All things Chinese tea, food and culture.

Hello Tea Cup

Hello Tea Cup

An authentic magazine about all things tea, food and Chinese culture.

Recent Tea Posts

The History The Menghai Tea Factory,  Taetea (Dayi)

The History The Menghai Tea Factory, Taetea (Dayi)

Yunnan Taetea (Dayi) Group is one of the most well-known pu erh tea manufacturers in the world. The group owns several companies including the famous Menghai Tea Factory. Located in Xishuangbanna in the Southwest Yunnan the factory has been providing quality tea for over 70 […]

What Brewed Tea Leaves Tell You About The Quality of Tea

What Brewed Tea Leaves Tell You About The Quality of Tea

Brewed wet tea leaves (Yedi, 叶底) contains a lot of information about the tea that you’re drinking. Too often they’re simply ignored and discarded. Take a careful look at those wet leaves, and it can tell you more about its quality and how it was […]

Why Jiaogulan is also known as the Immortality Herb: Video

Why Jiaogulan is also known as the Immortality Herb: Video

Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a plant that grows in Southern China. Japanese researchers discovered this herb while looking for a natural sweetener. Yet, they discovered other more powerful health benefits. Joe Hollis gives a short introduction of this medicinal plant.

The History of Xiaguan Tuocha

The History of Xiaguan Tuocha

Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha (Group) Co., Ltd. is a pu erh factory that’s prominent in the tea industry. The company is the result of a merger of many small factories in the Xiaguan district of Dali, Yunnan. The earliest company was established in 1902, meaning that […]

8 Major Raw Materials Used in Teaware!

8 Major Raw Materials Used in Teaware!

Teaware Meaning The modern definition of teaware (Cha Ju, 茶具) is different from the ancient times. Teaware used to refer to the various tools used in tea production and consumption, including tea picking, making, drinking, storage etc. Nowadays, teaware only refers to tea utensils, including […]

8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

You can’t tackle your oral hygiene without taking your diet into account. The food and drinks that we consume have a direct impact on our health, particularly on our teeth and gums. In recent times the sugar content in foods has gone up, making the fight against gum disease and tooth decay harder. Luckily there are a lot of natural products that won’t harm your teeth and will help in improving your health. Green tea is one of those products.

Green tea has been consumed for its health benefits and healing properties by people in countries like Japan, China, and India for centuries. Research has discovered that green tea has a preventative and therapeutic effect on a wide range of health problems such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, high cholesterol, skin disorders, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, liver disorders and dementia.

Here are 8 Dental Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

1. Prevents Plaque

Plaque is a sticky deposit on the teeth, which allows the microbes to proliferate on it that can lead to tooth decay. Green tea is made up of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can ward off the bacteria that causes dental plaque.

2. Prevents Dental Cavities

Green tea controls the levels of bacteria in your mouth as well as reducing the amount of dental plaque which can be helpful to prevent cavities. Research indicates that people were tested after they gave their mouth a 5 minute rinse with green tea. The tested patients contained less bacteria and acid in their mouths as well as reducing the bleeding of their gums. Research has found that drinking green tea helps in reducing tooth decay and cavities.

3. Promotes Gum Health

Green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties help control periodontal gum disease. A Japanese study consisting of 1,000 men discovered that those who drank green tea on a regular basis tended to have healthier gums than the ones that did not. A German study also discovered similar results with people who were requested to chew sweets that had extracts of green tea. Adding sugar or sweetener can reverse the health benefits of green tea.

4. Strengthens Your Teeth

Moreover, drinking tea can boost bone health including your teeth! People in the ages of 40-64 who regularly drank a single cup of unsweetened green tea everyday are less prone to losing their teeth as compared those that drank coffee.

Researchers have discovered that the antimicrobial molecules called catechins can kill the bacteria which is responsible for gum disease and tooth decay, preventing loss of teeth and oral health problems.

5. Reduces the Risk of Oral Cancer

The rich antioxidants and other properties of green tea help protect against cellular damage and cancerous tumour growth. A study was conducted at the University of Texas whereby green tea extract was given to patients who were suffering from precancerous lesions in their mouths which slows down their progression to oral cancer.

6. Good Breath and Less Odour

Green tea has been associated with better smelling breath as it destroys the microbes that stink up our mouths. A study conducted by the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry measured the level of smelly compounds in people’s mouths after they were given green tea powder. Green tea is much better than chewing gums, mints and parsley seed oil according to this study. Also read: Tea for Bad Breath

7. No Loss of Teeth

Green tea prevents gum disease and cavities so in the long run it will also help you retain your teeth as well. A study conducted in Japan stated that men and women who drank more cups of green tea everyday were a lot more likely to retain their teeth.

8. Stay Hydrated

Keeping your teeth naturally hydrated is very helpful in preventing oral decay as the water keeps on washing and rinsing off the food particles that cause plaque and tartar build up later. Drinking green tea is a great way to keep your mouth clean.

If you enjoy tea then you should reach for green tea next time you put some water on the boil some. Drinking green tea in its unsweetened form is best.

Author Bio: Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends. 

Homemade Hawthorn Jam Recipe DIY

Homemade Hawthorn Jam Recipe DIY

Hawthorn berry is full of vitamin C, carotene and other antioxidants. These little red fruits can block and reduce the formation of free radicals, enhance our body’s immunity, help reducing blood pressure, and help indigestion. Although with all these health benefits, fresh hawthorn berry is […]

Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Drinking Chrysanthemum tea has a long history in Chinese culture. It is well known for its soothing aroma and multiple benefits for the human body including detoxification, clearing up the hot flashes, improving eyesight, relieving symptoms of sore throat and fever. But did you know […]

8 Hunan Cuisine Dishes To Order When Travelling in China

8 Hunan Cuisine Dishes To Order When Travelling in China

The Hunan cuisine (湖南菜/湘菜) is best known for its common use of chili peppers. Due to its spicy dishes, it’s often compared with the Sichuan cuisine.

If you ask any Chinese what their impression of Hunan food is, they will most likely tell you one word: spicy. This kitchen is also often referred to as the “Xiang cuisine” and is supported by many spicy food lovers.

Unlike the Sichuan province’ numbingly spicy (Ma La, 麻辣), Hunan dishes are described as “dry spicy” (Gan La, 干辣), meaning purely spicy. Apart from this trait, Hunan cuisine uses various cooking ingredients thanks to its high agriculture output. As the ingredients change with seasons, the menu changes too.

Stir-fry, braise, stew, smoke and ferment are the usual cooking methods in Hunan food. Hunan cuisine has more to offer than just being spicy. Let’s find out now!

1. Fish Head with Chopped Chili (Duo Jia Yu Tou, 剁椒鱼头)

Fish Head with Chopped Chili Duo Jia Yu Tou 剁椒鱼头

The fish used in this dish is called bighead carp. Yes it has a big head with meat on it which is according to the Chinese the tastiest part of its body. The dish is not as spicy as it looks because it used chopped chilies instead of fresh ones. Chopped chili is an ingredient that’s widely used in Hunan cuisine which is made of fermented chili peppers, salt, garlic and ginger. It is vinegary, salty, flavourfully spicy. The combination of red hot chopped chili and white fresh fish head creates a special mouthwatering aroma. It’s very appetising!

2. Red Braised Pork (Hong Shao Rou, 红烧肉)

Red Braised Pork Hong Shao Rou 红烧肉
Allegedly, red braised pork was Chairman Mao’s favourite dish, and it shows on the menu of many restaurants as Mao’s red braised pork. Pork belly is the key of the dish, along with ginger, garlic, chili peppers, sugar, spices, cooking wine, and light and dark soy sauce.

I can see why Mao loved this dish. The meat is braised long enough to make sure when you take a bite, it would be so soft that could melt in the mouth. The sauce is savoury, thick, and sweet at the same time, complimenting the delicious morsels of meat. It is a hearty dish I definitely recommend.

3. Stinky Tofu (Chou Dou Fu, 臭豆腐)

Stinky Tofu Chou Dou Fu 臭豆腐
This traditional Chinese street snack has a daunting name along with its special odor. However, the Changsha-style stinky tofu from Hunan Province smells less pungent, and it has a distinct look – all black! The colour comes from the ingredients used in the brine during the fermentation process of the tofu. Although it smells stinky, the tofu tastes light itself.

The Changsha- style stinky tofu is usually consumed deep-fried with the special sauce which to me is the soul of this dish. Each cube of deep-fried stinky tofu is crispy on the outside, and with its skin poked through, the inside is soft and flavourful with the sauce coming in, also the chili and pickled vegetables add more layers to the taste.

It is often compared with blue cheese, some people love it, some people hate it. Are you curious now? You’ll have to try some and see!

4. Pearl Meatballs (Zhen Zhu Rou Wan, 珍珠肉丸)

Pearl Meatballs Zhen Zhu Rou Wan 珍珠肉丸
The name of this dish comes from its lovely appearance: the meatballs are wrapped with soaked glutinous rice and steamed on lotus leaves. They look just like pearls. You can see this dish at all the banquets and New Year dinners in Hunan and Hubei region, because it represents a “happy reunion”. Not strange it’s so popular, as Chinese often work in cities far from their families.

Lotus roots and water chestnuts are usually added in the minced pork for some fresh flavour. They are one of the reason I love this dish – the crunchy surprise! The texture of the meatballs gets more interesting with the pleasantly chewy glutinous rice, and the taste is unique and delicate, absolutely delicious.

5. Shredded Pork with Green Pepper (Nong Jia Xiao Chao Rou, 农家小炒肉)


This dish is probably the most frequently ordered dish in Hunan restaurants, because everyone just loves it! Finger-sized green pepper, green garlic and thin slices of side pork are stir-fired together, nothing fancy, but it is often the simplest thing that moves the heart. I like the peppery and garlicky aroma, and the pork is savoury and tender because of the short marinating before cooking. It’s a great choice – not too light, not too heavy, it is just right!

6. Hand-Torn Cabbage (Shou Si Bao Cai, 手撕包菜)

Hand-Torn Cabbage Shou Si Bao Cai 手撕包菜
Originated from Hunan, hand-torn cabbage is a very popular vegetable dish through-out China, even for kids! The authentic way of making this dish is to tear the cabbage leaves into small pieces with hands, rather than chopping them with a knife. It is to make the edges of the leaves irregular, which is better for soaking up the sauce. Also it gives some variations to the texture. It tastes crisp, savory with a zing to your palate. Moreover, it is quite easy to prepare.

7. Chestnut and Pak Choi Stir-fry (Ban Li Shao Cai Xin, 板栗烧菜心)

Chestnut and Pak Choi Stir-fry Ban Li Shao Cai Xin 板栗烧菜心
This is a simple and unique specialty of Hunan cuisine. Sounds like an interesting pairing, right? It’s not hard to prepare. First Deep dry the chestnuts for a couple of minutes then steam for 10 minutes, this way they won’t fall apart during the process later. Then stir fry them with tender pak choi, season with salt and ground pepper. In the end, put in the mixture of cornstarch and water, sprinkle some sesame oil, voila! You are now looking at a pleasant dish with different textures that tastes savoury yet sweet. You can add some meat to the dish for a more complex taste.

8. Beer-braised Duck (Pi Jiu Ya, 啤酒鸭)

Beer-braised Duck Pi Jiu Ya 啤酒鸭
You may have tried coq au vin, but maybe it’s the first time you hear about beer-braised duck. These two dishes have the same concept – they both use alcohol to add zest to the food as well as tenderize the meat. Beer, mostly larger, makes it easier for the fragrance of the spices such as star anise, cinnamon bark and Sichuan pepper to extract, which gives the dish a fully developed flavour. The dish is great with just beer, duck and spices, but it goes well with different vegetable too – I enjoyed it with shiitake mushroom and cucumber, it was totally succulent!

That’s it! I hope there’s a dish that inspired you to try out yourself at home or order in a Hunan restaurant. Spicy food contains a lot of heat though, so it’s good to drink some cooling pu erh or Chrysanthemum flower tea to flush the heat!

Pairing Cakes with Tea

Pairing Cakes with Tea

If you love tea, and you want to know what food goes well with tea, you simply can’t miss out on delicious cakes. Yet, every cake is different and depending on the taste profile, you’ll want to pair with the right tea. For tea and […]