Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sun-kissed cha xi

Back from a weekend getaway in the countryside, I wonder if my teaware was getting a tan from all that wonderful sunshine we experienced after so much rain and cold the previous week. The idea of an outdoor cha xi has been on my mind for over a year now but did not materialise for many reasons. So after the clouds cleared and temperatures went up, it was a good opportunity to leave the comforts of home behind and spend some quality time with nature, in nature.

While on the lookout for an ideal spot for preparing tea, many possibilites present themselves. Sometimes a shaded bench, a cosy corner in the attic that smells beautifully of wood, or a quiet area by the lake surrounded by pine forest and its chirpy occupants. It is really up to the tea master to improvise and weave rustic elements that he or she comes across into the rich tapestry of cha xi. Known as 就地取材 (jiu3 di4 qu3 cai), the concept of a cha xi is understandably very dynamic and never boring.

I have with me two types of oolongs, Si Ji Chun and a more oxidised Qing Xin oolong from Ali Shan. Both teas are rather green oolongs with a fresh taste. They differ in fragrance intensity and strength of aftertaste. Being exposed to the elements such as strong winds and bugs, it is hard to focus on the subtle differences between infusions, but it was possible for us to tell that the Qing Xin oolong has a more prominent aftertaste that continued to linger on our taste buds for a longer time. The Si Ji Chun fared weakly in comparison to the Qing Xin variety because of its fast disappearing fragrance in an outdoor environment. Probably a tea best set aside for consumption at home where the brewing conditions are more controlled.

A thin-walled gaiwan, porcelain cups, pewter saucers and tea caddy all come together with the perfect backdrop for a sun-kissed experience!

Notice the slight semblance between this photo and the painting on my tea boat? I was nicely surprised myself.

Blogeintrag auf Deutsch: Cha Xi in der Sonne

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