Hongkongers love yum cha (literal translation: "drink tea"). Going for yum cha on weekends is a common family leisure activity.

Enjoying typical dim sum like shrimp dumplings, siu mai and barbecued pork buns with a pot of aromatic hot tea is very popular in the city.

In fact, yum cha is more than a pastime. Drinking the "right" tea is good for health, while drinking the "wrong" tea could cause physiological disorders. For instance, those who have a cold constitution may feel dizzy and suffer from a stomach-ache after drinking Longjing or Shoumei tea; and those who have a hot constitution may have a bitter taste in the mouth and get acne after drinking black tea. What are the reasons for this? The answer is very simple: some kinds of tea are hot while others are cold in nature and they differ in efficacy. Those with a cold constitution should not drink tea of a cold nature and vice versa.

Making good use of different types of tea, or mixing and matching tea with the right floral or herbal ingredients can help prevent or treat diseases as well as keep you in good shape. Such useful tips for both leisure time and healthy living are known as "tea therapy".

The following is a list of tea types and their efficacies for your reference:

Jinjunmei

Jinjunmei, a premium black tea that has become very popular in recent years, is a subspecies of Lapsang Souchong from Wuyishan. It is a product of pure wild bud tips modified and processed with traditional craftsmanship. Its gold-yellow-black leaves are tight and slender. The brew has a rich and strong aroma as well as a mellow and sweet flavour, leaving a lovely, lingering aftertaste.

Warm in nature, Jinjunmei has a warming effect on yang and the stomach, nourishing blood and dispersing cold, so it is suitable for those with a cold constitution, cold limbs as well as cold intolerance. It is also good for those who suffer from stomach cold and deficiency syndrome that is accompanied by cold pain in the stomach duct, poor appetite and chronic fatigue. Drinking Jinjunmei in autumn and winter can help dispel cold from and bring warmth to the body.

Biluochun

Biluochun is a non-fermented green tea grown in the Dongting mountain region adjacent to Taihu Lake. Its leaves are emerald green, tight and slender, spiralling like snails. The brew is light green in colour, with an overwhelming fragrance.

Cold in nature, Biluochun is invigorating, mind-refreshing, heat-clearing, detoxifying and thirst-quenching. It is suitable for those with excessive intake of hot and spicy food causing accumulated heat in the stomach, a craving for cold drinks, thirst, bad breath as well as swollen and painful gums. Adding golden lotus to the brew can strengthen its efficacy in eliminating stomach heat, producing saliva and quenching thirst.

Shoumei

Shoumei, a lightly fermented white tea, looks like the eyebrow of a man of longevity. Its buds are strong but tender, and the brew is orange yellow with a mellow and brisk taste. Top-grade Shoumei, also called Gongmei, is made from tea buds. Cold in nature, Shoumei is effective in clearing heat, detoxifying, producing saliva, quenching thirst, reducing summer heat and facilitating urination. A healthy summer drink, it relieves loss of body fluid due to summer heat, soothes dry mouths and parched throats as well as cures painful urination.  

Shoumei is rather common among the tea varieties available in restaurants. While it is good for those with an oily, acne-prone face and a damp-heat constitution, it is unsuitable for those suffering from loose stools and cold limbs as they suffer from deficiency-cold of the spleen and the stomach. Shoumei can be mixed and matched with wild chrysanthemum or calendula to enhance its efficacy in clearing heat and promoting diuresis. Drinking a cup of Shoumei daily, which is easy to do, is good for health. 

Baihao Yinzhen

Baihao Yinzhen, a precious species of white tea, is produced in Fuding County, Fujian Province. It resembles a silver needle fully covered with white hair and its brew is light in colour. Cold in nature, it is effective in clearing heat and detoxifying, producing saliva and quenching thirst, as well as improving dental health. There is a folk recipe for double-boiled vintage Baihao Yinzhen with rock sugar, which can cure heat symptom-complexes such as fever, sore throat, furuncles and carbuncles. It is also good for swollen and painful gums as well as prevention of tooth decay. According to today's research, Baihao Yinzhen is rich in fluoride, which can enhance acid resistance and minimise tooth decay.