Thursday, 30 September 2010

Zensation Teahouse , Redfern

Warm welcome by Goldie

We were greeted with a warm hello from behind the counter followed by a friendly approach by the resident dog, Goldie.
Isn't it just so adorable ?? Goldie was very friendly, too friendly perhaps for its own good. It had just escaped from a kidnapping dognapping attempt earlier on the day of our visit.
Apparently someone just walked into the store and walked away with Goldie ! 0_o

Chinese themed tea wares ; Paper kite & lamp

I stumbled upon Zensation when doing some detective work (read : Google search) to find out who supply the milky oolong tea that we had at The Commons a couple of times.
Luckily it didn't take me long to find out where we can get it, not too bad considering I only have the tea name and the picture on the tin to start with :D
Although the tea's origin is from Taiwan, my friend who just returned from holiday there couldn't get one that has the same flavour, weird isn't it ?

Premium Jasmine Tea

There were so many tea to choose from and we just couldn't decide. By we I meant me as my friend already had her mind set on Milky Oolong (surprise!). Christina, the owner of the tea house, recommended the Premium Jasmine Tea as I wanted something light.

The Premium Jasmine Tea is my kind of tea, not too much tannin and has a delicate but distinct jasmine aroma.

Glasswares for Jasmine Tea

At Zensation they took great details into brewing and serving the tea so the customer can enjoy the flavour of the tea to the fullest.  It's more of a tea experience than just simply drinking it out of a cup here.

For my jasmine tea, the leaves are left to brew in the pot for about 1 minute, transfer it to another glass carafe so you do not over brew the tea and damage its delicate flavour. Then pour it into the small cup and enjoy. 
Of course you can top up with more hot water, again and again - we had ours refilled diligently about 4 - 5 times :)

Milky Oolong 

My friend's order of her favourite Milky Oolong tea arrived on a tray with so much more tea wares, some I've never seen before. 
Her tea wares are definitely more traditional than my modern glass wares :)

What's the little tall & round cup for ?

Different tea, different way of enjoying it.  First couple of steps are the same, let brew ( a little longer for Oolong) and pour into another container before pouring into the small cup. Next, place the tall cup upside down inside the little round cup.
Why ? So that the steam which contains all the flavour volatiles rise up and fill the empty cavity of the inverted tall cup. Leave it for 30sec, lift the tall one up, bring it up to your nose and inhale the aroma, neat isn't it ?
However, this aroma cupping step can only be done once, at the beginning.

Tea wares for sale ; Tea leaves in foil packs ; Incense burning 

As we were enjoying our new ways of appreciating tea, Raymond, the store owner ( Christina's father) came by to chat with us. Obviously noted that we both are newbie to the proper way of drinking tea :P
He then explained about the concept of the tea house which is to introduce to Sydneysiders the tea drinking cultures, the many varieties of teas available and also the correct way to enjoy it.
Take for example the different tea wares used to serve our tea, there is a reason behind it and I thought it was all for aesthetic purposes only - I'm so ignorant >_<
The Jasmine was served in glasswares while Oolong in earthenwares because the type of material the tea wares were made of will affect the flavour of the tea.
No wonder the tea tasted different when brewing it at home :) Then again I have a bad habit of leaving the tea brewing too long and end up with tea so bitter you need cakes to go with it (good excuse ? yeah :D).

Beside running the tea house with his daughter, Raymond is also heavily involved in the chinese communities. His background is actually interior design so it is natural I suppose that he had parts in designing the pretty Chinese New Year lantern parade ! 

Dim sum to accompany your tea

Although we just had a big lunch, we just couldn't go pass ordering some dim sum to go with our tea.
We manage to exercise self control though and only ordered a few pieces to share.

Custard Tart

The custard tart was nice, the pastry was flaky and the egg custard has just the right level of sweetness. 

Medium Basket of Steamed Dumplings ; Xiao Long Bao

The dim sim are available in a basket of 3, 4 or 12 pieces and you get to choose what you'd like in your basket. 
We opted for the medium basket of 4 pieces and chose  2 xiao long bao and 2 vegetarians dumplings. 
To our surprise we got 2 different type of vegetarian dumplings, one has mushroom filling with strong Chinese herbal flavour while the other is filled with chives. 
The skins were a tad thick to our liking, however the fillings were delicious. The xiao long bao although not having much soup in it was actually quite juicy and meaty.

Zensation also runs tea appreciation sessions where you get to taste several different types of tea in one seating. A Chinese High Tea is also available here where you can enjoy your tea with various traditional dim sims and sweets.
I think all the tea pots and cups on display are for sale and why not grab a bag or two of their extensive tea range on your way out :)
Planning on gathering some tea loving friends and return to Zensation to do the tea appreciation class :)


Zensation Teahouse on Urbanspoon


  1. i love the range of teas at Zensation. you have to have the one that opens like a flower if you haven't tried yet. it's really cool :-)

  2. simon : ah..the blossoming tea balls ! Haven't had it at Zensation before, maybe I'll get that on the next visit.

  3. I’ve been trying to exercise and drink more tea everyday. With and these flowering teas, it’s been a breeze!

    Up til now, Jasmine Flower is my favorite!