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"Lei cha (Chinese: 擂茶; pinyin: léi chá; literally: "ground tea"; pronounced [lěi ʈʂʰǎ]) or ground tea is a traditional Southern Chinese tea-based beverage or gruel. The custom of Lei cha began in the Three Kingdoms period or even Han Dynasty. It is very prevalent among Hakka people in Hakka regions of Taiwan. It is brought by Hakka people to Taiwan, Malaysia, and any locales with a substantial Hakka diaspora population. Besides Hakka Lei cha, Lei cha is also very traditional among Hunanese people in Northern part of Hunan Province of Mainland China. So, the Lei cha custom in China has two different kinds: Hakka Lei cha; and Hunan Lei cha. Wikipedia

It is often referred to as "Thunder Rice Tea" as the 'Lei" character translates as 'Thunder' when combined with another character. Without it, it means beat, grind or pestle, which is the main process involved with making this delicious concoction.

Lei cha is not the same as Taiwanese tea because there are always other ingredients. Ground tea consists of a mix of tea leaves and herbs that are ground together with various roasted nuts, seeds, grains, and flavorings."


Ground tea is a varying mix of:

  • tea leaves – any type of tea leaf can be used, but the most popular and common are either Green tea or Oolong; for ease of use, sometimes matcha (finely milled green tea) is used
  • roasted nuts, legumes and seeds – the most commonly used are peanuts, mung beans, and sesame; other examples include soybeans, pinenuts, Pumpkin seeds,
  • sunflower seeds, Lentils, lotus seeds
  • roasted grains – examples: cooked or puffed rice, wheat
  • herbs and flavorings – examples: ginger, salt
  • Chinese herbal medicine may be included for health purposes


The ingredients are ground in a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, or in a large earthenware basin with a wooden stick. The mix should be reduced to a powder that resembles fine cornmeal.

The powder is then placed into a serving bowl and hot water is stirred into it such that a thin soup-like beverage is produced.


Watch: Making Hakka Thunder Rice Tea / 'Hakka Luicha' / 'Kejia Leicha' / 客家擂茶


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