Tea Tasting with Tea Master // Hong Kong

I've always enjoyed a cup of Jasmine Green Tea when eating at a Chinese restaurant, or a hot Indian Masala Chai, specially in the winter. There was even a time when I was into Fruity Sweet Iced Teas. But that was as far as my tea knowledge went, until we visited Hong Kong. We were overloaded with Tea Houses and Tea Shops, I had to learn more! 

This is where sites like Trip Advisor come in use, we found pretty good reviews about this Tea House/Shop named MING CHA. We booked our express workshop and tea tasting for the very next day, they assured us they welcomed children and they surely did.

We met the lovely Vivian Mak, founder of Ming Cha. She welcomed us into their space and introduced us to her partner, a Japanese Tea Master who kept us engaged for the next 2 hours. They have managed to keep the class simple yet loaded with key information.

We learnt that Camellia Sinensis, commonly known as the tea plant is where White Tea, Yellow Tea, Green Tea, Oolong, Pu-erh Tea and Black Tea are harvested from. The class topics are:

  • What is tea?

  • What is the production process behind each tea?

  • What do teas taste like?

  • How can I brew a cup of good tea?

  • How to choose the right teas for myself?

Do you know the effect of each type of tea in your body?

  • Green Tea (non-fermented) is Neutral
  • White Tea (lightly fermented) is Cooling
  • Red Tea (fully fermented) is Warming
  • Black Tea (post fermented) is Neutral
For the production of red tea, the raw leaves are allowed to bake in the sun, before going through a withering process where they are spread thinly on bamboo racks and kept at about 40 degrees Celsius, which helps them to oxidise and lose moisture. These steps, and an additional rolling process that lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours, results in both the finished leaves and the brewed tea being red in colour. The leaves are then put in an incubator for full oxidation. Finally, they are heated to remove moisture, stop fermentation and further enhance the taste. Fully oxidised red tea could also be transported and stored for long periods without tainting the taste.
— Vivian Mak, Ming Cha
Teas are classified into different categories based on their degree of fermentation, which is basically the degree of oxidation. When oxygen is not present, fermentation occurs.
— Vivian Mak, Ming Cha
Fancy hand made rolled Blossom Tea

Fancy hand made rolled Blossom Tea

We then had plenty of time to browse their unique shop, taste a few more varieties of tea, and learn a bit more about Blossom Tea, usually a combination of Green Tea and flowers presented in the most beautiful way. Vivian surprised my girls with a very special treat. A sublime rosebud honey on toast. Thank you Ming Cha, I will forever be mindful about my tea next time I sip a cuppa.

Image Gallery


SOURCES:

Photos by: The Mindful Sprout 

Site: http://www.mingcha.com

Article: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1294710/yum-cha-take-it-red

Ming Cha Videos: 

Camellia sinensis: From Wikipedia

Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce the popular beverage tea. It is of the genus Camellia (Chinese: 茶花; pinyinCháhuā, literally: "tea flower"), a genus of flowering plants in the familyTheaceae.

White teayellow teagreen teaoolongpu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed differently to attain different levels of oxidation.

Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from Camellia sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves. Common names include tea plant, tea shrub, and tea tree (not to be confused with Melaleuca alternifolia, the source of tea tree oil).

There are two major varieties used for tea: Chinese tea, Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, and Assam tea, Camellia sinensis var. assamica.[2]