(Photo by Anete Lusina on Unsplash)
If like me, you can lay many a testament down beside Lin Yutang’s sentiment about tea then you’re going to love this… Yutang said “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation” and, quite frankly, I couldn’t agree more.
For me, tea is so much more than just a boiling combination of cured leaves. Each cup of tea is a conversation, a gift of blended leaves to myself and an opportunity to take ten minutes to pretend that the world isn’t in the rotation while I regroup. It’s a magical thing, a religion of its own that has temples of its own. So, allow me to point you in the direction of a few of my favourite tea shrines in Joburg.
Yswara Tea Room in Maboneng
At Yswara they understand the healing elements of plants, and teas, and share this mastery in an urban tea room that houses a rich gathering of teas. Their teas are uniquely African and carry handcrafted flavours produced by farmers whose relationship with the earth is as natural as breathing. Their tea collection, which resembles a box of rare stones, includes Thousand Hills Majesty, Thyolo Slopes, Askia of Songhai, Ibimanuka, Ooni of Ife, King Lalibela, Abla Pokou, Mbuya Nehanda and Shaka Zulu is truly a wonder. They also sell gorgeous teatime accessories so that even in the confines of your own space teatime can be a magical time.
Origin in Maboneng
Origin is best known for its specialty coffees which are sourced from all over the world, in a nutshell, I’d call them the coffee connoisseurs. But, what you might not know is that in addition to brewing miracle coffee they also have an exceptional tea collection. Packed away in beautiful glass jars you’ll find an exotic collection of teas which include Sakura tea, Wenshan Baozhong tea, Rooibos Earl Grey, Malawian satemwa tea, English breakfast tea, Assam hajua tea, Darjeeling second flush tea, pure wild Rooibos, African Sun and chamomile etc. They serve the tea on a chunky wooden tray that holds a beautiful cast iron teapot – it really makes all the difference. The devil is in the detail. You’ve also got the option to have it cold which I particularly enjoy on hot summer days, plus the colours alone are an ode to summer.
The Tea Room at Crabtree and Evelyn in Fourways
This tea room is committed to celebrating the tradition of afternoon tea in a delightful nook. In the company of an eclectic mix of antique furniture, and all the cosy homeliness of a traditional English country kitchen you’re in the perfect setting to some self-love and a pot of tea. Put your feet up as you enjoy an expertly blend of herbal teas like peppermint or rosehip tea or one or their stronger flavoured black teas. And, of course, if you have a sweet tooth then their delicious homemade butter cookies and crunch biscuits, cakes, and fresh scones which you can pair with fresh cream or preserves and marmalades will go down pretty well.
Contessa Tea Connoisseur in Johannesburg
Contessa’s is a shrine for tea snobs. This tea room is a dream for those of you who adore old fashioned Twinings tea cans, red-and-white striped wallpaper, walls lined with vintage photos and paintings along with elaborately framed mirrors of every kind.They offer tea tasting in packages of six which opens you up to a selection of teas that will blow your mind and tastebuds. With samples of coconut snow, caramel rum, and Russian caravan to name a few, you’re in a world worth getting lost in. And, if you’d like something extra then add a slice of chocolate coconut cake, and it might just feel like a full circle moment.
So, how about a cuppa something lovely at one of these tea shrines?