Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chinese Tea Renaissance (Tea-naissance)

Banana-leaf shaped fan, late Qing
 ..or rather, the gongfu cha revival. Chaozhou ren, or rather the Teochews as I know them were the first people who devised the most refined methods of appreciating tea during the Qing Dynasty.

A few items on the gongfu cha checklist include charcoal for firing, stove, chopsticks for handling the burning hot coal, a fan for keeping the coal's burning momentum, teacups (preferably three of them as they constitute the chinese word  '品', to appreciate),  a teapot or gaiwan, plates for your pot and cups, and saucers for the cups. Last, but not least, a serving tray for distributing tea to your guests.

Chaozhou gongfu cha demands a high standards of decorum in keeping with good taste and achieving the best brew and in the words of my favourite philosopher:

"One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare."

The same could probably be said of gongfu tea practitioners and their lifelong goals!

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