Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reaching Out Teahouse

The only shop where I was remotely curious about in Hội An is Reaching Out Teahouse. Not that this is a trip to seek out tea. Even in Đà Lạt, I enjoyed the sights and sounds and scenery more than anything. Each time I think about tea, a kind of resentment arises. Coffee keeps me happier. I've been drinking tons of Vietnamese coffee, as much as my body can bear. It's so good. But this teahouse is of interest to me. Reaching Out is also a social enterprise stocked with a whole range of local handicrafts.

Rustic and sincere, the vibes feel gorgeous. It's a respite from the busy streets, heat or rain. There're a number of plain A4-sized posters of words hung up on the wall, written in calligraphy, "The beauty of silence". Most of the staff are hearing-impaired and the table is filled with little wooden cubes requesting for service. It's great because it makes me not want to talk while sipping tea or coffee, simply enjoying the present. The entire Teahouse is then kept in a pleasant quiet hum, instead of jarring conversation and hysterical laughter. Love it.

I took a tea-tasting set of three teas- green, oolong and jasmine. Locally grown of course. IMHO, the oolong is Reaching Out Teahouse's best offering, from an estate in Lâm Đồng province, if I'm not wrong. What I tasted didn't hold the familiar notes of an oolong from northern Việt Bắc nearer to Hanoi. Vietnamese oolongs are grown from Taiwanese cultivars and produced in the like of an Alishan (阿里山) oolong or Dong Ding (凍頂烏龍), lightly roasted. It's not quite the quality of a top grade Wenshan Pouchong (文山包種) though. These Vietnamese oolongs are superior to their quality of green.

Oh, this Teahouse served great local coffee too. In tasting sets as well. Awesome. I was only interested in a few sips of the tea. As usual, the brewing methods ensured that the second cup of tea tasted over-steeped. Swopped out to the coffee tasting set after that. The man didn't want a tasting set and was very pleased with his iced 'Sweet Chicory Local Coffee'. The Teahouse was spot-on with using frozen ice-cubes of coffee and not water. It kept the coffee thick, gorgeous and cold on this hot day throughout the 45 minutes we hung out at this oasis.

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