Monday, April 02, 2018

Water and its relation to tea.

Water being the most essential part of tea brewing next to good tea.   In my opinion, the role of water is more important than the tea leaves itself in tea brewing.

Water is important because it directly influences the outcome of a cup of tea, it can enhance a tea and it can destroy a tea.  Tea leaves are given, whether good or bad, they don't change until the water hits them.  Ordinary tea drinking under subconsciousness does not center around maximizing the potential of a tea leaf, as everyday life goes on, we are more focused on other activities and less on more important things such as what we put in our body.  We the tea maker/drinker have the choice and control, although the tea leaves do not.

All the years, I have encountered many different sources of water, Chinese old text documents about water properties, various regional tea wares that are capable of enhancing water flavor.  My own experiences came to a statistic summary after my final once missing piece of tea ware is now no longer missing.

The first type of water, available conveniently without alteration.  Tap water, spring water from natural resources, filter water, human-engineered/formulated water.

The second type of water is enhanced water with purifier and minerals etc.   Additional water treatments being done on available water, charcoal added to further purify water, minerals added for flavor.  Imitating the nature, aquifer underground spring water went through the crust of the earth, sandstones, gravel, coal, etc. that purifies the surface water.

The third type of water is altered by tea kettle materials.  The kettle material alters water contents hence changes the taste of water.  Stainless steel, raw iron, silver, plastic, various regional clay, porcelain, glass kettles, used on various heating sources, gas burner, electric burner, wood/charcoal burner.

The available sources are wide and abundant, the combination of the water, kettle and heating source furthers the selection.   The relationship between a tea leaf and water is amazingly homogeneous to human relationships.

Tradition share one thing for certain is the concept of such tradition has been tested and proven to be effective as better if not best options.  Chao Zhou Gong Fu Tea is the most comprehensive when it comes to tea, with a simple principle in mind, maximizing the potential of tea, any grade, any time, anywhere, any how.  Consider all parts and elements in Chao Zhou Gong Fu Tea making, live fire, local clay, size of the kettle and its relation to the stove and boiling time, type of charcoal for vitality and aroma of water, not only scientific but naturally expressed in an understated extravagance.

Silver kettle is popular in British tea service, in fact, anything related to food and beverage, and then some.   A sign of status for its value.  However, silver has not been a popular dinning ware choice in Chinese culture, including tea wares, alcohol wares.   One thing I learn from history is that you can always find answers to why something exists and some don't.  And if you can't figure out why, like why swimming pools do not exist in Chinese homes before modern day, just follow it, do as so, you can't go wrong.  Take silverware for example, after a few days of testing many teas with silver water, the overwhelming result leads me to conclude, it is in fact not the best choice for tea in general.  It is extremely unforgiving to the point of brutality.  It can empower a good tea by 10 folds, it can also destroy a salvageable tea, one flaw can be blown up 10 times harsher.   As some old wise man said, utilize the best function from a matter, utilize the best skill from a man.  It does not mean that matter or man is the best of its kind, even the lowest ranking of such matter can reach its own best.  All meaning the same fundamental principle, maximizing the potential of a being!  Obviously, silver kettle does not serve that purpose well.  A silver teapot serves a purpose only if the tea is excellent, one can enjoy 10 times the pleasure, but not necessary to magnify the discomfort 10 folds.

Let's get back to Chao Zhou Gong Fu Cha, silver kettle is not a constant choice become apparent, it has nothing to do with the cost, Chao Zhou business men are the Jews of China, the area is filled with money for a long time.  The only reason is that the local red clay pots boiled water can enhance most teas, not only a few privileged selections.  Majority of the tea productions in the world are bad to good teas, rarely excellent teas.   All of which deserved to be reached its best potentials with good water and skills.

In recent days, I begin to advise people to read classic books of Chinese philosophy, medicine, Daoism, they concluded the universal truth of human, earth and beyond.  Tea being a small part of nature, viewing from bird's eye view so to speak, it becomes obvious in all aspects of its existence, history, mutation, migration, cultivation, changes with human touch, in relation with time, climate, seasons, man, water, earth and its impact in human at last.

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