Deeply comforting with a beautiful taste and aroma, there’s just something about tea that warms the soul. Rooted in Chinese culture for more than 5,000 years, tea has the ability to foster connections and bring about a sense of belonging.
In the lead up to National Tea Day on 21st April, we spoke to Uncle Su’s tea connoisseur Jacky Chang about the importance of tea ritual and why it brings him back to his childhood.
From boosting energy levels to protecting against heart disease, reducing the risk of diabetes, aiding in digestion and regulating blood sugar levels, there are a plethora of wonderful reasons why drinking tea is not only good for the soul but also one’s health, too. From a young age, Uncle Su’s resident tea connoisseur and expert Jacky Chang remembers being taught about the numerous medicinal benefits of drinking Chinese tea.
“As a child we were rarely allowed to drink soft drinks or juice, which at the time was all I wanted! Now, I am grateful that tea and the knowledge of tea was instilled in me from the beginning,” says Jacky.
When asked about what he loves most about tea, Jacky reflects, “I love tea for more reasons than just the health benefits. Ch’a has been a symbol of China’s history and religion for more than 5,000 years. I enjoy drinking Chinese tea due to the distinct bitter flavour, hot and cold, and it always reminds me of home and my childhood. Also, in Chinese cuisine, tea plays a major role in enhancing flavour and complimenting dishes from start to end, very much like wine pairing.”
Over the years, tea has been sorted into five main categories. Black tea has fermented tea leaves, which accounts for its darker colour, whereas white tea is well known for its health benefits. Green tea is tea that has skipped the fermentation process and has retained the original colour of the tea leaves. Oolong tea is partially fermented, resulting in a dark green tea, and lastly floral tea uses the actual flower instead of the leaf. Each of the teas have its own signature flavour and aroma – and pair perfectly with Chinese cuisine.
“At Uncle Su, we aim to educate our guests about the traditional service of Chinese tea, but also the health benefits involved, and we offer a special tea ritual, too. The premium tea available at Uncle Su has been handpicked and paired specifically to the restaurant’s unique Szechaun cuisine and best compliments Uncle Su’s delicious dishes. All our team members are trained in the knowledge and service of each tea, catering to all guests’ needs.”
Beyond the taste and health benefits, Chinese tea leaves can be used for many other purposes, says Jacky. “Like all dry herbs and florals, some tea leaves can be used as deodoriser, as well as to absorb dampness in closets and insect repellents.”
Though at the end of the day, tea is all about bringing people together.
“When consuming Chinese tea at Uncle Su, we would love for our guests to relax, feel connected to each other and forget about their surroundings. Re-immerse back into ancient China to really taste the unique flavour of the specific chosen tea accompanied with our special style of cuisine.”