Ordering Beverages

China's most famous beverage is tea, and rightly so. The Chinese have been cultivating tea for thousands of years, and the methods for processing tea have remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years.

There are many types of tea within the three main categories: green tea, oolong tea and black tea. Any visit to China or Taiwan is not complete without a sampling of the fine tea that's available.

More Than Tea

But tea is not the only drink you can buy. There are all kinds of fruit juices, soft drinks, beers and wines to sample. Non-alcoholic drinks are available at coffee shops and tea stands, and bars and restaurants also serve beer, wine, and liquor.

Many drinks are served sweetened, but you can also order them without sugar (bù jiā táng) or with just a bit of sugar (bàn táng). Coffee is usually served with creamer and bags of sugar on the side. Green tea and oolong tea are usually served without sugar or milk. Black tea with milk is called "milk tea," and may be sweetened according to taste.

Here are some popular beverages you will find in China and Taiwan. Click on the link in the Pinyin column to hear the pronunciation.

English Pinyin Traditional Characters Simplified Characters
Tea chá
Black tea hóng chá 紅茶 红茶
Oolong tea wūlóng chá 烏龍茶 乌龙茶
Green tea lǜ chá 綠茶 绿茶
Coffee kāfēi 咖啡 咖啡
Black coffee hēi kāfēi 黑咖啡 黑咖啡
Cream nǎi jīng 奶精 奶精
Sugar táng
No sugar bù jiā táng 不加糖 不加糖
Half sugar bàn táng 半糖 半糖
Milk niú nǎi 牛奶 牛奶
Juice guǒ zhī 果汁 果汁
Orange juice liǔchéng zhī 柳橙汁 柳橙汁
Apple juice píngguǒ zhī 蘋果汁 苹果汁
Pineapple juice fènglí zhī 鳳梨汁 凤梨汁
Lemonade níngméng zhī 檸檬汁 柠檬汁
Watermelon juice xīguā zhī 西瓜汁 西瓜汁
Soft drinks yǐn liào 飲料 饮料
Cola kělè 可樂 可乐
Water kāi shuǐ 開水 开水
Mineral water kuàng quán shuǐ 礦泉水 矿泉水
Ice water bīng shuǐ 冰水 冰水
Ice bīng
Beer píjiǔ 啤酒 啤酒
Wine pútáo jiǔ 葡萄酒 葡萄酒
Red Wine hóng jiǔ 紅酒 红酒
White wine bái jiǔ 白酒 白酒
Sparkling wine qìpāo jiǔ 氣泡酒 气泡酒
Champagne xiāng bīn 香檳 香槟
Wine list jiǔ dān 酒單 酒单
I would like ... . yào ... . 我要... 我要... .
I will have this. Wǒ yào zhègè. 我要這個。 我要这个。