It is has been a depressing start of the year, it has been raining almost every day since the last day of 2020. To bring a new spark in our busy, dull life, we decide to visit a traditional tea house – Tea Chapter. We want to take a pause and enjoy the slow pace of life with an appreciation of the Art of Tea. This isn’t a modern hipster place but it captures our heart without a beat! It located along a row of shophouses at Neil Road. It’s well-furnished despite the interior release vibes of a Chinese traditional courtyard (Siheyuan, 四合院). Level one is their retail shop while level 2 and 3 is the Tea House. It might look small exterior but it’s another world of the city.
I love Chinese tea since I was a kid, I followed my late grandma to brew tea with her Purple Clay Teapot that I treasured it lots even till now. Chinese tea is special, they tasted differently each time when you slip it. For the Chinese culture, we taste tea (品茶) instead of drinking it, as tea appreciation is an art and it is similar to the Japanese tea ceremony. The instructor told us that, “Always smell it before drink it. The first sip is to cleanse your palette. The second sip is taken like wine, tasting it with a bit of swirling in your mouth. The third sip is taken like beer, to enjoy its aftertaste.”
Tea Chapter has an amazing atmosphere, it is a beautiful place for someone who wants to enjoy tea by themselves or to call up a group of friends to appreciate tea together. There are different rooms and seating arrangement at the 3-stories traditional tea house; Oriental Room, Korean Room and Japanese Seating. We preferred to seat on the chair therefore Joe and I decide to book the Oriental Room (with an additional charge of $5 for reserving the Oriental Room and Korean Room).
Upon reaching the reception, we were asked to remove our shoe and place in a shoe cabinet. The receptionist will give us a quick tour of the space they have. And we were lead to our Oriental room (which they only have 2 of it), the lady kindly explained that the room next to us that is occupied, used to served the Queen of England was one of Tea Chapter’s most distinguished guests. Photos we shared were the room that Queen Elizeberth was served, you can find the photo on the wall.
Unlike the experience you have in Tea Parlour, in a traditional Tea House, we make our own tea, it is a kind of self-cultivation and practising the tea of arts. We asked for a demonstration from the instructor, she patiently introduces us to all the tea wares and also the steps. We order Dong Ding Oolong (Taiwan tea is stronger, that why required a higher temperature to brewing it, at 95 degrees.)
After which the instructor leaves us alone where we spend a quality time to make the tea ourselves and enjoy our afternoon. The cutlery and tea set is well-chosen by Tea Chapter making the whole experience more authentic.
At Tea Chapter there is also a wide range of snack and desserts somewhere is really interesting as they use tea in the dishes, such as the Oolong Sweet Potato and the Tea Egg that we all know. There is so many to try for the first time, the next time we head there I’m going to give the Chapter 7 Cookies and Pu Er Tea Jelly a try too.
We encourage you to give a call and reserved in through Facebook to book their special room. As during the weekend, it is usually fully booked. We are excited to head back again for some relaxing retreating with tea!