If you’re visiting Singapore and want a Chinese Tea fix, Tea Chapter certainly fits the bill. This Chinese Teahouse is located just south of Chinatown and not only supplies a place to sit down and relax whilst enjoying a Chinese Tea Ceremony, there is also a shop that sells tea and teaware. What’s more there are classes and courses on Chinese Tea are available. Tea Chapter take the art of Chinese Tea very seriously and they aim to educate people from all walks of life in the art, culture, history and heritage of Chinese Tea Making, Ceremonies and Appreciation.
What Is A Chinese Teahouse?
The easiest way to describe a Chinese Teahouse is basically an eastern version of a cafe. Teahouses, obviously, serve a variety of teas, as well as a range of other refreshments. They are a place for people to meet, relax and just generally catch up with each other. Tea drinking in Teahouses is a social event with complex rituals and ceremonies.
Making Tea In A Teahouse
The art of Tea Making is very ritualised which focuses around unhurried preparation and at the end you are given a very small cup of tea. Don’t go to a Teahouse if you’re in need of a quick drink, you’ll only get frustrated!
To make the Tea, first the pot is stuffed with the appropriate leaves and water is boiled over a flame. The server waits for the water to reach the optimum temperature for the tea being served – experts can tell the temperature of the water by the size of the bubbles produced.
Next, the pot is warmed inside and out and the first pot is then made. The tea is poured into a serving jug, but then poured back over the pot, the theory being in time the pot will become infused with the fragrance of the tea. A second pot is then made and the tea is poured into a sniffing cup, where the aroma can be appreciated. Only then is it time to drink your tea.
If you desire a second cup, the procedure starts again. This is a very basic explanation and I advise you to go to a Teahouse to experience it fully.
About Tea Chapter, Singapore
Tea Chapter Teahouse was set up by thirteen tea enthusiasts on 1st October 1989. Not long after Tea Chapter was established they had a visit from Queen Elizabeth II of England – a fact they like to shout about, with pictures in the teahouse and on the website. You can even sit in the same chair that the Queen sat in. There have been many more famous visitors since then.
Tea Chapter focuses on education and service. There are courses you can take on tea and all of their tea is served by trained and qualified staff. An experienced Grand Tea Master oversees the Teahouse, who also gives talks and workshops.
The Chinese name for Tea Chapter Teahouse comes from their mission statement and roughly translates as “Be Knowledgeable in Tea and Promoting the Culture of Tea”. The English name ‘Tea Chapter” is meant to mean that new chapters in tea culture are being opened.
Courses And Menus At Tea Chapter
Whether you want a full course in Tea Making and Appreciation or just want to pop in for a ritualised (and definitely not quick) drink, a trip to Tea Chapter is well worth it. And don’t forget, there is also an on-site shop where you can purchase bags of tea and teaware. Below I will give a couple of examples of menu choices and courses available at time of writing, but these will be subject to availability and change.
The food at Tea Chapter ranges from hot food to desserts. The food menu isn’t extensive, as the main focus is obviously tea. Here are a few examples of what you may find on the menu:
- Hot Food Dim Sum Platter & Dragon Well Noodles;
- Snacks Tea Egg & Fishfillet;
- Desserts Pu Er Tea Jelly & Jelly Platter.
To the main point of Tea Chapter. The Tea. There is an extensive tea menu, broken down into types of tea (I thought there was only Black, Green and Herbal, how wrong was I…) All have descriptions of aroma and colour in the menu. The prices vary greatly with such a wide variety of tea. Here are just a few examples of the tea available at time of writing, but this is by no means anywhere near all that is available:
- Green Tea Bi Luo Chun & Dragon Well.
- White Tea Silver Needles & White Peony.
- Oolong Tea Scarlet Robe, Jin Xuan, Phoenix Shubbery & Dong Ding Oolong.
- Red Tea Lapsang Souchong & Kee Mun Red Tea.
- Black Tea Pu’er & Mini Tuo Cha.
- Floral Tea Jasmine Pearls & Eight Treasure Tea (Chrysanthemum).
Courses are provided as either a Workshops or Tea Appreciation Packages. So whether you want an introduction or a in depth course, there’s something for everyone with a thirst for knowledge.
Tea Chapter provide workshops for schools, corporate events and for individuals, although ironically the individual workshops have a minimum of two people.
The course for individuals introduces you to different types of tea, the tea-creation processes and styles of appreciation. The course finishes with a written and practical assessment, once completed you receive a lifetime VIP membership card.
Tea Appreciation Packages
There are two types of Tea Appreciation Packages, each comprise of an hour long session. During these sessions you’ll learn the appreciation of different types of tea as well as learning more of the history and philosophy behind tea. Both packages have a minimum of two people.
The “Fragrance and Aroma” package is a scent based package and features two aromatic teas. One of which is nicknamed ‘Queens Tea’ (Imperial Golden Cassica), as this is what Queen Elizabeth II had to drink on her visit. You are also given some snacks to enjoy.
The “Shades of Tea” package gives you a full tea experience, as it features one of each six types of tea. Your selection includes a Black Tea, White Tea, Red Tea, Floral Tea, Green Tea and a Oolong Tea. The package also includes some snacks.
A visit to a Chinese Teahouse is a pleasurable, relaxing experience, wrapped up in ritual and culture. Whether it is your first experience or you are experienced in Chinese Tea, it is a great place to visit. Tea Chapter is a brilliant place if you want to learn about the art and history of Chinese Tea, whether you just pop in for a tea and ask a few questions or go for a full workshop. If you’re visiting Singapore, visit Tea Chapter for a taste of Chinese Tea culture.