Those coffee-making mavens, Dave Donde and Joel Singer of Origin Coffee, have widened their beverage obsession to include tea with the launch of Nigiro Tea last week.
The Nigiro Teahouse (think tranquil Japanese temple rather than clotted cream scones and overdrawn tea with milk in an English seaside town) is located in Origin Coffee, in Cape Town’s Cape Quarter.
What really appeals to me is that this is intended to be a calm, restful, meditative experience, rather than a frenetic dash in, dash out, with your mug gripped in your hand. The idea is to spend up to an hour on the Japanese tea ceremony, led by Mingwei Tsai – I guess you’d call him the Emperor of Tea. Alternatively snack on some dim sum and enjoy a tea of your choice.
Mingwei himself points out Cape Town’s historical link with tea – all the tea being brought to Europe by sea from the East would have passed through the Cape of Good Hope. And of course South Africa is home to its own unique Rooibos tea – Mingwei calls it Golden tea, which does have a nice ring to it.
As for the tea itself… I have a word of warning. Just like with Origin’s coffee, don’t drink this tea unless you want every other tea drinking experience in your life to be ruined forever. I mean this. It’s extremely annoying.
Who knew tea could taste so fresh and delicate and flavoursome, without a hint of the tannins that we think are par for the course with the normal dunked, garden-variety tea served up around the country. This was more like a wine tasting than a tea party!
Teas are sourced from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Argentina, Kenya, Germany, Malawi and South Africa and include white, green, oolong & black teas, as well as Rooibos, herbal & Joel’s specially iced fruit infusions. I loved the spiced Rooibos – which I think is going to become a winter favourite.
You can also grab a cuppa Nigiro tea at the Mount Nelson, and both Nigiro tea and Origin Coffee is set to be on the menus at maze and Nobu in The One & Only Resort, currently being built in Cape Town.
PS I am really sorry about the heading, I couldn’t resist!
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