Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, Hong Kong – Part I

One of the main attractions for tea lovers in Hong Kong is the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. It is located in the island on the Hong Kong Park.

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Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, the entrance door is on the center of the building

From the museum official website we have the following information: “Built in the 1840s, Flagstaff House originally served as the office and residence of the Commander of the British Forces in Hong Kong. It was converted to the Museum of Tea Ware in 1984, with a new wing, The K.S. Lo Gallery, added in 1995. Alongside its exhibitions, the Museum holds regular demonstrations, tea gatherings and lecture programs to promote ceramic art and Chinese tea drinking culture”.

The best way to get to the museum is through the metro (MTR) Admiralty station stop. On the Admiralty station take the 1C exit, turn right and follow the signs to the Hong Kong Park.

Map of the Admiralty MTR station indicating exit C1 and the museum is on the right.

Map of the Admiralty station indicating exit C1. The museum is on the right.

On the entrance of the museum there are small samples of tea to show color, shape and texture; utensils for tea brewing and tea serving. Since the building was a house/office it contains many rooms in two floors.

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One of the rooms have the traditional round tea table and benches. The displays are on the walls.

One of the rooms is for the children play. It has Tea Toys made out of wood. The idea is to start  the tea education of the children early, as a play.

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Tearoom for the children with Tea Toys to play.

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Japanese Instant Matcha – Fine powder tea

What I call Instant Matcha is the fine powdered tea that is ready to be used and can be bought in bulk or in individual packages. The tea mixes very quickly with hot or cold water, milk or other types of foods.

Matcha is made by grinding whole Camellia sinensis tea leaves (except the stems and veins). The tea plants for Matcha are shade grown for at least three weeks before leaves are rharvested. The pure leaves have additional properties, flavor and aroma.

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Japanese Instant Matcha bag

The Instant Matcha is also available in individual packages for convenience. The packages are beautiful, made with aluminum foil to avoid contamination and oxidation.

Individual bags of Matcha

Individual bags of Japanese Matcha

One individual bag

One individual Matcha bag

The Matcha can be enjoyed as cold or hot tea, but also be used with milk, ice cream, candies, chocolate, pastries, cookies, etc. I will post more pictures in the next blogs.

The traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony with Matcha is very complex, artistic and ritualistic.

The Ultimate Turkish Tea Making Machine – Serving about 200 Turkish Tulips

These teapots for Turkish tea always called my attention during the breakfasts in Istanbul. On the top it contains 11 teapots that are kept hot and has two faucets with hot water on the bottom. Each teapot has about one liter capacity.

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The 11 teapots tea making machine

The Turkish tea on the teapots is usually very strong and is diluted with hot water from one of the two faucets to each personal taste. It is common to have half tulip with water and half with tea. According to my calculations this machine has the capacity to make about 200 Turkish tulips of black tea. Need more tea? there is a box with at least 10 different types of teabags in a box in front of the machine.

Tea in Italy – Firenze (Florence) cotton muslin teabag

After several Espressos during the day my friend invited me to have a teacup in our favorite coffee shop. Black tea with some dolci...

We got English Breakfast Tea; my surprise was to find a cotton muslin teabag filled with tea inside the package. The teabag was manufactured by La Via Del Tè (The Tea Road) in Firenze (Florence).

The cotton and silk teabags were the original types of teabags that have been used in decades since the 1900’s and now are mostly replaced by paper or thermoplastic teabags.

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English Breakfast cotton muslin teabag

The tea brews instantly since the cotton muslin is very open and allows excellent tea infusion.

Quick tea infusion with the open cotton mesh

Quick tea infusion with the open cotton mesh

This tea brewing efficiency is one of the best I have experienced. After removing the teabag several pieces of lint from the cotton teabag were floating on the surface of the tea. The lint was removed with a teaspoon.

Cotton teabag after brewing

Cotton teabag after brewing

It was an interesting experience to come back to the origins of the teabags. The tea was very good on taste and made a bright moment on a rainy winter afternoon in Vicenza.

What is a Tea? Te, Chay or Cha?

There a lot of definitions of what is a Tea. My version is the following: In sensu stricto, tea is an infusion of the Camellia sinensis leaves and leaf buds. Camellia sinensis is the scientific name of the plant that produces tea. Oolong, green, white and black teas are examples of these teas.

In sensu amplo, the word tea is an infusion of seeds, roots, flowers, bark, fruits, leaves, spices and its combinations. It is common to call the non Camellia sinensis teas “herbal teas” or “tisanes”. The “tisanes” are typically non-caffeinated brews.

Usually when we say the single word tea, we are talking about regular black tea. All other teas have two words to describe the type of tea, e.g., Masala Tea, Honey Dew Tea, Ginger Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Mint Tea, etc.
If you are in a foreign and want to order a tea, one of the three words (te, chay or cha) will get you a tea. What is called commonly tea may have a different way to brew and serve from country to country, but it will be a tea.

The name Camellia is the Latinized surname of the botanist Georg Kamel, and sinensis means Chinese in latin.

Interesting message in a teacup on the Alitalia flight from Rome to Verona last week.

Interesting message in a teacup on the Alitalia flight from Rome to Verona last week.

In the Mercado Publico (Public Market) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, teas are sold in small packages. They are called Chá, here the teas are labelled with the common name and some with the scientific name too.

In the Mercado Publico (Public Market) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, teas are sold in small packages. They are called Chá, here the teas are labelled with the common name and some with the scientific name too.

At the Spicy Market in Istanbul, Turkey the teas are called Çay and are sold bulk together with the spices

At the Spicy Market in Istanbul, Turkey the teas are called Çay and are sold bulk together with the spices