My name is Jay and I was born and raised here in Hong Kong. I've traveled extensively and spent a good number of years in NYC. I'm not Chinese, but I have had the fortune of drinking tea all my life, even though, like most Hong Kongers, it was just a beverage to me.
Last week, I bought some takeout dim sum on Sunday morning and they got a kick out of a 'foreign' guy buying dim sum in Cantonese. I asked them for a cup of tea, which was a silly request I think as they only serve it in pots at dim sum restaurants. I had to settle for a Nestea at McDonalds.
I recently rented an office in one of the older parts of town and I've been out and about trying eats I wouldn't otherwise. The fact I couldn't get a cup of tea motivated me to get a nice stainless kettle. I also bought some cheap Rickshaw Tie Kuan Yin tea bags and some green tea bags from a Japanese supermarket. Back in 2000, I learned gong fu brewing at a tea store in Shenzhen and making my green gunpowder and jasmine teas for my friends in New York was a delight for them.
I decided to visit a local tea store I walk by every day. I went in speaking Cantonese, but the conversation quickly got too complicated, so I explained I didn't speak all that much Canto, which made the owner laugh. She switched to English and was much more polite (I don't know why, but people seem to be nicer in English?).
I ended up buying her house blend pu erh, which she said was the best in the store, and 50g of her white tea. I had drank bo lei at dim sum places. I brewed her 'fragrant pu erh' mixture up and the strong and the smoky, earthy flavors were intense. I didn't mind as I'm used to good scotch, coffee, cigars and pipe tobacco, as well as very diverse cuisine, but it wasn't what I expected at all! The tea is smooth and slightly sweet, which I believe are hallmarks of a good pu erh. I believe it's cooked, but I'm going to take another look after doing some more reading tonight.
I bought a cheap Japanese tea cup a few days ago, and last night, chanced upon my dad's old tea cup. I 'borrowed' it with his approval (he doesn't drink much Chinese tea anymore). It apparently cost him quite a bit of money back in the late 90s. It's porcelain with a rough exterior finish and two characters on it that I can't read, and it has a strainer and lid, so I can control brewing time now!
I know I'm going to learn a lot here and look forward to poring through the wealth of knowledge at my fingertips! Thanks for having me!