- Zensation, 656 Bourke St, Redfern (9319 2788)
It was such a unique experience, something I will never forget and I will always remember how theatrical each ceremony was.
To start we had to decide on three teas. You can have more or less but this is the package we decided on. The first tea was probably my favourite. A beaker of hot water was placed in front of us over a candle. I thought this was a bit different to a normal tea pot, but was curious to see why sand how such items were to be used. A bulb was then placed in the beaker. As the bulb heated up it grew right in front of us, into a flower. That flower was jasmine......it was an infused Jasmine tea. I couldn't believe my eyes and have never seen anything like it. The tea itself was so subtle and very easy to drink, as with most herbal teas, making us very relaxed very quickly. It was great as we were the only two people in there, but it didn't matter as we had out tea, privacy and good conversation.
The second tea was a 'milky' Oolong, which did not have any milk in it, rather it was a flavour of the tea. The hostess started to teach us about the different types of Oolong tea from China and Taiwan, each country arguing they have the best. Our tea was on fact from Taiwan, so now I suppose I will have to try a Chinese Oolong to compare.
It was again the procedure of serving this tea that was so fascinating and really involved us to the sense of smell. We were given two types of cups, a tall thin cup, and a short wide cup. Once the tea had infused in the pot the hostess poured some in the tall cup for us. We were then instructed to put the larger cup over the top of the thin cup and wait. Once we were ready, we were to hold the cups together and flip them over, pick up the thing cup and smell. It was this smell that just captivated us, it was milky and sweet and so strong from this cup. Once we were ready we started to drink the tea which tasted just as it smelled. It was beyond us that something to smell and taste milky without having any such thing in it, it is all the properties of the tea, which is a light yellow colour mind you!
Eventually we finished out Oolong and proceeded to our third and final tea. Not as adventurous as the first two yet still very enjoyable. It was a herbal Chai tea made from cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, ginger and infused in a large clear glass pot. It was a great tea to finish with at is was very soothing and one of my favourite teas to drink.
Most, but not all of the teas they offer are served with a little snack. With the Jasmine tea we were served a little sesame honey cracker, with the Oolong a Chinese custard tart but nothing with the Chai. I do not think anything is needed with that tea as the flavours are so complex and vibrant.
Three hours later, and many MANY bathroom trips and we left. It is so easy to loose track of time in such a place. When I left I felt so cleansed and relaxed that I wish I didn't need to leave. They also hold tea tasting nights which I am eager to try as there were so many more tea varieties that interested me.
I thoroughly suggest going if you like tea or want to be adventurous and try a few new things.