A Spot of Tea

28 Jan

Hi Hive!

Can you believe it’s already been more than a week since Mr Big and I got married? ‘Cause I certainly can’t. So far, married life is treating both Mr Big and I pretty darn good. We spent most of the post-wedding week catching up with friends and family, New Zealand, Indonesian and Australian-alike. (We may have also gorged ourselves on a little too much food).

I can’t launch into my recaps yet since I’m still waiting on my pro photos, but let me show you a picture of Mr Big and me with some Bighorn Sheep relatives:

taronga_sheepen

Mr Big and I with some Bighorn Sheep relatives! You can barely see them, but they’re there! / Personal Image.

Now, I did mention in my last post that I had a few more things to talk about. So Hive, let’s talk tea.

In a previous post, I talked about the Chinese tea ceremony and the significance of this cultural event in a Chinese wedding. Mr Big and I were happy to have it in our wedding, and ultimately decided that we would be having it at the Oriental Pagoda in the Hunter Valley Gardens.

However, the one task that proved difficult for Mr Big and I was selecting the tea. I mentioned previously that the type of tea often used for a Chinese tea ceremony is either a sweet tea, such as longan tea, or a standard Chinese tea such as green or jasmine.

lotus and date tea

Tea served with lotus seeds and red dates, symbolic of the newlyweds bearing children quickly and often. The sweetness of the tea is also supposed to invoke “sweet relations” between the families. / Image via Are You Gonna Eat That?. Photography via Pelaez Photography (out of business).

Mr Big and I however, ever the non-traditional, decided we’d go with something else.

You see, Hive, in Australia there’s a tea shop called T2 which sells a whole heap of different tea, from green to black, jasmine to tisane. During our first few months together, Mr Big decided he wanted to “try more Asian things” (he’s adorable), so he bought a container of tea called “Geisha Green”. Essentially, it was green tea infused with dried strawberries and cream.

That container was finished within a month.

And so it was decided by Mr Big and me that we would be using the Geisha Green for our Chinese tea ceremony (for obvious reasons). However, about 6 months away from the wedding, we got my parents to try it. My dad took one sip and reeled backwards.

He absolutely hated it.

That was when Mr Big and I realised that, if my dad hated it, his brothers would really hate it and my aunts and uncles from Indonesia would despise it.

Balls.

So what’s a bride and groom to do?

Sit on it for 3 more months, that’s what.

It was in October that we decided to get off our asses and pull the trigger on the tea conundrum. We needed to get this tea thing sorted. Our choices were either:

  1. Go the traditional! That meant either choosing a traditional green or jasmine tea (boooo-ring) or going the sweet tea route (and we had never tried the sweet tea, so we were wary about that).
  2. Find more non-traditional options. Our local T2 was about a 20-minute drive from us and we loved shopping there anyway!

It’s pretty obvious from the two choices above which one we chose (its 2, guys).

So on a Sunday morning, we dragged Groom’s Homie Oddball, MoH M&Ms, and The Don – M&M’s boyfie – out to Parramatta mall. The first shop we hit was T2!

Upon entering, we checked out all of the options and made mental notes on what would work best. The things we needed to consider were:

  • The elder folk and their tastebuds. Papa and Mama Bighorn are used to, and enjoy drinking, traditional tea. So to them, and probably the rest of my aunts and uncles, green and jasmine tea would prove the most enjoyable. On the other hand, Mr Big’s side of the family is used to the “typical cuppa” – tea with milk and sugar. Traditional Chinese tea can be pretty darn strong, so I worried they wouldn’t be able to drink the traditional teas. Therefore, the tea for the Chinese tea ceremony needed to be traditional enough for my side, but light enough for Mr Big’s side.
  • The quantity of the tea. Leading up to the wedding, we had relatives state that they weren’t going to make it to the Chinese tea ceremony. However, Mr Big and I had contingencies in place (read: extra tea and an über jug to brew said tea) just in case they decided to change their mind and make an appearance on the day without telling us (they did).
  • The quality of the tea. It was important for Mr Big and I that the tea not only tasted and looked good, but we also knew was of great quality. We’d heard a horror story of two friends who shopped at a local (and popular) spice mart and had weevils in the spice. This place also sold tea. This was one of the top reasons why we chose to shop with T2.
  • And finally, how we’d serve the tea. We wanted to make it easy for my bridesmaids and our Good Luck Lady Lucky to brew and pour the tea, therefore making it significantly easier for us to get through each of the elders.

So with that, our search commenced. After some faffing around, we decided – ultimately – that the best port of call for us would be to get the helpful suggestions of the ladies at T2. One in particular was extremely helpful, having done tea ceremonies herself.

She suggested Snow Dragon Jasmine as the “base notes” for the tea.

HeroSnowDragonJasmine

Tea leaves of the Snow Dragon Jasmine. / Image taken from the T2 website.

This tea combines both green and jasmine tea together. It’s a light tea, good for the palettes of Mr Big’s family, but traditional (and so tasty), which is good for my side. She suggested we brew two to three teaspoons before serving. It’s also “re-brew-able”, which means the flavour lasts for longer.

We thought that was it, but she then brought out a tea from their “Just” range – Just Rose.

just rose

‘Just Rose’ rose buds. / Image taken from the T2 website.

Like the picture implies, the ‘Just Rose’ tea consists of dried rose buds only. To brew this tisane, they recommend grabbing 3-4 of them per 200mls and brewing them in water for 5-7 minutes. It’s also high in Vitamin C and the scent you get from it as you sip is amazing.

Our assistant that day told us to pop just one rose bud in per cup of tea during the Chinese tea ceremony to infuse the flavour and give it a unique taste and aroma. We took her word for it and decided to buy them both. It also helped that I have a thing for roses. We also bought two pretty containers for them in green and red.

t2 green container

Pretty green container for our green-jasmine tea! / Image taken from the T2 website.

Once we got back home, we brewed ourselves a cup or two (or three) and shared them around. Papa Bighorn’s reaction was what sold us on the idea. He absolutely loved it and went back for another cup. Mama Bighorn was pleased with our choice as well.

And finally, that meant Mr Big and I had crossed off an important to-do on our list!

Who else had trouble pulling the trigger on a particular wedding-related task? Anyone else have to change the direction on something because someone important didn’t like it?

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