Not just limited to steeping shop-bought bags of regular leaves or rooibos, tea has become available as a variety of heady and comforting concoctions. Depending on the manner in which the leaves are processed after harvesting and how it’s brewed, tea comes to our shores black, green, yellow, oolong, rooibos, herbal or white, and can be infused, flavoured or flowering, and served hot, cold or edible.
If whisking is your cup of tea
Try it in powdered form with the Orient-inspired matcha tea, made from finely ground Japanese gyokuro (“jade dew”) leaves. Hot water is added to a bowl of the sifted powder and whisked rapidly, using a traditional bamboo whisk and spoon, and can be drunk straight from the bowl.
A drink that is fun to eat
A Taiwanese drink that has been around since the 1980s, bubble tea, also known as pearl tea, is a cold tea-based milky drink served in a variety of refreshing flavours with a fat straw to suck up little gelatinous balls of tapioca. Try the cookies-and-cream or pink-lemon-and-lime blends at Watercrest Mall’s Happy.Me tea store or, for an authentic experience, pop into Durban North’s Taiwanese grocer, Sun Sun, for the bubble teas made with flavoured jellies.
Watch it blossom
Tea is not only about the flavour. In the spirit of the ancient art of drinking tea, it can be visually appreciated too. Flowering teas made from the compacted, dried buds such as jasmine and other fragrant herbs bloom in the hot water as it steeps.
From moringa to matcha, loose-leaf and powdered teas in an almost limitless variety of flavours, fruit infusions and leaf combinations (you can even mix your own) are available locally at places like Colombo Tea & Coffee at 369 Magwaza Maphalala (formerly Gale) Street or at the Tea Merchant stores in La Lucia or Pavilion malls.
Taste for yourself:
031 564 4548
031 205 3283
Words: Shirley Berko