Thursday, May 8, 2014

Teaparker's lecture series: Taiwan Cha, Gongfu brew

[Article source: translated from Teaparker's blog] At the Taipei Story House last Sunday, Teaparker touched on topic of Taiwan tea brewed gongfu style. My role there was to demonstrate gongfu tea brewing on a chaxi.

What is gongfu style brewing? The first person to counter such long standing association between gongfu tea and the elderly was Teaparker himself. He is also happy to report that in recent years, the concept of gongfu brew not being old man’s tea has deeply rooted itself in the hearts of Taiwanese tea enthusiasts.

According to him, the gongfu aspect in tea brewing includes the choice of tea, teaware. Additionally, gongfu brewing also involves a balance between the elements of rationality and emotions. Besides our senses, a gongfu tea practitioner should also apply logic and sound judgement when preparing tea.
Source: Teaparker
With a few pieces of stones, flowers and fallen leaves from the garden, I replicated a sense of nature on my chaxi. This chaxi guides our imagination into a picturesque landscape as we brewed and tasted the gift of spring – this year’s Alishan light oolong.   

The audience was then invited to examine the same tea poured into various cups made from different materials. For our brief understanding, Teaparker highlighted three points: material, glaze and firing temperature that influence the performance of each cup i.e. how different cups influence the taste of tea. I attended a similar event in Brussels two years ago.

A simplified style of brewing using a porcelain gaiwan and three cups paired with fundamental yet crucial tea appreciation knowledge, that afternoon’s tea lecture brought about another intellectual twist to our understanding of tea. 

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