A Made in Singapore Tea Manual

Remember “Daniel” whom I met at Momo & Moomoo? He very generously passed me a copy of The Tea Bone Zen Mind Manual of Tea that he helped put together with another tea lover (“Joshua”).

While the tea scene in Singapore is not terribly vibrant (yet), I feel pretty stoked that such a gorgeous (see above), nifty book on tea can come out of this small island thanks to a few passionate tea souls. Both Daniel and Joshua painstakingly went through ancient Chinese tea texts and distilled their findings, thoughts and experiences in a well-organised, accessible manner.

The book is just over 120 pages long, but has some really interesting information on:

- Tea appreciation: Their sensible philosophy for enjoying tea (e.g. being alive to your senses, being real) can be applied to life in general.  I especially like this line they cited from philosopher, Li Ao. “The brewing of tea is an expression of one’s nature and only needs to follow one’s subjective self.”

- Teas to try: The writers are objective in their recommendations – BOH Premium Gold Tea Bag is on the list ;)

- The best water for tea: Ideally, spring water from Huishan, Suzhou. Realistically, SPA Reine and Volvic for us city dwellers. The writers actually did a taste test using different mineral water brands to brew tea with!

- Chinese tea history: Did you know that the Chinese bartered tea for Tibetan war horses? Yee hah.

The writing in this manual is balanced and down-to-earth, and there’s none of that hokey-pokey orientalism that sometimes seeps in with similar books that focus on Chinese teas. For tea lovers, it’s definitely a resource worth investing in.

The Tea Bone Zen Mind Manual of Tea is sold at Tea Bone Zen Mind (20 Hoot Kiam Road, Tel: 6334-4212) for S$50. 

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Miss Tea Delight (@MissTeaDelight)
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 19:00:45

    This is a beautiful tea house and i mean BEAUTIFUL-ly decorated cafe. Love the sake tea eggs, love the teas, but only drop in once in a blue moon when my pockets allow.

    Reply

  2. @kevo65sg
    Dec 26, 2012 @ 02:14:16

    I was considering adding the book to my collection till I discovered some typo error in Chinese, but that’s just me being anal…The writers also mentioned Spa Reine as the best, Volvic comes as a close second, but did not fully elaborate why, or the fact that either is not a perfect medium for all teas.

    Reply

    • mel
      Dec 26, 2012 @ 10:15:18

      Hi Kev, thanks for dropping a note! Heh, I spotted a few errors in English too but as a writer, I am sympathetic to how such boo boos might occur and regard this as a commendable project in self-publishing ;) Re: mineral water, true, I’d have liked to know more about their “findings” as well but I also feel the choice of water is a very subjective thing and should be experimented by the drinker himself/herself.

      Reply

      • Kevin
        Dec 26, 2012 @ 22:23:59

        Hi Mel, typo errors in any language is an eyesore; in most cases, they do not interfere with the meaning of the text. In Chinese however, a typo error can alter a meaning completely, such is the case when I read 屋堆 (house [?] piling) vs 渥堆 (hydrothermal piling, or composting).
        Mineral water. The authors of the book seem more concerned with the calcium and bicarbonate compositions in the mineral water they reviewed, though they did not elaborate so. In my travel experience, Volvic is more widely available than Spa Reine, so in a situation where one cannot get fish, one has to settle with shrimps.

      • mel
        Dec 26, 2012 @ 23:04:21

        Hi Kevin, ah I see where you’re coming from – and I think it is great you are so relentless with your tea knowledge. Perhaps you could visit Tea Bone Zen Mind one day to get your answers?

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