This is a hidden gem in Sheung Wan. It is tucked away in an inconspicuous building on Po Yan Street. I’m sure I must have walked past it before, but never noticed it.
It is a little Oasis hidden away from the hot and busy city. You pass through a narrow corridor into a room that feels as if you are in a Chinese backyard garden. It is decorated with classic wooden furniture and window frames from China that make this windowless room appear grand, calming and very relaxing.
Along the walls are roof tiles from old houses – it really looks as if you are sitting in a backward that’s surrounded by old houses.
We met the founder Ivan Chiu Chi-ming, who is a tea connoisseur with a license from China’s agriculture ministry. He has been trained in China and is now sharing his knowledge with people interested in good-quality tea.
He welcomed us with a cup of green tea (which has zero fermentation) and then talked us through the six different types of tea, which you can easily remember by saying: The oolong panda (black and white) waits at the traffic light (green, yellow and red): Green (zero fermentation), yellow (light fermentation), white (light fermentation), red (full fermentation), oolong (semi-fermentation) and black (pre-fermentation). Each tea type has a different function and affects the body in various ways.
For instance, red tea has a lot of caffeine and should only be drunken in the morning (that’s the Chinese equivalent of breakfast tea) while white tea is full of good antioxidants.
During our tea tasting and training session I learnt a few other valuable details: fresh green tea needs to be stored in the fridge, otherwise the fermentation will start and it will change its taste. Oolong tea can last for many years, it does not go off easily.
Ivan Chiu Chi-ming also taught us how to properly pour a cup of Chinese tea, using a delicate tea cup.
We first practiced with warm water before we handled the real tea. It’s not as easy as it looks, you’ve got to concentrate on a number of things…
I think I’ll stick to my Western tea pot or strainer, that’s easier for me.
Shop 2, G/F, Tower 152, No. 11 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan
Friday to Wednesdays from 12pm to 7pm but closed on Thursdays