Lee Kwok-ping, Tea Master

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Master Lee Kwok-ping brews up

I have lived in Sai Kung for about 16 years – the same age as this tea shop. Most of my customers are frequent visitors and know what they are looking for, whether it is Chinese antiques, tea leaves or tea paraphernalia.

I moved to Sai Kung for convenience for work, but now I would not leave. It has a mixture of fishermen, locals and foreigners. My favourite place is the pier.

Tea is not just a complimentary drink with a set meal. We tea enthusiasts savour the essence of its colour, taste, smell and all the different tea varieties.

My interest in Chinese tea began in 1983. I was interested in how so many people in China drink it, with different teas being enjoyed in different regions. But the more I researched and read about tea in Hong Kong, I came to realise how little had been written about tea’s history and techniques.

I was lucky to meet my first teacher, who returned to Hong Kong from Taiwan to open a tea shop – perhaps the first of its kind in Hong Kong. I worked as a civil servant, but teaching the art of tea has always been my other profession.

I have been teaching workshops in teahouses since 1990, and quickly I started only training other enthusiasts to teach the arts of tea. One of my students won a tea art competition at the Hong Kong Art Museum in 1997.

Tea should be savoured the moment it is poured, before it gets bitter. The flavour depends on the quantity of tea leaves, water and timing.

The “king” of Chinese tea is Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock tea from Fujian. It requires a unique environment to grow and only a limited amount is available once a year through auction. It can cost $200,000 for 20 grams. My old boss once let me try some.

Lee Kwok-ping’s Tea Shop | 33 Sai Kung Main Street, Sai Kung old town (opposite D’Oli)

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