During the mooncake festival period, I wanted to ask my friend who’s on exchange in Singapore to experience something more about Singapore, or rather, the Chinese culture and whatnots. and I thought, going for a ‘proper’ tea drinking ritual might be interesting for them (and for myself too!) So here we are! (thanks to my friend who knows this place and introduced us to this whole thing!)
As you can see, it’s called Tea Chapter, located somewhere in China Town (not so helpful eh? haha)
Anyway, I never knew drinking tea could be such a long ceremony! Here are some of the steps that I managed to capture. The rest of the time, I was listening attentively (and amazed at the same time) to the lady who explained and showed us the real way to drink tea! :)
Here’s the set that you need. Btw, you’re not supposed to use the same clay pot for different types of tea! It will ruin the taste.
Fun fact #1: the older the teapot is (and the more often it is used), the shinier it becomes, because every time the tea is poured over the teapot, the clay will absorb some of it and that’s what make it shines.
And here we have a lady explaining to us how to make the tea..
Different kinds of tea require different kind of water temperature (some 90 degree, some 80 degree… and don’t ask me how one can know the water temp…) and different time to brew. And for example, the first and second rounds might need 30 seconds to brew, the third and fourth round might need 35 seconds to brew. The tea leaves could be used for 5-10 times, and some probably more, I’m not sure.
Before everything, all the teapots and glasses have to be cleansed with hot water.
Brewing is done in the clay teapot, and then it is poured to the ceramic kettle before then distributed to everyone. We ordered 3 kinds of tea, and we started with the black tea (I think because it’s the least strong taste? Not sure!).
Fun fact #2: When distributing the glasses to everyone and pouring the tea to each glass, everything has to be done in clockwise direction! Because that’s how the universes is!
Fun fact #3: the black tea that we drank was 29 years old!
This is your set! The taller glass on the left is NOT for you to drink your tea from! It’s for us to smell the tea :)
Basically there are 3 steps for smelling tea: 1) smell it when it’s hot and the tea is still inside the glass. 2) Pour the tea to the small ‘cup’ on the right, and smell the tall glass once again while it’s still hot but without any tea inside, and lastly 3) roll the glass in your hands, cool it down, and smell the glass once again.
Each time will give you different kind of smells. interestingly… ;)
and, you have to repeat this procedure EVERY time you drink another round…despite the fact that it might already be your 20th round, you just have to do it.
I found it quite, erm, tiring after some time. I guess it’s supposed to be a relaxing thing, when you have the whole afternoon with your friends or guests. In that case, it wouldn’t be so bad. Certainly it’s not something to do when you’re thirsty! haha
Fun fact #4: There are 2 ways of pouring the tea from the glass to the cup. 1) to pour as usual, and 2) to put the cup upside down on top of the glass, hold it with 2 fingers with your thumb on top of the backside of the cup and your pointing finger below the glass, and flip it quickly.
Fun fact #5: you’re supposed to only use 3 fingers to hold the cup while sipping the tea. and guys and girls have different finger positions :p
This one below is my favourite! I can’t remember the name though, but besides the fact that it’s reaallllyy pretty, it tastes fruity/flowerish too :) it’s very light too!
And because it was during the mooncake fest, they gave each of us this tea egg for free :) it tastes…uhm…interesting.
I kinda like the place! It’s a good place to spend some time to chitchat with a group of friends :)
and their tea collections.
The ladies working there were also very friendly! The one who gave us the explanation told us that her English is not that good, but nonetheless, she tried really hard to explain everything in English, sometimes broken english. But who cares, as long as we all understood her and I really appreciate her effort too :)
All in all, it’s been a great experience for me! I’d definitely want to go back there again one day to try other kinds of tea and see if I discover more things about it.