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  • Writer's pictureJohnny

Monkey Picked Tea

Updated: Feb 24

Two red flags greeted me after getting off the small airplane. My eyes barely staying open after sleeping the flight away, looked at these flags with curiosity. Bright Yellow stars hid away in the corner of one flag; while a bright white flower boldly stood in the center of the other. We had arrived in Hong Kong.

As is my custom now, I tried to research some teas local to Hong Kong. Four came up. Two being imported and grown, while the other two were native to Hong Kong. My girlfriend and I explored the various streets of Hong Kong. Each day consuming a new kind of food or seeing some new sight. It wasn't long though before my eyes began the search for tea shops.

Honestly, I was surprised. All through other asian countries, you will find milk tea shops at every corner. Different brands, blends, and more. There would also be cafes for coffee and tea. In Hong Kong, the best place for me to get tea was in it's restaurants, especially Dim Sum. At most restaurants you can order some kind of black tea or Hong Kong's bitter-but-good milk tea (my girlfriend stayed away from this, while I took pleasure in drinking it). There are established tea shops that sell pots, cups, and tea leaves; just not as prominent as I thought it would be.

In reality, I only checked out two tea shops while in Hong Kong. The first was a quick stop. I got excited as I entered and saw the large traditional wooden stump turned into a table. The tea cakes lining the wall, and a glass display showing beautiful tea pots. All the excitement quickly vanished as they only sold Pu'er tea.

The second tea shop wasn't until the very end of the trip. My girlfriend and I stumbled upon the famous "Temple Street" night market. The streets were full of people and vendors. Turkish, Indian, Thai, and more. The scents of greasy street food filled the air. Just as we were approaching the big gate to leave Temple Street, I saw a tea shop tucked into the side. It's glass walls giving a glimpse to dark wooden shelves holding the treasures I was after.

Gingerly, we stepped inside. Being weary of my backpack, I viewed what was to my left and right. There was just enough room in the tea shop to stand single file. Teas, all meticulously labeled and sorted, were packaged nicely on the shelves to my right. To my left, various tea cakes were proudly put on display with their own lights shining brightly over the decorated paper. Walking further in revealed tables, shelves, and boxes all stacked with various teapots. Their shapes, colors, and designs all showing the craftsmanship that went into the art.

A sleepy women who ran the shop stood up as we entered. She let us know the prices, answered our questions with a yawn, and even showed us samples of the leaves. Out of all the teas that were on display, one caught my eye. "Monkey Picked Tie Guan Yin". The name captured an image of monkeys on a mountain picking tea from tall trees. Grabbing the small bag, I bought it.

My search for Hong Kong native tea failed. I explored a lot of Hong Kong in the process and found a new, delicious tea in the process.


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