Tea appears to be the next cool thing these days (and this includes Singapore!), what with multiple start-ups helmed by local entrepreneurs offering their own creative take on the beverage. Few to name: T2 Tea, Pin Tea, Antea Social, Kindred Teas, and more. And if you’re a tea lover like us, here’s how to take things up a notch.
Below, four simple ways to enjoy a comforting cup of tea amidst the most picturesque surrounds in Asia.
#1: Soak in the lush greens of sweeping tea plantations
Location: Mainly West Java and Northern Sumatra, Indonesia
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Our neighbouring country is not only known for its numerous beautiful islands, its extensive tea plantations (locals call it Kebun Teh) also do make ideal spots to immerse in the vibrant culture. With mountainous backdrops surrounding the picturesque acres of land, it does fit the bill as a totally Instagrammable spot, too. And for many others, it serves as a peaceful sanctuary to retreat to. How does a hot cuppa of fragrant black tea (set in the sweeping vistas) sound like to you? Savouring tea at a cosy cafe is one thing, but drinking it amidst lush green, tranquil surrounds is quite an out-of-this-world experience altogether.
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#2: Find your zen while learning a thing or two about the “Way of Tea”
Location: Most tea houses and hotels in Japan
A huge part cultural experience in Japan is partaking in a tea ceremony at one of the many quaint and beautiful tea houses dotting along the historical cities. Dubbed “Chadou”, it aims to induce a calming effect upon the drinker. This usually involves the preparer to dissolve matcha aka green tea powder into hot water, in contrast to using teabags or infusing tea leaves.
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#3: Immerse yourself in the world’s largest tea museum
Location: Pinglin District, New Taipei, Taiwan
You know Taiwan for its fragrant non-sweetened Oolong tea. The best way to experience it? Soak in the rural, idyllic part of New Taipei City at Pinglin. Boasting scenic landscaped vistas, explore the two-storey museum which houses all things tea, from a wide range of equipment and methods to informative displays. Thanks to its popular Pouchong tea (an oolong variant with a green tea taste, FYI), the two-decade-old museum has established itself as a key producer of tea in the country.
READ: Hip Taipei nightspots to check out, the best Taiwanese souvenirs to bag home, and scenic spots in Taiwan to take your wedding photos.
#4: Check into a tea plantation hotel
Location: Norwood, Sri Lanka
If you haven’t already known, Sri Lanka is home to some of the finest teas in the world. In fact, here’s the birthplace of your favourite Ceylon tea. Is it the stunning hills, or the native planters’ attention to details, that make them the terrific tea brewers that they are? In a New York Times article, it is reported that the perfect cup of tea can only be derived from “martial exactitude”; the women villagers have to selectively pick the leaves by hand, prevent the leaves from being over oxidised (with a special machine) and using it for 170 minutes only, and dry them on trays for a mere 21 minutes. Talk about sheer dedication and commitment! Then picture waking up to a sea of greens, and nosh on a hearty breakfast before going on a meaningful hike nearby the area.
#5: Explore the highest peak of South India
Location: Ooty, India
It is decidedly one of the most beautiful places to bring your family. Apart from the usual tea tours and nearby accommodations, the tea factory itself stocks some of the most attractive souvenirs, ranging from delectable homemade chocolates (rum and raisin, anyone?) to pretty tea accessories. Fun fact: Ooty is often known as “Queen of Hill Stations” for good reasons. Replete with very photogenic colonial houses, explore the area armed with a camera in hand and soak in more acres of greenery (think heritage bungalows set in towering alpine woods and lush surrounds). Of course, you can’t miss out on the It experience here; that is, seeing through the entire process: from the manual plucking of green leaves to the packaging.
#6: Concoct your own tea in the cosiest traditional underground tea house
Location: Ikseondong, Seoul, South Korea
The 80-year-old traditional Hanok aka Korean tea house is where you go for a cosy hideout. Set in an underground space, it is essentially a home away from home. Not only do they serve really good tea known for its medicinal values, its highlight includes delicious yugwa (a traditional dessert made up of grains, honey, and sesame), cakes, and patbingsu (shaved ice). Also, you can’t miss out on its lovely inner garden which, undoubtedly, creates a visual interest.
Have you got a favourite tea experience around the world? Share with us and comment below!
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