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The milk tea brand made a stir in Shanghai due to unusual ingredients, and now its fragrant beverages are being sold in Hangzhou. The name ayi means middle-aged woman but also can refer to domestic helper.
Signature varieties are jiuniang (酒酿) milk tea and red glutinous rice milk tea. They include natural food ingredients without chemical additives, the company says.
Jiuniang is fermented glutinous rice, which is a sweet, soupy traditional snack made of glutinous rice and yeast. It is often mixed with osmanthus flowers in the cuisines of Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
Before the Ayi brand, milk tea was flavored only with things like fruit pulp. The addition of jiuniang and red glutinous rice has led to imitation by other stores.