Monday, July 4, 2011

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of (Tea) Happiness

On this 4th of July, I celebrate 15 years since I've moved to Taiwan! On this occasion, I want to write about the tea party I recently had with my American friend Jason (president of the Tea Institute at Penn State).

After a month of tea study in Taipei -and just before his departure-, I wanted him to experience not just the pursuit, but the achievement of tea happiness. This is, I feel, the best reward for the commitment and effort he has shown this month. Such an experience is also a good motivator to learn and practice more and more.

So, I took Jason to one of my favorite spot near Nan Shan temple in the Wenshan mountains. We started with the obligatory Wenshan Baozhong. Below, a picture of the spring 2011 'Subtropical forest' Baozhong we brewed.

Our water comes from a nearby spring. Fresh.
I unpack my accessories from an ancient, 2 levels, bamboo basket. Lovely.
The bamboo mat and kimono belt create a thin and long Cha Xi. Elegant.
A porcelain gaiwan lets us taste several teas. Neutral.
Pewter and porcelain tea jars protect the dry Oolong tea leaves. Fragile.

Great tea moments rarely happen by accident. They require Preparation, Practice and Patience. It's the right fit between high quality leaves, the proper accessories, sweet water, learned brewing skills and a quiet mind. There are many variables and no guarantee of success. Failures are part of the experience and road we have to travel. Let's learn from them, too. And let's be cheerful and thankful when we achieve such tea happiness, as here, in the Wenshan mountains!

Happy 4th of July!

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