TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: Mixology Salon

WHERE: Mixology Salon, Tokyo In a city where the traditional converges with the avant-garde, Mixology Salon sits at the center and offers creative tea-inspired spirits using a curated collection of premium teas leaves – from hojicha-infused bourbon and soba cha vodka to oolong tea-flavoured rum and sencha gin – in a relaxed and understated nook atop Ginza Six shopping mall. Their star mixologist Shuzo Nagumo introduced “teatail”, which became the ne plus ultra of their menu. Using Gyokuro – regarded as the highest quality of green tea natively – a cocktail course is charged with three different levels of infusion so you can savor the nuances between each tea strength. There is a certain ceremony to the experience that is quintessentially Japanese: to complete the course, you will be served with a smoked oyster soy sauce finished with the residual Gyokuro tea leaves. If you hit the bar during the right time of the year, you might get to try

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TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: Kou-An Glass Teahouse

WHERE: Kou-An Glass Teahouse, Tokyo Tea, since time immemorial, has been an important thread in Japan’s cultural and philosophical fabric. Artist Tokujin Yoshioka crystallized his reverence for his native tradition in a different form that sheds a new light on the art of tea in today’s milieu. Images: Tokujin Yoshioka The minimal glass architecture forgoes the typical physical elements one would find in a teahouse, such as a tatami, Ikebana, and calligraphy scroll. It is reduced to the rudiments of how tea ceremony is appreciated: in a state of mind that transcends time, space, and object. In the open-window concept, observers will see the transparent installation’s poetic expression in constant flux under the travelling sunlight at different times of the day. Spatial cognition is thrown in sharp relief when one moves into it, as the line between indoor and the surrounding environment is invisible. It is an experience that would pique your deeper senses and a newfound appreciation for the

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TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: Hua Shan Teahouse

WHERE: Hua Shan Teahouse, Shaan’Xi Province, China There is nothing more ceremonial than a pilgrimage to the summit of Hua Shan, China, for a fine cup of tea. If your grit is higher than the scale of the mountain – standing at 2,160 meters tall – we challenge you to hike it. The road to heaven is a surreal and vertigo-inducing experience a thrill-seeker would not want to miss. Aptly named Plank Walk in the Sky, it is paved with narrow pathways precariously bending around the edge of the mighty cliff. For those who are deterred, you can choose to take the cable car ride from the East Gate to the North Peak to catch a glimpse of the beautiful vista over the mountain valleys. At the end of the journey sits an ancient Taoist temple, a sacred sanctuary that has been converted into a tea house. Travelers will be rewarded with a warm cup of hard-earned tea and a

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TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: 29b Teahouse

WHERE: 29b Teahouse, New York This premium establishment was conceived by Tea Dealers, one of the few purveyors of pure non-blended roast teas in America. For those who are looking for an interlude between the exciting attractions and iconic museums in the bustling city, 29b Teahouse’s ceramic-lined space can be a modern sanctuary of calm and comfort, complete with a tasting room where you can pair their curated line-up of premium teas with food items from their menu.  Their Ochazuke – our go-to recommendation – makes for a light, spirit-lifting meal for the tired traveller. It is a humble tea-dish featuring soy-and-wasabi-cured fish, vegetables, and ume on top of short-grain white rice, complemented with a pour of smoky Hojicha on it. DRINK: Charcoal roasted Taiwanese Oolongs, Matcha-beer On the drinks menu, their roster of teas evolves with owner Stefen Ramirez’s recent travels to the different tea producing countries in Asia. So expect your senses to be taken to new places

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