“You can’t have a shallow conversation over a cup of good quality tea,” says Mingwei. His business card is a sachet of one of his favourite teas and states that he is a Tea Merchant at Nigiro (inside Origin Coffee Roasting house) in De Waterkant. His staff give him much more reverence and call him Tea Master.
Mingwei’s specialist knowledge of tea has recently been called upon in the selection of eight eminent teas to be served at Cape Grace and in training many and varied staff in the art of tea making, drinking, serving and storing. A few minutes with Mingwei and you soon realise that the art of tea is so much more than you ever thought.
For example, did you know that tea is feminine equating to Ying energy? Mingwei says tea is introverted, reserving its energy and flavour until released by the art of making the tea. Coffee on the other hand is masculine, extrovert and expressive, full of Yang energy. It was felt, in the house of Origin Coffee, that the energy from a tea room would bring balance and it is amazing how two spaces side by side can so visibly demonstrate this concept. The name Nigiro is also a reflection of energy exchange – it is Origin spelled backwards and as luck would have it, in Japanese it means holding hands.
Making the perfect cup of tea is determined by a few very important things; the quality of the tea, the temperature of the water and how long it is infused. For example, Green Tea should only be steeped for 1-3 minutes at 80-85ºC. Black Teas like Ceylon and Earl Grey need 3-5 minutes at 95-100ºC and Herbal Teas, Fruit Infusions and Rooibos reach their potential at 6 minutes and 95-100ºC (just before boiling point). Oh and there’s one more thing that is needed for the perfect cuppa – the love you put into it!
Mingwei is convinced that if Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama were in a room together, they would be drinking tea, because in the words of his teacher, “You can conquer the world one cup at a time”.
Win yourself an Origin Coffee and Nigiro Tea Set to the value of R5 000 by dropping your business card into their shop before joining us in the Library at Cape Grace for a jolly good cuppa.