Gary: New to Tea - An Aussie's introduction to tea
Continuing our new tea to tea series, one of our customers from near Sydney in Australia agreed to write about his tea journey. Here's Gary's story:
My Tea Story - An introduction to Tea
I am relatively new to tea. My tea journey started 3 years ago with a stop-over in Hong Kong on my way to visit my wife's family in England for Christmas. I had been to Hong Kong 25years earlier with my family as a budding 14 year old and had fond memories. We stayed at the Park Hotel back then, imagine my surprise when my wife booked the very same hotel without any knowledge of the fact.
While staying in Hong Kong for a week I noticed the massive change from when I was there last. Sure I had changed and was experiencing it through a more mature outlook, but the cultural change was massive. It was like I was in a part of Sydney; the streets were alive with kids up to the fashion. A cultural change toward a western style of living was most evident. The cost of electronics, clothes and general nick knackery had also taken on a western slant. It was cheaper at home in Australia to buy just about anything we looked at.
That said, there are some things that don't change.
Two blocks from the hotel there was a 7 eleven. Two doors up from that a small crispy duck café that the locals frequented. I had distinct memories of this place from 25 years earlier. We, as a family of 6, had eaten here a lot! My wife, 10 year old daughter and I walked in. It was as if the guy, who hadn't aged a day, remembered me and ushered us to the nearest almost clean table. He waved his arms impatiently at a female waitress who hurriedly delivered us a semi decent kinda englishy menu from which to choose a feed. She disappeared briefly only to return with three cups of tepid green tea in crazed plastic cups and unceremoniously plonked one in front of each of us before moving on to another customer in the bustling café. My English wife and daughter both looked at me with fear in their eyes... at home this place could not even exist... I loved it!
I picked up the cup of tea and give it a sniff, I remembered this tea from the past as well. Very light in flavour, not sweet, not bitter, about blood temperature and very easy to drink. It was good. I encouraged the girls with my oohs and aahhs to give it a try and they too tentatively tested the waters. My daughter tasted with reservation and then quickly downed half the glass, seemingly coming to the conclusion it was safe.
Believe it or not this was the defining moment, the turning point where I really began to explore tea in all its glory. I vowed to track this mild and alluring beverage down in Australia. Up until this point in my life black milky tea was the order of the day. I was of the opinion that a Twining's English breakfast bag jiggled in a cup of boiling water topped up with a dash of full cream milk to reduce the bitterness was the bomb. Green tea was this bitter substance that left my mouth feeling furry and quite often dry and yucky. I wanted to drink green tea as it was supposedly good for me but the taste just didn't do it for me.
To be continued...
We hope you enjoyed the first part of Gary's journey. Don't forget we'd love to hear from you about your tea story. May be you are not new to tea but have grown up in a family of tea importers or traders. Whatever your story let us know.