Chinese Tea Eggs (Cha Ye Dan)



I love these more than can be described in words.  Everything about them is magic:  the intoxicating scents of smoked tea and star anise that meander through the entire house, the beautiful marbling, even the shells are gorgeous.    And this is all before they’re ready to eat.  It is an almost torturous wait…

This recipe uses Lapsang Souchong tea which is smoked.  It is phenomenal.   I refer to it as the single malt scotch of teas.  If you don’t have it on hand or can’t find it, use any black tea.  The eggs will still be delicious.  Even tea bags will work — use 4.

Chinese Tea Eggs (Cha Ye Dan)

Chinese Tea Eggs (Cha Ye Dan)


  • 12 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups of water -- enough to cover eggs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Lapsang Souchong tea leaves (8 grams)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken roughly into pieces
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Using a medium saucepan, add eggs and water -- just enough water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil. Cook for 8 minutes.Remove from heat.
  2. Remove eggs from water, leaving the cooking water in the saucepan.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the water that remains in the saucepan.
  4. Crack eggs gently with the back of a spoon or dull edge of a knife. Don't crack them so much that the shell falls off, but crack them enough to allow the liquid to seep through. It takes a little practice. If the shell does fall off in places, the marbling might be disrupted but they will still taste amazing!
  5. Place the eggs back into the pot with the now-seasoned water. Cover and simmer over low heat for one hour.
  6. Remove from heat and allow eggs to steep overnight.
  7. After their overnight soak, remove the eggs from liquid.
  8. Serve with additional soy sauce, if desired.

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