seeking youth – has largely been replaced by its bitterer, more caffeinated and generally hipper cousin.

That’s where NAGI comes in. A boutique tea and dessert cafe, its mission is to revive China’s traditional tea culture by repackaging it as a chic, refined concept. You know, to make tea #Instacool again.

“We want to be a model of this industry,” Trista Sun tells us at a grand re-opening following NAGI’s recent renovations. “To make tea trendy and modern.”

Nagi-exterior-vibe

Nagi is actually a Japanese word meaning ‘calm,’ but Sun says their brand name stands for ‘nature’ (referring to the source of all ingredients used), ‘artisan’ (desserts are handmade in-house), ‘grace’ (staff practice good etiquette) and ‘ingenuity.’

The Food

When we heard NAGI wasn’t interested in attracting wanghong – those Internet stars who come solely to snap pics with the decor and leave their drinks unfinished – we knew this was a shop that took its beverages seriously. The sale alone is not enough – NAGI hopes patrons will genuinely enjoy the tea and return for more. So did we?

It’s worth mentioning that tea naturally helps counteract the effects of oily foods, so we found the combination of light desserts and pour-over tea even more satisfying than the popular coffee-and-donuts pairing.

NAGI has done the legwork for you and matched its baked goods with specific teas in sets, but you’re also free to order whatever combo you wish.

Nagi-black-tea

Sun suggested we try the Rose Aroma made with NAGI’s black tea, one of the shop’s classic pour-overs (all priced at RMB38, which includes two refills of hot water). Though consuming rose-flavored anything reminds us of eating potpourri, the potent black tea succeeded in masking some of the floral sweetness.

If you think you like green tea, be daring and try tieguanyin instead – a type of Oolong tea that is more aromatic and harder to find fresh outside of China. 

Nagi-pour-over-tea

On sultry days, cold teas are enticing, and we highly recommend the new iced white tea (RMB35). It’s kind of like cold brew coffee, in that it has been steeped and chilled ahead of time to seal in the flavor. 

Remember, this isn’t Hey Tea – no sugar is added to the beverages and any cheese in NAGI’s kitchen is reserved for the cakes alone.

Nagi-white-tea

Desserts are just as much the highlight here as tea, so indulge in a couple guiltlessly knowing they’re all low in sugar. Our picks? The heavenly coconut pineapple mousse (RMB38), daily cream-filled puff (RMB25) and Earl Grey (RMB25) or matcha (RMB20) cupcakes.

Nagi-pineapple-and-coconut-mousse

The Vibe

NAGI is a laid-back, quiet little haven on Huale Lu, a few doors down from The Paddy Field. There’s no need to dress up or know anything about Chinese tea culture – Sun and the staff will happily fill you in. Just stop by with a friend (or even better, a copy of That’s) and settle in.

Price: RMB50
Who’s going: trendy youth, people who know how to pao cha
Good for: classic Chinese tea paired with handmade desserts
Nearest metro: Taojin (Exit B), 3 minutes

See listing for NAGI.

[Cover image via NAGI; other photos by Jocelyn Richards]

more news

Guangzhou Restaurant Review: Musta Kebab

Located on Yangji's main street, Musta Kebab is the newest non-Chinese slash non-fast food entrant.

Guangzhou Districts Reopen Dine-in Service

Restaurants and bars will need to check diner's health codes and temperatures.

Check Out These Food and Drink Deals Post Guangzhou Lockdown

With F&B venues officially reopening for dine-in services, here are some deals that we're looking to revisit.

Guangzhou F&B Community Reacts to New COVID-19 Case Cluster

We reached out to multiple familiar faces in the Guangzhou F&B community to learn how they've battled COVID-19.

Your Guide to Home Deliveries During Guangzhou COVID-19 Outbreak

With dine-in services suspended at the moment in multiple districts, here are several guides to help you navigate Chinese delivery apps.

Guangzhou Cafe Review: Benwo Cafe

Benwo Cafe is the definition of a hidden spot.

Guangzhou Cafe Review: Waiting Coffee

Don’t be fooled by the name – Waiting Coffee offers up much more than Americanos and those basic desserts that your friend Kathy can make in her sleep.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsGuangzhou for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Guangzhou With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's !

Visit the archives