A day trip in Mao Kong April 2011

Mao-Kong. As strange as it may sound, it is translated Cat-Empty. A famous tea mountain in Taipei city. A city where the land is scarce and expensive like gold. Small to medium sections of tea farms remain and made it a local destination.

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Teasme have a New City Store!!!

Brand New Teasme @ City Mall. High Street next to High to Hereford Food-court, opposite Glassons and Westpac Building. If you are near by, pop in and say hi.

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Hot Meal + Black Tea = Perfect Combo

Would you like some fries with that? What drinks would you like?

Here is another perfect combo for your next spiced dish – simple straight black tea. Most people have their black tea with milk, sugar and sweet food served with breakfast.  Yes.. we all know about our ‘my-home-town -blend-breakfast tea’. These teas are often blended so it creates a good round taste brewed with milk and sugar, not too extreme on either side of the scale. Suites everyone.

I found a cup of nice hot (temperature) straight black tea smooth with spicy food. Often Chinese restaurants have jasmine green, ti kuan yin, pu-erh tea or chrysanthemum tea with the food the serve. Try straight black for a change. For instance Yunnan and Keemun are my choices. These common teas might impress you by surprise.

Do you know Green Tea goes very well with Sweet Food?

If you have been to Japan you might notice there’s almost always sweet food by the green tea. In 1999, I took a Shinkansen express train to visit my friend in Sendai City, we went to a shrine by the ocean. In the middle of the winter, I experienced my first Japanese traditional tea ceremony. We waited outside setting on our lower legs facing the ocean while a lady in her kimono prepared Matcha in a large bowl inside the shrine. She delivered the teas to us on a tray, each with a few tiny blocks of sweet food wrapped in nice looking packages. We were doing the ceremony properly. We clapped hands and rotated the bowl each time after we drink the tea (we weren’t supposed to drink from the same spot, so we rotate the bowl each time). It was quite an experience.

Since then when I enjoy my green tea with sweet food, I think of that day.
Give it a try. You will see what I mean.
The photos were taken a few weeks ago. There were some pancake topped with very special Maine Maple Syrup (from Maine U.S.A) with lightly oxidised oolong called Pouchong Tea. In Teasme we categorise this tea as an Oolong tea because it has been oxidised. However, on the scale it is very close to green tea family because it is only oxidised 15-20%. Like green tea, it goes very well with sweet food.

Old PU ERH tea + Levanda

Done it, loved it. Just want to share it. North Canterbury levanda (from the farm) with 14 years old Pu Erh. Nice~ There is not much to it. Pu Erh is very easy to brew and mix well with almost any herbs. Try it and enjoy.

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Tea In Hospitality

I’ve worked in Hospitality since the mid nineties, in that time we have seen a great deal of progression and change in terms of the food and beverages we serve and the manner in which we sever them, I’ll never forget the first time I prepared a cappuccino under the instruction and supervision of my boss, who instructed me to get as much volume and body out of the milk as possible with the aim being a towering and intimidating drink that if a customer dared to pick up and drink as if it were served in a cup would surly drench there eyebrows in milk, the nirvana of this school of thought was to achieve a summit of 4-5cm over the lip of the cup (very difficult to serve in a nor westerly) during this time I observed several sculpting techniques to achieve maximum altitude with the meringue like drink? and felt that I was beginning to master the requisite skills when I began to here whispers of cafes where they treated the milk with some degree care and respect instead of as something to hide the bitter and astringent blackish brownish inhabitant of the base of the cup, places where they took pride in their short blacks this was a world gone crazy to me and yet I allowed myself to be drawn into it if only to find out their what madness they were peddling.

In early 2005 I moved to Melbourne with the intention of engaging myself in the café industry of a city with more multicultural cuisine influences and planning on bringing this experience back to Christchurch, and so I set about the age old tradition of working more than one job at a time as a new immigrant. Until this point I had stayed away from tea mostly because of childhood memories of a bitter and offensive taste accompanied by a smell like an institutional rest home. However I was pleasantly surprised as in both jobs they served loose leaf tea but in different ways.

The first place a grungy, funky wee bar in the edgy suburb of Fitzroy where they hired me solely because I was a Kiwi, served tea in a thermal glass with the tea packed inside a single serve infuser. My curiosity was further piqued by the ritual and style of my new boss’s method of service. Staff were instructed to draw water (92°C) from his retro yet fully functional Faema E55 and place the glass on the bar in front of the customer while taking the appropriate tea tin from the shelve and dosing the infuser while removing any excess tea from the exterior checking that it closed right and then placing the infuser in the glass and stirring the glass with the infuser until the colour of the tea was just beginning to leach from the strainer allowing the top of the glass to remain just hot water and giving the customer a show at the same time. Care like this for tea! I couldn’t believe it all that I knew about tea was now not enough.

My other job fuelled my imagination and desire to find my own way to innovate with tea. I had taken a position as a Barista in a chocolate café under the management of an ex-tea grader from Sri Lanka who had also experienced silver service training with Emirates and the Hilton Hotels his guidance on tea service was quite formal with the a fine bone china cup being placed first in a position one hand in from the edge of the table and with it’s handle in the 3’oclock position spoon across the top of the saucer and with it’s scoop facing up next the strainer was placed in the cup then at a forty-five degree angle a small cup to place the strainer in then a milk jug or a wee bowl of honey if required after which the pot was placed at just the right angle so that a guest might pick it up with out any effort handle set to meet there hand with ease and grace.

Both experiences have given me ideas that I will one day put into practice in my own establishment and inspiration to innovate in this ancient and venerated custom that is serving a cup of tea.

Nick Hawkins 2008-10-09

Zhong Hao’s Art Gallery and Teasme Teas

In this fall, fine art master student Zhong Hao of University of Canterbury presented Teasme teas in his art exhibition.

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