tea shop in HK
If conversations and tea go together then this is the grandmother of all teas. It can become the topic.
It has become fashionable to drink Chinese green tea here in India. Almost to the point of having snob value. But I like to drink it for its lightness (this may not be the ‘fashionable’ word). I realised that drinking lots of chai in the winter days was good up to a point. Too many cups and I would not be feeling very good. Tea is diuretic so, actually makes your body hungry for water. Not quite the thirst quencher. As it is, I drink way too little water in the winter.
Chinese tea was the perfect answer. No sugar, no milk. Just a fragrant warm brew, to rehydrate and refresh. I think that a hot cup-that-cheers in the hand makes me appreciate the Delhi winters that much more.
tea-tasting session, and the tea I bought
On a visit to HK last year I visited this quaint tea shop full of beautiful tea accessories and of course, varieties of tea. The tiny attendant spent the lunch hour with me explaining the process of brewing the tea and patiently served me a good many cups. While there were the usual floral jasmine and peony green teas, the one that was really exotic was this Jasmine ball tea.
As it brewed, it ‘flowered’! I had to have it. At HK$100 for 75gm, it was not cheap. I don’t get to use it often because one ‘ball’ can make up to 2l of tea! And even I cannot drink that much tea. Nobody in this house shares in any snobbish time-pass. TH doesn’t care for any kind of tea, for that matter.So, when his bunch of friends presented themselves, it was a great opportunity to show off this spectacular tea. And thankfully, they were all ‘up’ for it! A joke (at my cost) had them all awake at midnight. We could use a warm brew but not anything that might keep us up through the night.
Out came the cameras (who do you think was photographing now?!) as I brought in the carafe. And amazed, we watched the blooming of the tea.
Jasmine Ball is made by the method of ‘absorbing fragrance’ with white tea. It layers jasmine flowers on to a fresh peony sprout. Also inside is a flower called the ‘thousand red’. While brewing the sprout unfurls like a flower! It is a bright yellow tea with a lingering jasmine fragrance. This mild tea is believed to have a cooling effect on the body. Just what we needed after a day of shopping, cooking, and wild partying.
Method (similar to all Chinese green teas):
Rinse tea with a little hot water. Pour more hot water. Brew for 30 sec. Pour into cups. Each ball may be brewed 5-6 times, to get about 1.5-2l of tea!
Serve in dainty china.