Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chocolate porcelain or porcelain chocolate?

This is not porcelain, but white chocolate. Chinese masters have created a chocolate for the chocolate museum, recently opened in Shanghai. 

ChaYi  茶艺: Qinghua porcelain
What seemed like a dusty set of tea utensils is in fact made out of dark and milk chocolate. I am suspecting that the door panels behind could also be the real chocolate deal.  

For now, I need to take care of a developing sweet tooth.
Cha Yi 茶艺:Chocolate tea ware

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year 新年快乐

Vietnamese dragon meets Japanese calligraphy by tokyololas
In less than a week, we will celebrate Chinese New Year. During this time, most Chinese commonly greet one another with blessings and and lots of luck in the coming year. For those aiming to impress, here are some safe-to-use new year greetings in Chinese for the occasion:

1. 龍年吉祥
2. 雙龍獻瑞 
3. 鯉躍龍門  
4. 祥龍瑞氣 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Trying out a roasted tea after storage

Being a newcomer to the concept of storing tea, I am convinced that by doing so, one can intensify and/or nurture desirable tasting notes and scents while doing away with any stagnant air that may have been present in the packaging. I experimented with a Hong Shui Oolong tea, which I have so far kept sealed in its original bag, by emptying half of the contents into a Suzu tea caddy which I later kept aside for three weeks. This is also one of my favourite pieces of teaware acquired over Christmas. The delicate pine motifs serve as a visual reminder of my time on Jeju island.

Three weeks of storage seem to have made a slight difference to the initial scents that greeted my nose when uncovering the lid. The roasted aroma  is still obvious but did not hit me as potently as before. I am starting to pick up more lightly delicate scents from the tea leaves stored in the tea caddy but cannot be sure what they are at the moment. Intuition tells me that the infusion will be mellower and maybe sweeter.

Following good advice such as a strong douse of boiling water during the first infusion followed by slower pours of hot water in subsequent infusions, I managed six steeps of nicely balanced, distinctively aromatic and sweet Hong Shui Oolong tea. The results were encouraging and I would like to continue storing these leaves for more extended periods of time. Monitoring these gradual changes in tea quality and scent seems to hint at me that these leaves are alive.

Was heißt es, ein Tee-Meister zu sein?

Es ist immer leicht, sich für etwas neues zu interessieren. Es ist aber eine schwere Aufgabe, die Teekunst zu meistern. Bei der Teekunst handelt es sich nicht nur um schöne Kannen und Tassen. Es geht darum, vom Aufgießen über die Bewegung der Hände bis hin zur Berührung der Tasse mit den Lippen alles unter Kontrolle zu halten. Es geht um die Beherrschung der kleinsten Details, Konsistenz ist angesagt. Es ist durchaus normal, daß nach einer Weile Frust hinsichtlich der eigenen Errungenschaften eintritt. Hier sollte man aber beharrlich weitermachen, da man sich dann solchermaßen die Bewegungen angewöhnt, daß sie Teil der Person werden. Dann handelt es sich nicht mehr um das Aufgießen von Wasser, sondern belebt man die Teeblätter. Es kann Monate oder gar Jahre dauern, bis man die nächste Stufe erreicht. Falls man sich nicht die Zeit nimmt, wird die nächste Stufe sogar nie kommen.

Article in English: What does the mastery of tea entail?

Monday, January 9, 2012

An MBA in tea?

Fuzhou University now offers a business course in tea to shed light on the tea trade and the workings of the industry, complete with visits to major tea plantations around the world.

This is probably something that tops any tea lover's wishlist.

Check out their web page here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What does the mastery of tea entail?

It is always easy to pick up something new. What is truly hard is the mastery of tea. The art of tea is not just about beautiful pots and cups. It is about being in absolute control over the pressure of your pour, the movement of your hands, the touch of the cup on your lips. It’s about the mastery of the finest details, it’s about your consistency. Feeling frustrated with your abilities after a while is normal but persevere more, because through your practice, your whole being grows so accustomed to these movements that you become the movements. You no longer douse water over leaves; You breathe life into tea  instead. It may take months for some and even years for others before they find themselves moving to the next level; most importantly, without the dedication of time, the next level will never come.

A dated photo of me when I was an absolute tea novice. This reminds me of how far I have come.

Blogeintrag auf Deutsch: Was heißt es, ein Tee-Meister zu sein?