Hong Kong’s Tempest Of Tastes In A Tea Cup: LockCha Tea Shop

It’s clean and quaint, filled with beautiful old wooden furniture, hand painted tea sets lining the alcoves, discs of golden printed and vintage marked teas.

 

Hong Kong, is one of the few cities in the world where reality is restrained. From the over pouring scents from old world medicinal herb and item shops, narrow trolleys from a strange steam punk era that never was, to the flickering neon signs in a plethora of languages new and old. There is a “Blade Runner” like feel, surreal and futuristic but still preserving years gone by, a tasty mystery at every tiny Hong Kong bakery, hidden histories at every darkened and steamy alley and secreted gems deep at the back of that odd little shop that may or may not contain the mystical Mogwai you have always wanted since you saw “Gremlins” as a child. This is all waiting for you in the Sheung Wan district of Hong Kong, waiting for you to find and share.

If you happen to travel down one of these dark alleys, up a side street and up a few steps you will discover one such location. The LockCha Tea Shop is a rare find. As soon as you walk in, you are forced to quickly look back at the door to assure yourself the busy bustling city is still there. It feels that different, when you cross the portal. It’s clean and quaint, filled with beautiful old wooden furniture, hand painted tea sets lining the alcoves, discs of golden printed and vintage marked teas. Lovely displays stacked in silken pyramids in red, green and pink. At LockCha, you will find everything you can imagine that is tea related, and of incredibly quality. Even the tea flavored chocolate was delicate and sumptuous.

Are you hooked yet? Have I told you enough to make you take an hour or so out of your trip to experience this Hong Kong treasure?  But wait there’s more, the number one reason to come to LockCha Tea Shop, it’s the Tea Experience!!

From entering the shop you are greeted so gently and amicably you feel like you have immediately made a new friend. The woman who helped me, ,casually asked me about my interests in tea and if she could help me find anything or try some delicious teas. We sat down at small counter that was both comfortable and personal. From delicate green jasmine to fruity luscious and peachy Phoenix oolong, you will be introduced to the history of each tea as well as proper tea pouring and serving.  Tea, which I was raised to equate with a yellow and orange tagged cotton mesh square labeled “LIPTON” has nothing on this. Even from my experiences in the UK with various tasty and excellent milky sweet versions don’t compare with the range of aromatic complexity that I didn’t know I could appreciate until this shop. You will be especially shocked as a westerner by the last moment of drinking your tea, as the tea is completely drank and you hold the elegant and simple cup up to your nose the intensity is surprisingly strong, so fragrant and intense, and they are all different!

And don’t worry about getting confused; all the teas you try are lined up across the front of your service tray. Each with a tag to help you recall the name, a quick sniff and you are brought back to the flavor notes of each one.

It’s easy to lose track of time, you will become entranced in trying each tea. Before you know it you will be a modern day Marco Polo, piling up all troves of tea and tea related goods to pack ultra-tightly into your carry on! It is such a genuine and lovely experience you will barely be able to wait to repeat it at home and share with friends and family!

For those who would like a more luxurious, more educational, and a bit of a social mixer atmosphere, I recommend the LockCha Tea House with Music Concert on Sundays and Saturdays, or the Cultural Salon on the first of the month! The Dimsum served is complimentary to the teas and you. On my next trip I am signing up for “Tea and Caligraphy” maybe I will see you there.

However, if you have just one or two hours of free time on Hong Kong island, make it a romantic adventure and go see LockCha tea shop!

Article and Photos by Doug Sharp.

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