In keeping with a current theme, my previous two posts talked about my favourite tearooms in the UK. Having moved over to Brisbane last year, I naturally had to check out the tearooms here and two places spring to mind!
The Tea Centre is rapidly growing having just opened a new place in Chermside, with several branches in Queensland, New South Wales and ACT. I first became acquainted with the Albert Lane branch as I started to settle into Brisbane and, as I was trying to become familiar with my new adopted home, I arranged most of my meetings here as it enabled me to try a new tea every time I went (they have over 180 different teas and herbal infusions to choose from).
What impressed me about the tearoom is the staff knowledge. Unfortunately, I’ve been to places where they have told me about a white tea and described it as a green, or an oolong which is a type of semi-oxidized green. That wasn’t the case here, and on one occasion I even had the service staff tell me how long they had steeped the tea, enabling me to decide how long I wanted to steep it further before I drank the tea. The Tea Centre also introduced me to Australian Daintree. Before I came to Australia, I was vaguely aware of a couple of tea plantations but had never tried the tea. You can imagine my surprise when I tried an Australia Sencha.
Qi Qi Shi is right in the heart of Chinatown, Fortitude Valley and has a wonderful range of teas, catering to the novice as well as the seasoned drinker. Mr Lau is extremely passionate about two things — art and tea — and when you walk upstairs into his place, you can see why. You enter the tearoom and immediately are greeted with a cheeky “Hello. Welcome!” and whilst you look around to see who was doing the greeting, you are faced with a beautiful collection of Chinese art. Some art is contemporary, some traditional but an absolute pleasure to the senses none-the-less. Walking down the room is an absolute delight as you walk past beautiful Chinese tops, books, and a large range of Yixing Teapots and tea ware.
You are spoilt for choice for seating: whether you wish to experience Gong Fu ceremonial style tea, an intimate wooden booth that seats four or whether you wish to have lunch with your tea, Qi Qi Shi is truly a remarkable chinese style tearoom. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Mr Lau on several occasions (whilst improving my Cantonese speaking skills at the same time) on tea, culture, Australia, UK and even scuba diving. So if you’re new to tea and would like to try a chinese herbal, a roasted oolong or a raw pu’erh, this place is definitely a good place to start.
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