MingCha Tea House – Fun with Kids, Tea & Family

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Most of us can relate to the statement “there is not much to do outdoors” or “why can’t I stay in and play my Xbox or PS3?” Sounds like a familiar statement kids use so profusely. It is true, while technology has provided some thing for every consumer of all age groups in terms of entertainment, it has led to a sense of detachment in terms of experiencing the natural environment and human interaction. One may be in a room of friends but would prefer the company of an ipad , laptop or a phone. With this in mind, parents and teachers have been taking initiatives in focusing on activities which help children interact.

So wanting to carry forward this initiative we thought, what would be a commendable and fun filled activity for children and adults to do together? Being avid tea lovers the idea flowed easily and quickly – of course a tea tasting! Kids are early adapters and this would certainly provide as an interactive activity to indulge them into exploring not only their senses, but giving families a much deserved fulfilled time together, from learning to interaction.

While exploring the idea of tea tasting for kids, MingCha Tea House in Hong Kong came to our minds. In an exclusive conversation with Love for Tea, Vivian Mak, founder of MingCha, shares her mission and vision, which is to allow people from every walks of life to be able to enjoy the true taste of tea – including kids. Based on the concept of togetherness, family interactivity, helping even the young ones explore their sensory palate while learning the art of tea, Vivian has successfully introduced workshops for kids in tea. These are free for children up to 11 years of age and are taught by the tea masters of the MingCha Tea House. And yes, adults are also welcome to attend or chaperone at the workshops, turning this into fun interactive experience for an entire family.

It is said as we grow older we cultivate our likes and dislikes based on external influences. Vivian believes, children being expressive and untarnished in their thoughts on what they like and dislike are more perceptive and true to their senses. However, given an opportunity to taste, smell, bite, sniff and experience tea from a creative and educational approach at a tea tasting, children surely provide a genuine feedback for our comprehension but may also create a platform for future careers for themselves too. Tea tastings are certainly proving to be a good blend of fun, interaction with nature and education which are growing to spark the interest of many little kids who are enthusiastically trying to put their sensory skills to test.

With a fine success and outreach to the world of tea lovers, Vivian of the MingCha Tea House continues to strive to inculcate this deep appreciation for tea in every age group. We at Love for Tea surely commend the initiative as we do believe tea can not only heal your body (internally and externally) but your environment, and it tastes heavenly too.

Next time you plan a family activity, incorporate your little ones in a session of tea tasting and wait to be pleasantly surprised. Don’t take our word on it, give it a try . Who knows you may discover a hidden appreciation or skills of a Tea Sommelier within your own family.

A cup of tea brings the world together and bridges the age gap between kids and adults through a mutual love for tea. A family that tastes tea together, most certainly has fun together. And that’s a promise!

Thank You ‘Lock Cha’ For Yellow Tea

hong kong cafe

“Tea is like a library, where every book has a purpose”- Love for Tea

Yellow tea and me, it was love at first sight. I was in Hong Kong for work and I wanted to check out some local tea cafes during my stay. It was a bright chilly afternoon and I walked by Lock Cha Tea Shop, right in Hong Kong park, which seemed like a nice quiet pleasure in the busy city. When I walked in, I felt pure tea-nirvana.

The place is a tea museum and the entry is free. It’s very vibrant and has lot of stuff going around, from display of ancient tea pots, tea making equipment, lessons on how tea should be served, tea-wares consulting, to tea etiquette and whole lot of tea inspiration. Lock Cha Tea shop is a very traditional place where one can truly experience Chinese culture and where people are always thrilled to serve you some tea. The tea shop is equally spirited with a wonderful menu of more than 100 kinds of tea, with clear explanation about their flavors.

There was a tea-tasting ceremony happening at the tea shop and I just flew for it. It was a beautiful and a spiritual experience, that felt like a cross-country road trip along with tea, with so many varieties of tea and flavors, known and unknown, on the way. Here, I tasted yellow tea and it was sunshine in my cup.

My TEA Journey

“Come oh come ye tea-thirsty restless ones — the kettle boils, bubbles and sings, musically.” -Rabindranath Tagore

The trend is slowly changing and if I had to choose one beverage among so many, I would probably take a nice cup of tea. My fifteen years long relationship with tea has been a thrilling and a learning experience. I was introduced to green tea by my friend/roommate from China, Lee, while I was studying in the US. Although it didn’t taste good, I enjoyed having an occasional cup of green tea, until it became a habit. My love for tea grew with time and I had a chance to visit a wonderful Taoist Tea Ceremony with my friend. It’s a Chinese ceremony that embodies the principles of harmony, respect, purity, tranquility and it’s always enjoyed with tea as a spiritual medium to practice. And my journey with tea began.

Medicine In A Cup

“A cup of tea would restore my normality”- Douglas Adams

We know that green tea is good for us—it helps reduce inflammation, is a potent antioxidant, and may help with weight loss and general feel-goodness. But did you know that black tea (the Chinese variety, not the English), Oolong, and a marvelous tea called Pu’er are also potent medicines? Oolong is a type of tea that has been dried in the sun and then oxidized (or fermented). Benefits include: weight loss, aging prevention, lower blood pressure, prevention of tooth decay (antibacterial), stress relief, and liver detox (which, in turn, helps treat skin problems such as acne and eczema), and lower blood sugar levels. In traditional Chinese herbalism, pu-erh tea is considered to open the meridians, ‘warm the middle burner’ (the spleen and stomach) and be beneficial to ‘blood cleansing’ and digestion. For these reasons, it is often consumed after heavy meals or drunk as a hangover cure / preventative.

Some people find that drinking good quality pu-erh tea can induce a state known as ‘tea drunkenness.’ Another tea to watch out for is Ti Kuan Yin, which is one of China’s most beloved oolongs and is extremely time consuming to produce. The cup of tea has notes of toasted walnut and tender collard greens, an intriguing lingering floral aroma, lightly orchid. It’s a complete meditative cup.