Tea Stop Singapore


Going to Singapore used to only mean one thing to me: hop from one cafe to the next to drink coffee until i feel so high. It’s been 3 years since i last visited Singapore. It’s still the smart aspirational city for me but some things have changed: me. From my heavy (coffee) drinking days, i now find myself sober sipping hot tea from a tiny elaborately decorated cup. While the itinerary is still very much ladened with specialty coffee shop stops, it has now been consequently peppered (if not more) with trips inside a dimly lit heaven of ceramics, clay teapots, and large jars of loose leaf teas. From squeezing my way to the coffee bar to see baristas in action up close, i now recline attentively behind a tea ceremonial table taking everything in with each sip.
Am i starting to unlike coffee? On the contrary! But i realised that i’m not as dependent on it than i thought i’am. To be honest, since my last cafe visits, i’ve been indulging myself more with non-coffee alternatives. Hence it also occurred to me that most of my favorite cafes always have a healthy selection of non-coffee drinks specifically teas. Most of them are even trying to make something unique and exciting out of it. On the other hand, i confess that more than being on the hunt for the latest high-grade specialty coffee, i’m realising that i love the coffee/cafe culture better.
As someone who’s also had a fair share of trying to keep a cafe business thriving and afloat, it’s very tricky to expand your menu without compromising artisan/specialty sometimes. The temptation to cater to what the mass market favours is very real. This burdened me. Therefore, realised i’m wanting to better support cafe owners and the cafe lifestyle who wishes to uphold artisan through beverage conceptualisation and tea supply. I still wish to run my own space someday, but not at this point in time.
From being a cafe/shop owner before, i now enjoy helping other cafes come up with more artisanal offerings.
And for that cause, i’ve been immersing in the art of tea from different cultures made by different people. I’m glad to say that it’s been a very joyful journey for me so far.  It’s very interesting how different cultures have their own way of tea. The Chinese drinks tea to socialize, Japanese makes matcha ceremoniously, the English with their afternoon tea time, the teh-tarik of Malaysians and Singaporeans, and the Indians with their chai for its ayurvedic quality (health benefits). 
Although i must say that tea, especially Chinese tea and matcha, can sometimes be intimidating. Just like how there’s the tea ceremony, or how each tea is brewed differently. The observed way to pour and serve it not to say the elegantly shaped ceramic and clay teapot utensils. I know it did intimidate me too. But one thing i learned during this trip, and which i’d gladly share, part of my goal is to help people drink serious tea less seriously. 
Hopefully, by learning more tea traditions, we might be able to serve that purpose. I hope we also never become one of those gatekeepers who qualify what makes a good cup imposing what is the “right way” to tea. I know i’d be happier serving and drinking tea with people who just want a pause and share a few good laughs together.