The grass is green on the other side, especially when it comes to the fabulous flavours of this traditional and massively popular brew.
Get your green on with a fresh cup of one of the most popular teas out there. Green tea is made solely with the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. To make the grade, the leaves undergo minimal oxidation during processing, when they are transformed into the dried leaves needed for brewing tea.
Infusing green tea produces a range of interesting tastes; some varieties have a lovely fruity flavour, some produces subtle grassy undertones while other shave a distinctive nutty taste – well they do say variety is the spice of life! Forget the milk and honey here – Green tea is best experience as it comes.
Now let's talk benefits. Green tea is well known for helping out our bodies in a number of different areas including managing obesity by increasing metabolism and stimulates fat oxidation and lowering chance of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer.
Oriental Teahouse infusions are founded by David Zhou with his traditional Chinese knowledge and dedication to each and every pack. Visit the Oriental Teahouse website to purchase your teas today: www.OrientalTeahouse.com.au
Question: What are the benefits of drinking tea?
David Zhou: Teas have a lot of antioxidants, known to help clear grease and help to stay focused. There are many physical health benefits, but it also calms you down if you really start to enjoy it, as teas are subtle in taste. In order to taste it and enjoy the experience, you cannot be aggressive - you need to relax. The more you drink tea and enjoy the experience, the more patience you will develop, more understanding and have more respect for others - no fighting. More teas/tea houses please, it helps to build a better society and tea culture.
Question: What are the main benefits for going green in regards to green tea?
David Zhou: More antioxidants, which are known to increase the metabolism and help digestion. Green teas are less treated than black teas, as white teas are even lesser. There is not enough knowledge about other teas, people have not been exposed to this information and therefore a lot of people pick green teas first.
Question: Can you talk us through the mixes of tea, how do you know which teas work in unison?
David Zhou: When you mix, it's not just for the taste; you need to understand 'hot" or 'cold" of the teas/ingredients in nature. Chai is great for winter in general as all the species are warming as green, white, chrysanthemum and peppermint are great for summer as they are cooling. For me, to create a good and long lasting blend people can enjoy, plus for them to get the real benefits it brings, the balance of Ying and Yang is key. Also because of my cultural background, our families have been drinking teas for generations, we have been exposed to this way of thinking our whole life and therefore the knowledge and experience is important too.
Question: Can you talk us through the ways you offer your tea, at Oriental Teahouse?
David Zhou: To make sure our customer gets the value of the tea they ordered, we must ensure the ratio of the tea and water, one serve of tea per person in a cup or mug. If customers would like to share, we put a maximum of 2 serves of tea in one teapot to avoid it becoming too strong.
The temperature of the water is another important factor when preparing the best tea, maximising its benefits, aroma and taste. To help us do this we created the tea bar as a central focus in our stores, probably the biggest Australia has seen. Here we use the right techniques such as warming the cups, correct temperature of water etc.
When serving the teas, we are mindful of what we serve the tea in ‐ we use zhi sha mugs which are made of clay and are more porous for the robust teas like iron Buddha. We use our glassware or ceramic ware for the tender, delicate teas like Long Jing or Silver needle. Glassware is also great for customers to enjoy the visual beauty of the tea leaves and the colour.
Because teas are seasonal we make sure we pick the teas from the latest harvests; so we can ensure the value to customers. When sipping on teas, our customers can also enjoy small quality dishes. We aim to give our customers the complete teahouse experience.
Question: What inspired you to serve Iced Tea?
David Zhou: To match the habit of the locals who love iced water. In our culture we recommend customers to drink tea warm however in summer people don't like this ‐ plus it's a great hit with kids. Our iced teas are made with lots of fruit and have quite a lot of vitamins, which are very good for you.
Question: How else can tea be used, other than drinking it?
David Zhou: One can use tea to cook with food. At our David's, we have oolong tea beef and previously we had quail eggs with dragon well tea as well as long jing tea with shrimps and tea‐smoked duck.
Tea can also be put it in pillowcases to give you a good sleep as it makes the head feel calmer and clearer. It helps to cleanse odors so it's great for people with bad breath, or smelly toes. Tea helps to heal sores and rashes, which is why people use it as a face wash - our love tea can be used as a brush for exfoliating. Tea is also used to clean tables and furniture.
Question: What originally inspired your love for tea?
David Zhou: I grew up drinking tea; there was no choice for coke. I enjoy the whole tea culture, as I love tea and its taste. I gain from its benefits and I love that tea stands for becoming a calmer person, more centered, it helps clear your head and helps you to focus. Tea is all about respect, comfort and sharing ‐ it's a teahouse experience.
Question: Can you talk us through how you started Oriental Teahouse?
David Zhou: I started with a small teashop in a Prahran factory selling tea and tea ware. Customers kept asking us about food, so we applied for a permit and that grew into David's with few tables and chairs where we served our traditional Shanghai food ‐ this was very popular.
However because of my background in tea I wanted to bring tea and food together for the locals to enjoy, there is also no other place like this so we created Oriental Teahouse, which serves good quality teas with small dishes. Best of both worlds. We wanted to introduce people to the tea culture and yum cha culture plus serve it all day not just sun as it is done traditionally.
Question: How many cups of tea, a day, to you drink?
David Zhou: If you have a reasonable quality tea, use around 3‐5g to make a mug which you can refill up to 3-4 times. You can do this 2‐4 times a day, very economic, especially at tough times tea is very good.
Question: Do you have a favourite tea, if so, which one of the Oriental Teahouse teas is it?
David Zhou: I have many, depending on the time, my favorite would be relaxing tea - it's part of our signature tea category which I created. You can enjoy this tea at any time of the day, it's a miracle tea, very soothing. It assists with memory & concentration, true rest. Helps people feeling weak or lacking in 'chi" energy. Leaves one feeling calm, relaxed, returning the body to natural rhythms & balances the yin and yang energies of the body.
Question: Can you talk us through one of the more unique teas available for purchase at Oriental Teahouse?
David Zhou: Relaxing tea, mentioned above or even our newest blend Diamonds & Roses, we created this for mother's day. Designed to kick‐start your detox by aiding digestion, regulating the immune system, adding a healthy glow to your skin and pumping you full of antioxidants. Known to improve circulation, ingredients are nourishing to the heart & kidney ‐ great for your skin and digestion. It contains Wolfberries, Chinese hawthorn slices, Pure Rose, Sultanas, Chinese Dates, Mao Feng & Sweet tea.
Question: For first timers; what do you suggest as the best selection of meals and accompanying tea?
David Zhou: Try our prawn dumplings with quality Jasmine green tea or Jasmine pearl ‐ white tea. For dessert try our relaxing tea which is naturally sweet with no sugar.
Question: What's next for Oriental Teahouse?
David Zhou: We are re doing the Teahouse menu, more offerings where we are looking at extending to a dumpling bar with tea bar food, guests can enjoy some nibbles ‐ Chinese versions of starters (Cheese, dips etc) like Chinese sausage, tea infused edamame, 5 spiced peanuts, a more Shanghai teahouse experience keeping in line with tea culture. This is a natural extension as we have already served tea tails in our glass tea pots plus Oriental Tea House on Chapel Street was once a pub, unique, very interesting and good response from customers.
We are finalising our 'take home" concept where we can do deliveries to you. We want to keep educating people and will keep working on master classes with tea and dumplings, customers love this. We also have a new concept at our 43 Fitzroy St location ‐ street indoor style, with specialised Shanghai street food branching out of Oriental Teahouse.
There are endless opportunities and fun.
Interview by Brooke Hunter