China’s leading bubble tea brand Hey Tea dropped an exclusive new beverage in honour of the upcoming Qingming Festival (also known as the Tomb-sweeping Day), which falls on April 5 this year.
From April 2-6, bubble tea enthusiasts can get their hands on the limited-edition Qingming tea for 18RMB (2.60 USD). Hey Tea announced the arrival of the limited offer on Weibo, where many users commented enthusiastically that their plans for Tomb-sweeping Day are simply to enjoy a cup of Hey Tea.
The product’s name “a splash of qingtuan” is inspired by the recent boom in popularity of the traditional snack qingtuan. These green dumplings are typically filled with sweet red or black bean paste and used to be primarily associated with Qingming Festival due to the ingredients becoming ripe around this time of year.
Traditionally the dough for qingtuan is made by mixing glutinous rice with the herb aicao (Chinese mugwort), giving the snack its bright green appearance. Now it is usually made with matcha instead. Like the modern version of qingtuan, Hey Tea’s limited-edition Qingming beverage is matcha-flavoured and includes a dollop of red bean paste to add extra sweetness.
According to data from the food delivery app Ele.me, takeaway orders for qingtuan have doubled year-on-year in the run-up to the holiday. Now there are more flavours available than ever before, with snack brands releasing taste innovations inspired by bubble tea menus, such as taro, pearl tea, pumpkin cheese, and mango qingtuan. There are even savoury flavour options including snail noodles and meat floss.
Hey Tea has been successful at tapping into China’s Gen Z using not only seasonal offers but also drinks inspired by hit TV shows like last year’s dynastic romance drama Menghualu. Hey Tea has also been promoting traditional Chinese tea-drinking culture, a shrewd move amid the rise of Wei Lu Zhu Cha, a fad involving meticulous tea roasting paired with tea house aesthetics which has been shared widely on Chinese social media.