• In the West, coffee and wine have conquered the beverage industry. But in the East, it is tea that holds the highest esteem in the day-to-day rituals of its people. In comparison to this centuries-old custom, the tea-drinking culture in South Africa is still quite young, but Cape Town seems to be catching on.

    Here are five gems in Cape Town that every tea lover simply has to visit

    Nigiro Tea Café

    Do you remember that little tea café called O’ways that used to be outside Cavendish Centre? The spot is still pretty vibrant thanks to the neighbouring Nuri Sushi and Jack’s Bagels, but the glass-encased café with its touch of serendipity will forever be missed.

    That is until you realise it’s been reborn in Plumstead as Nigiro Tea Café, where the artistic culture of tea making and drinking is alive and well.

    There, you can taste 18 categories and over 130 varieties of teas; indulge in the tea-inspired menu, boasting an array of vegan or vegetarian dishes and perfectly paired tea recommendations; or delight in a Chinese Flower Bud tea experience.

    And if you’d like to take a little piece of Nigiro home with you, its tea ranges and selection of tea ware are available for purchase. Every first Saturday of the month, you can join the tea club and learn about the art of tea making while exploring the wonders of specially selected teas.

    • Location: 71 Gabriel Road, Plumstead
    • Times: Tuesday to Friday 8am to 5pm | Saturday 9am to 3pm | Sunday 9am to 2pm
    • Website: nigiro.co.za
    Picture: @nigiroteacafe / Instagram

    Enmasse Tea Merchants

    Founded in 2011 with a mission to elevate the art and culture of tea drinking with passion and innovative tea blending skills, Enmasse Tea Merchants has done just that and more.

    They have 18 different types of carefully curated loose teas to choose from and a timer to brew them to your strength. All the teas are blended in Cape Town and, where feasible, products are sourced locally.

    Enmasse Tea Merchants has revolutionised the tea game for tea lovers, chocolate lovers, and those unable to pick a side, with locally handcrafted tea chocolates. Combining the fragrant essence of tea with the decadence of milk, white and dark chocolate.

    For the colder weather, try the tea soup: a brothy meal made by combining speciality teas with small batches of dehydrated soup ingredients.

    • Location: 125 Hope Street, Gate 2, Gardens
    • Operating hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm | Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm
    • Website: enmassetea.co.za
    Picture: @gardenscentre / Instagram

    Jasmine Tea Mill

    If you ever find yourself in Somerset West, your venture will be incomplete without a trip to Jasmine Tea Mill. From oolong, pu-er and herbal teas to white, black and green teas, this Chinese tea shop has everything a tea lover could desire, not to mention, an extensive range of glass, bamboo, ceramic and cast iron tea ware and accessories.

    If you’re closer to the City, you don’t have to make the drive to Somerset West because you’ll find Jasmine Tea Mill at the Oranjezicht Market every weekend (if you spot mini Krillin from Dragon Ball Z, you’ll know you’re at the right place).

    • Location: Shop 1 Twin Oaks Centre, 144 Main Road, Somerset West
    • Times: Tuesday to Friday 9am to 3pm | Saturday 9am to 12pm
    • Website: teamill.co.za
    Picture: @rhoomformore / Instagram

    Mainland China Food Market

    Not only is Mainland China Food Market a well-stocked supermarket for all your Asian food, snacks, fresh or dried ingredients and utensil needs, but it also has some designated spots in the shop dedicated to herbal teas.

    Its shelves have jars upon jars of loose tea leaves and boxes of tea-bagged leaves to an array of teapots, tea sets, cups, saucers and any accessories you can think of.

    • Location: 12 Grove Avenue, Claremont
    • Times: Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm | Saturday 9am to 4.30pm | Sunday 10am to 2pm
    Picture: screenshot: Judi J / Google

    Peacock Tea and Coffee

    Peacock Tea and Coffee Traders is a Cape Town-based company that has been providing South Africa with premium teas and coffees since 1966.

    Their expert tea blenders meticulously select and blend the best teas from around the world, making sure to tantalise even the most discerning palates. Its roastery in Cape Town blends an extensive selection of teas by hand.

    Peacock Tea and Coffee Traders also stock a range of tea-related machines, equipment, accessories and crockery from around the world to ensure that your tea ritual is the most satisfying and special experience possible.

    • Location: Shop 123, Canal Walk, Century Place Blvd, Century City
    • Times: Monday to Sunday 9am to 9pm
    • Website: peacockteaandcoffee.co.za
    Picture: Peacock Tea & Coffee / FacebookALSO SEE: Eateries in SA that are dedicated to serving a taste of their homelands

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    The article was originally written and published by Tauhira Ajam for Cape Etc.

    Feature image: Pexels