Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tea time!

If names like China rose, Blood Orange Rooibos, Gunpowder Mint or Lady Grey Blend have you reaching for your teapot then a visit to O’Ways is definitely needed. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the launch of O'Ways Tea Cafe and coffee emporium in Claremont, Cape Town.

Photographer Angie and I were welcomed with jasmine and oolong ice tea, which we sipped with the scent of what seemed like hundreds of fresh orchid blooms hanging in the air. The interior of the café is calm and tranquil with shelves of pretty glass jars filled with over 64 various teas to allow for casual sniffing. Urns spilling over with fresh orchids on dark wooden surfaces give the space a subtle oriental feel. Tea is expertly brewed and served in glass teapots - each with its very own little timer for perfect brewing. A highlight is definitely the ceremonial tea table, which can be booked for tea ceremonies led by master tea merchant Mingwei Tsai.

The menu is completely vegetarian so with interest and anticipation we sat down to tasting portions of items of various dishes off the menu all paired with exotic teas. Chilled watermelon and wasabi soup, Fried tofu nuggets with daikon carrot salad, Traditional Chinese dumplings and miniature fruit tartlets with mango and litchi all nodded towards the Asian influence chef Marion Kumpf has given to the menu.

Speciality coffee beans sourced from our own continent are given an artisan roasting before being brewed by barista’s trained at the Origin Coffee Roasting Company. Both coffee and tea leaves can be purchased as well as traditional teapots, canisters and teacups.

I left with a bag of Sakura green sencha tea flavoured with Japanese cherry blossoms and will definitely be returning to this calm sanctuary to enjoy the breathtaking orchids, piano tinkling in the background, tasty, healthy food and of course, for an aromatic tea fix.