Chinese People are Queueing Hours for this Cheese Tea

Gong Cha is officially dead.

The popular milk cap tea shop known for its addictive – if not nauseating – cream-topped brews has, at long last, been assailed by the explosive popularity of Hey Tea.

To say Hey Tea has a cult following might be an understatement. In the last few months, it’s gone from a small street-side shop in Jiangmen, Guangdong to a nationwide sensation. In Shanghai, the chain’s popularity has spawned knock-offs around the city, including at least two branches of “Hi Tea.” And just across the road from the Tianzifang location is “Hey Juice,” with numerous other locations listed on Dianping (though it’s unclear if Hey Juice was around before Hey Tea).

The most confounding thing about Xi Cha (喜茶), as it’s known in Mandarin, however, is how long people are willing to queue for it: nearly two hours, in most cases.

But is Hey Tea really that good or are people just trying to look cool by posting photos with its ultra-slim cup?

We decided to find out.

To attempt to understand the mindset of a typical Hey Tea enthusiast, we ventured deep into classic chou doufu-consuming mallrat territory: China Plaza in Guangzhou. There, on the sixth floor, lies a celestial Mecca of Hey Tea.