Thursday, October 25, 2007

Aged water?

Last Sunday night, Jason invited the local LATA group to have tea at his new place. During the 4 to 5 hours of drinking, a few of us brought our own tea and brewed with a different water had different results compare to brewing at home. We jokingly suggested from now on, we all bring our own water to future tasting events.

What we had experienced further stretch the importance of water, its impact on tea flavor. A classic novel of China "Dreams of the red chamber" had a chapter about tea activities in the compound, describing the extend of water which was used to make tea. A group of young girls (cousins), Bao Yu (a teenage boy) and Miao Yu - a young 17 years old nun having tea at a temple. After Miao Yu made tea for every one, she explained the water was a collection of snow flakes landed on blooming Prune flower petals from the first snow fall in January, stored in a sealed clay jar buried under ground for 3 years. Whether this is true or not, improve our tea or not, the poetic notion makes my tea taste better already.

Other one I heard is taking over night condensations on lotus leaves in early mornings to make tea, which has cooling property in addition to improving taste.

I think a trip up the mountain is necessary in near future. Perhaps after the first snow fall of the season, fill up some mountain fresh melted ice water through cracks of giant rocks sounds like fun. I might bring my stove and make a pot of tea right there and then. HA, that's a thought...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

PV brats

One of the joys I get out of having a tea shop, probably the most enjoyable out of all is to spread Chinese tea culture. By saying this, of course not forcing everyone comes through the door to learn what I feel so special and endearing. However when some one truly is inquisitive about the world of tea, it really gets me excited. One of the girls who work here is very much into tea and the whole Chinese tea culture after exposing to it for the last few months. It's quite a sight to watch a blonde girl pouring tea and explaining it to customers with enthusiasm. Her friends also got into tea influenced by her. After a lesson on brewing techniques and taste training, the first thing after school on a Friday afternoon is to drink kung fu tea at my platform. It started with 3 then 4 then 8 then 12 boys and girls showing up on Friday afternoons, Saturdays, some times even Sundays whenever they get a chance, spending 3 to 5 hours at a time, going through 3 or more teas, buying and sharing the most high end teas. It's rather amazing, not quite as I expected before I opened the shop, but definite a good thing for these kids, it's a better and healthier addiction than drug!

PV, as most kids here say, "I just want to grow up to be a normal person", without knowing they will never be normal, living here is realistically not the norm of this society. 1/2 of the kids smoke and take drugs, mainly because they have too much spending money. Their parents are hard working business people whom have very little time to spend with their kids, materials are substitutions of love and time. My friend Ming (a PV mom) said to me "how are they going to live without good tea from now on or live anywhere else with no access of good tea? You spoil them!". I then said to her, I am glad I'll have access to good tea even if I don't run a tea shop later in my life. Despite what's available on the market, I know where to get my good stocks of tea, how fortunate is that!

Custom made tea pots

Members of the LA Tea Affair (LATA)had ordered custom made Yixing pots with help from Marshaln, Action Jackson and friend of Marshaln. They finally arrived last week. Each and every pot are made with same clay, style (shui ping hu) and size with our own choice of chop marks at the bottom of the pot. 3 of the 4 pots I have are marked with my tea shop name in Chinese for obvious reasons. The 4th is marked as "double happiness", a few other members also have the same chops. Double happiness is used for wedding/marriage related decoration/description/wishes in Chinese culture. A couple members got engaged this year, therefore it is a well suited memoroir for a tea addict. Although I am not getting married any time soon, but wishful thinking will work for now.

It was lovely how AJ put together the box, including a hand written letter to the crew, a post card for Jason, also a couple samples of tuo cha from Marshaln and AJ out of generosity. They are now in possession of Jason for future tasting event in the west side of the town. Many thanks to everyone who put in the time and effort to help us fulfill our passionate pursuit of tea!