Tucked away in a small corner of Subiaco is one of the most charming shops I’ve come across in a very long time. Regular readers of this blog will be well aware that coffee is my beverage of choice most mornings, but even more diligent readers will also have picked up that my household often looks for inspiration from the land of the rising sun due to Sharon spending a couple of years there on exchange.
Spending a Sunday afternoon lazily gallivanting around the city we happened to be strolling down Hay St towards Subiaco when we happened to stumble (I do a lot of stumbling) into Green Tea House, the delightful tea shop owned by the exceedingly friendly Mr Wasaki.
What followed was probably an hour and a half’s worth of tasting tea, talking about tea, talking about coffee, talking about Japan, talking about food, talking about Japanese food in Japan, talking about Japanese food in Australia, talking about Chinese tea compared to Japanese tea, smelling tea in an incense burner, and eventually, actually buying some tea. As you might have guessed, Mr Wasaki likes to talk. He is a well schooled individual who has been living in Australia for the better part of 15 years now, having moved over here with his wife and family quite some time ago, but only recently having followed his heart by starting his own business importing and selling the tea he so dearly loves.
That tea in question is of course Japanese green tea. High grade, hand picked, vacuum packed, and air shipped for maximum freshness, Mr Wasaki leaves little to chance. His tea’s range from the everyday Sencha, to the superior Gyokuro, and having gotten to try just about all of them, I can say they are all quite good. I was also glad to have finally found somewhere that sells Matcha (the ground tea powder made from Gyokuro, used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, and a damn good ice cream flavouring :) ).
Not just sticking with tea, he also sells Noren (traditional Japanese curtains used to hang in homes or shops as a welcome banner), as well as a number of special Japanese foods and sweets that no doubt have the ex-pats coming back on a regular basis.
He also sells a whole range of tea cups and bowls, which go along with his tips for preparing the tea properly, i.e: NEVER pour boiling water over tea leaves. You will bring the bitter flavours out, rather, pour the water from the kettle into another bowl first, and then wait a few minutes til the water is roughly 80C before pouring it into the tea leaves.
The tea itself is great. I can’t say I am in any way a tea fanatic, jasmine, oolong, and russian caravan is about as exotic as I’ve been, but the flavours of the high end Japanese teas were outstanding. Clean and crisp, yet with an almost buttery finish to many of them, most markedly pronounced in the Gyokuro, we could not help but buy a pack of our own and go home to continue the experiment. I also picked myself up a can of matcha, and have been sprinkled it into everything I think is sprinklable.
My only concern is that Mr Wasaki is a little too friendly for his own good. He almost talked me out of buying the Matcha because he said he could get me something more suitable for cooking with, and then he almost forgot to charge me when I went to pay. His enthusiasm and love for his products shows through more than anything however, and it’s this coupled with his quiet unassuming nature that make Green Tea House a welcome respite from so many shops who just want to take your money and get you out the door. If ever you find yourself in the area, do yourself a favour and drop in to sample some excellent Japanese tea in a very relaxing atmosphere.