Alex and I went out for a hop-around-try-things kinda day last week. It was one of those days where the rain was on and off, going from sunny to pouring and vice versa in the span of 10 seconds throughout the day.

Started the day with a cup of 絲襪奶茶, which is old school classic, HK-style milk tea.

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We popped into Lan Fong Yuen  (pretty famous, lots of celebrity shots stuck onto their walls) while heading through SoHo and it was the perfect kind of dingy for me.
There’s HK charm about the raised sitting stools, cluttered laminate papers, and a dangerous proximity to the street on which cars are passing by which makes these places so damn lovable.

I didn’t know Alex would order me a hot tea (the weather was 30degrees) but it meant we got the full flavour of HK’s tea style.

It was definitely a nostalgic cup to have, full of high school memories and lunch breaks.

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By contrast, I dropped into an artisan tea boutique in PMQ to look at their beautiful clay pots and the lady offered us sample cups of their osmanthus rose oolong. It was fragrant with the scent of the florals but still strong on the oolong taste.

Then she told me it was better cold and offered me the cold brew version and after the first sip, I thought “where do I pay?”

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Cold Brew Oolong: one teabag, 45 minute soak in room temperature water.
Preferably no ice, that way the full freshness of osmanthus doesn’t get diluted.
I popped the bag into the French Press and just left it in the refrigerator for an hour.

Why does it taste better cold? I’m not sure, but it’s refreshing, without the bitter aftertaste that strong high mountain leaves for those not used to oolong.

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I guess it was something like fate to then hop over to teakha, a tiny little tea cafe in Sheung Wan. I value tea cafes immensely in this coffee drinking world. They are rare gems of comfort and happiness for me.

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Tea is often associated with tradition and age, and most coffee shops serve up ridiculously boring varieties of looseleaf tea and the standard chai lattes.

teakha does young and hip with some serious tea variety and some trending decor too.

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After the HK milk tea in the morning, I didn’t think my stomach would be able to handle more milk tea so I chose a caramelized lemon tea. Pretty good to take and go, but there were 4-5 other menu offerings that I wanted to try.

It was lovely to get three different kinds of tea in the same day.

The way leaves steep and brew stories of different histories and lives across the city continues to hold my attention.

It was quite a perfect rainy HK afternoon.

Posted by:jasmine

Jasmine is an editor, poet, and community arts organizer. She comes to poetry by way of Chinese music. This blog is a mapping of ways.

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