Tea tasting at Nigiro MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Tea Time at Nigiro

Y’know, most people can’t function without their morning coffee. But for me, it’s all about the rooibos. Don’t get me wrong, I get the whole coffee thing—the aroma, the whole process of brewing a perfect cup (not that instant junk). But I’ve always been more of a tea person. And let me tell you, finding a spot for a truly amazing cup of tea isn’t easy, especially in Cape Town. Well, except for Nigiro.

Tucked away at the back of Origin, this super popular coffee bar in Cape Town, you’ll find Nigiro (pronounced “Origin” but backwards). It’s a little slice of tea heaven. The vibe is totally zen — soft, ambient lighting, a peaceful trickling stream flowing through the tea room, and some soothing Asian tunes playing in the background.

If you’re looking for a delightful tea experience, just order a pot from our extensive menu. Our tea baristas are extremely knowledgeable and can guide you to the perfect choice. Each tea comes with instructions, as different teas need to be brewed at different temperatures and for varying times. To keep your pot warm, small tea lights burn underneath it. And before you take your first sip, your cup is warmed with hot water. Trust me, once you try this, you’ll realize how much you’ve been missing out by mindlessly dunking a tea bag in your cup every morning.

But if you truly want to immerse yourself in the world of tea and savor it like a fine wine at a tasting, I highly recommend trying a tea ceremony or a tea tasting at Nigiro. It’s the best way to experience the full tea experience and truly appreciate the flavors and nuances of our teas.

Have you ever experienced a traditional Taiwanese tea ceremony? Let me tell you, it’s quite an extraordinary event! Picture this: a beautifully crafted tea ceremony table imported all the way from Taiwan, where the ceremonies originate. I had the incredible opportunity to attend one of these ceremonies at Nigiro, a tea shop owned by a Taiwanese expat named Mingwei Tsai.

As I sat around the tea ceremony table, I was about to embark on a journey that combined the art, science, and cultural heritage of tea. Mingwei Tsai, our knowledgeable guide, led us through the ceremony, sharing his deep understanding of tea and its fascinating properties.

From the moment the ceremony began, I was captivated by the grace and precision with which every movement was executed. Each action had a purpose, carefully choreographed to enhance the tea-drinking experience. It was like watching a dance, with Mingwei Tsai as the conductor, orchestrating each step in harmony.

But this ceremony wasn’t just about the aesthetics and rituals. Mingwei Tsai delved into the science behind tea, explaining how various factors like water temperature and steeping time can greatly affect the taste and aroma of the tea. It was like peeling back the layers of a complex puzzle, revealing the secrets and subtleties of this ancient beverage.

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As I sipped on the tea, I couldn’t help but marvel at the depth and complexity of the flavors. Mingwei Tsai had carefully selected each tea for its unique qualities, showcasing the vast diversity that tea has to offer. It was a sensory journey, with every sip bringing me closer to a deeper appreciation of this beloved drink.

As the ceremony came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the experience I had just been a part of. This traditional Taiwanese tea ceremony had not only satisfied my thirst, but it had also awakened my curiosity and enriched my understanding of tea.

If you ever have the chance to attend a traditional tea ceremony, I highly recommend it. It’s not just about the tea itself, but also the stories, traditions, and cultural significance that surround it. So, next time you’re looking for a unique and enlightening experience, consider immersing yourself in the world of tea. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I want to share with you the amazing experience I had during a tea ceremony with Mingwei. He taught me something incredible – the importance of water in this ancient ritual.

Picture this: Mingwei poured water all over our cups, not to make a mess, but to warm them up. It was like a magical gesture that set the stage for what was to come. And what came next was Oolong tea, a special kind of tea that is grown and semi-fermented in the beautiful mountains of Taiwan.

Now, here’s the fascinating part: the first drop of tea that is poured from the teapot is completely different from the last drop. It’s like they have their own personality! To capture the essence of each drop, the infused tea is carefully poured into a jug. This jug, called a “sea of tea” in Chinese, represents the endless possibilities of tea.

But the journey doesn’t end there. The next step is pouring the tea into a fragrance cup. And that’s where the magic happens. You see, your drinking cup is placed on top of the fragrance cup and then quickly flipped over. It’s like a little trick, but it has a purpose. As you remove the fragrance cup, a pocket of air gets trapped in your drinking cup. This simple movement aerates the tea, making it even more fragrant and delightful.

And let me tell you, a good cup of Oolong tea is something you won’t forget. It’s like a symphony of flavors, starting with the floral notes, then the subtle hints, and finally a touch of sweetness. But here’s the thing, with each infusion of the tea leaves, the flavors change and evolve, creating new and exciting sensations.

So, the next time you have a cup of tea, I invite you to think about the journey it took to reach your lips. Remember the warm water, the sea of tea, and the enchanting fragrance cup, all coming together to create a truly remarkable experience. Cheers to the beauty and complexity of tea!

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Let me tell you about oolong tea, it’s quite fascinating! This tea grows slowly in the high mountains, and some people believe that this gives it a special kind of energy from the mountains. Did you know that the taste of oolong can actually change depending on when it’s harvested? Oolong that’s harvested in the spring tends to be sweeter compared to the tea harvested in the winter. And here’s an interesting thing – during the summer and autumn, when the tea plants grow faster, the leaves release their flavor more quickly when you infuse them in hot water. How cool is that?

When it comes to tea ceremonies, Mingwei believes they serve an important social purpose. You see, in Asian countries, like many of the highly industrialized ones, society is divided into two contrasting sides. On one hand, there are people who are all about efficiency and always pressed for time. On the other hand, there’s a great emphasis on finding places where silence and meditation can take place. This is where tea houses come into play, as they play a crucial role in creating a calming and peaceful atmosphere in people’s lives. It’s like pressing the pause button and giving yourself the time to fully enjoy and appreciate a cup of tea.

Following the tea ceremony, we moved on to tea tasting, which was an extraordinary experience that heightened our senses. Under Mingwei’s guidance, we sampled a total of nine different teas that covered the entire spectrum of flavors. From bold black teas to delicate green teas, and even unique options like red tea, rooibos, and herbal infusions, we had the chance to explore and appreciate the diverse world of teas.

So, I tried the most high-priced green tea option on the menu – a Japanese gyokuro asahi that costs R300 for 100 grams. Let me tell you, it was an experience like no other. This tea blew my taste buds away! It’s nothing like the bitter green tea you get from a tea bag. Instead, it’s like sipping on a fresh, grassy oasis with a delicate touch of silky greenness.

Prepare yourself, because gyokuro asahi isn’t just any green tea – it’s the king of all green teas. It holds the title for being the most expensive green tea in the whole wide world! You’re probably wondering, what makes it so special? Well, here’s the secret.

The tea leaves for gyokuro asahi grow in the shade of big, leafy trees. But that’s not all – they even use bamboo mats to give them extra shade for several weeks before harvesting. This shade game does wonders for the tea. It increases the chlorophyll content in the leaves, which magically translates into that fantastic green taste of the tea.

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Wow, what a journey it was to explore all the different types of teas! I had the pleasure of trying a variety of flavors, from a refreshing green tea infused with real peach pieces to a down-to-earth blend of lapsang souchong and Keemun. There was even a beautifully fragrant Earl Grey and a Chinese red tea called pu-erh, which is known for its cellulite-eliminating properties and is highly sought after, much like fine wines.

I tried a few different herbal teas and they were all amazing. One of my favorites was Herbal Sundown, which had a mix of lemon balm, peppermint, camomile, lavender, orange blossom, lemongrass, and heather. It had a gentle and lemony flavor, making it the perfect tea to drink before bed. Another tea I loved was Pina Colada, which tasted just like the cocktail but without any alcohol. It was a fruity blend of apple, hibiscus, pineapple, coconut, and rosehips. Being a fan of rooibos, I couldn’t resist trying Tropical Paradise and Blood Orange. Tropical Paradise had a tropical fruit infusion, while Blood Orange had the essence of blood orange mixed with rooibos.

The whole experience was really memorable. If you’re used to just dunking a tea bag in a mug with milk and sugar, then a tea tasting or ceremony at Nigiro will completely change your perspective on tea. You’ll get to explore a whole new world of flavors and types of tea that you never knew existed.

Hey there! Let me tell you about the wonderful tea offerings at Nigiro. They have something for everyone, and the prices are pretty great too!

If you’re in the mood for a simple pot of tea, you can have any kind on the menu for just R25. But if you’re feeling a bit fancy, you can go for a ceremonial pot of tea for R35. It’s a bit more special and comes with some delicious steamed Taiwanese dumplings. Oh, and if you want Mingwei, the tea master, to perform the ceremony, that’ll cost you an extra R25.

Now, if you’re a true tea enthusiast and want to try a variety of teas, then the tea tastings are perfect for you. For R125, you get to try six different pots of tea. It’s a real treat for your taste buds!

And here’s the best part – you can actually buy bags of the teas on the menu! The prices vary depending on the type of tea you choose, so you can take your favorites home and enjoy them whenever you want.

Now, if you’re thinking of booking a tea tasting or a ceremony, I recommend doing it in advance, especially on weekends. Nigiro gets pretty busy, so it’s always a good idea to secure your spot.

As for the opening hours, Nigiro is open from 09h00 to 17h00 on Mondays to Fridays, and from 09h00 to 14h00 on weekends. So, whether you want a mid-week tea break or a relaxing weekend tea session, Nigiro has got you covered!

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