‘One cask of siu mai please!’
Amongst the din of the tea house, I managed to flag down the dim sum cart piled high with bamboo steamers of piping hot southern Chinese delicacies (known as dim sum). As we uncovered the bamboo steamers, a waft of the familiar aromatic flavours of prawn and pork hit me. As I picked up the siu mai with my chopsticks, my father poured all of us some Pu’erh tea from the ceramic teapot with a slightly cracked lid.
These are my earliest memories of drinking tea. I drank tea with my family and grandparents as we went to teahouses for dim sum on a Sunday afternoon - the Cantonese version of a Sunday roast. Dim sum and tea really do go well together. Sometimes we would have bo lei (pu’erh), sometimes we would pick heung pin (Jasmine). Yes, you read it correctly - tea is always served with food and not after a meal as an alternative to coffee! For East Asians tea is so deeply integrated in daily life that it has, for millennia, been a philosophy and way of life, especially in China, the birthplace of tea (more on this in another blog post).
" For East Asians tea is so deeply integrated into daily life that it has, for millennia, been a philosophy and way of life, especially in China, the birthplace of tea."
Naturally, tea across East Asia is enjoyed differently with its varying traditions, from Japanese green tea ceremonies, Korean tea rituals to the Chao Zhou gong fu style tea celebrated and practiced across China. Nevertheless, tea speaks the same language for us. Tea is family. Tea is harmony. Tea warms the soul. Tea is a way of life. Through the many years of living in the UK and around Europe, I have got used to sharing a cuppa with colleagues in the office, or pouring tea out of a silver teapot whilst munching on scones with clotted cream, though nothing comes close to the experience of sipping good quality, pure tea with family and friends in Hong Kong.
There is something that the humble tea leaf brings to your morning and as you refresh during the day. For one, tea brings a sustained and slower caffeine release (for you caffeine junkies!) Most of all, enjoying the huge variety of tea leaves in its purest form is a truly authentic experience, a way of life that we have treasured for millennia. You see, Tèaura is actually a very personal dream for us - we hope to share and enjoy this way of life and community with you.
… Stay tuned for more of my personal stories that I’d love to share with you!