My new job has opened up a whole new Hong Kong experience for me, it being at a firm that has been in Hong Kong for a few decades now. It is a bit old fashioned, but in many of the good ways, and one of those ways is that the firm employs a tea lady!
I’d heard just mentioned of a mystical tea lady in the past, but never really grasped at what the tea lady did. Now I can tell you from personal experience – the tea lady is a (hopefully nice) lady who comes around, often pushing a cart, with everyone’s drinks in their own personal mugs, just to their liking, about 3-4 times a day. She will figure out your tastes, what you like to drink and when, and keep you hydrated all day long.
My tea lady brings me a glass of water along with my morning coffee (just milk, no sugar) first, then replenishes my water and brings me a half cup more of coffee, then comes twice more in the afternoon with water and tea. I hear that our particular tea lady also can make HK cha chaan tang style milk tea, mochacchinos, and all sorts of amazing creations out of her little pantry.
When I told a long-time ex-pat lawyer friend of mine about my tea lady, she remarked how old school that was and how few law firms now had tea ladies. I did a quick google search on “hong kong tea lady” and was able to find a number of job advertisements looking for tea ladies, but I wonder what types of companies still employ them. I also saw a rather nasty blog post about someone who hated her tea lady as well as another commending another. Based on that search, it didn’t seem that tea ladies were really a thing of the past, though they certainly seem to be unique to Hong Kong.
Every office should have a tea lady! She will keep you caffeinated and hydrated all day long.