Friday, September 30, 2011

Lu Yu, The Classic Art of Tea

"Tea tempers the spirit, 
harmonizes the mind, 
dispels lassitude 
and relieves fatigue, 
awakens the thought 
and prevents drowsiness."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tang Dynasty poem

Seven bowls of tea bring seven advantages:
one, it promotes the production of body fluids and quenches thirst;
two, it refreshes the mind;
three, it helps digestion;
four, it induces sweating to relieve the common cold;
five, it helps fat people reduce weight;
six, it activates thinking and strengthens memory;
and seven, it ensures longevity.” 

- Lu Tong, Tang dynasty.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From the Emperor's mind

Tea induces lightness of spirit, 
clarity of mind and freedom from all sense of constriction, 
whether mental or physical; 
and it promotes such serenity that mundane cares fall away 
so that whatever is strident of exacerbating in daily life 
can be put out of mind for a while.” 

-The Emperor Song Hui Zong

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tang Dynasty Tea Poetry

Tea Drinking

The first cup moistens my lips and throat;
The second cup breaks my loneliness;
The third cup searches my barren entrails but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs;
The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration-all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores;
At the fifth cup I am purified;
The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals.
The seventh cup-ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that rises in my sleeves.
Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither

Lu Tung (Tang Dynasty Poet) 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lu Yu's Cha Ching Excerpt

The effect of tea is cooling. 
As a drink, it suits very well persons of self-restraint and good conduct. 
When feeling hot, thirsty; 
suffering from headache, 
fatigue of the four limbs, 
or paints in the joints, 
one should drink tea only; 
four or five times.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Immortal of Tea - Lu Yu (Part One)

'The first treatise on tea was originated from Lu Yu. The systematic development of tea industries and tea culture also initiated by Lu Yu. Thus in regards to tea, Lu Yu's noble merits and unparalleled achievements are irrefutable facts'. - Professor Chen Shidao of Song Dynasty (960-1279)

Lu Yu (733-804) was the foremost patron of tea and worshipped by tea merchants as a deity of tea however he was a mortal man that devoted his intelligence and time to the cultivation of tea knowledge and its merits. Some call him the sage of tea and some called him The Tea Immortal, he is however best known as the author of the Cha Jing or The Classics of Tea.
He was an orphan, a foundling that was adopted by a Tang dynasty Buddhist monk called Master Zhiji of the Longgai Monastery, which was in the Tianmen in the Hubei province. Lu Yu was taken care by the monk and educated in the monastery. His aptitude for the scholarly questioning got him into more trouble than the monks at the monastery could handle and Lu Yu was consequently disciplined frequently for insubordination of his elders. This created in him the persistence to question and seek knowledge outside of the monastery setting. He ran away from the monastery at the age of 12 and chanced upon a travelling performers troupe. His brilliance, witty action and humor made him a comedian in the troupe.
Lu Yu’s eloquence and education propelled him into authoring three books on comedic sketches. He became famous for his comedies and his skill at brewing tea made him many friends and brought him popularity with the Jingling province officials, which would change his life from a comedian to a learned scholar.
As fortune always favors the bold, Jingling province organized an event to formally welcome the new Governor with a performance of the troupe. The new governor Li Qiwu was so impressed by Li Yu’s performance and wit that he was invited to a private meeting with the Governor.
With time the Governor mentored Lu Yu, as he was impressed with the young man and his prowess and hunger for knowledge, that he sponsored the education of Lu Yu under an old friend and senior scholar called Zou Fuzi. Zou Fuzi was a retired, highly respected imperial court scholar who lived a solitary life. This was a rare opportunity and Lu Yu seized it and his life changed forever.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Puer canisters

Puer is best stored in a clay canister as the tea needs continued air circulation to age and mature.
The porosity of clay brings facilitates this continued aging process. 
It allows the right amount of air circulation, removing potential dampness from within and external sources,
keep light out - being one of the enemies of tea.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tea strainers - clarity and color

The tea strainer is crucial in recognizing the true color and clarity of a tea.
This is most especially because visuals affect the taste of tea. 
The best tea strainers are usually made of silver or gold.
Metals particularly silver and gold have been known to the ancients to impart health benefits to the drinker.
This is the ancient practice of oligodynamic - the concept of  microbiocidal properties of  metals at minute concentrations, had anti microbial properties that could prevent diseases 
and increase the immune system response.
Nonetheless, for those of us still looking for the perfect strainer to match the perfect budget, 
a strainer make of clay composites and lined with the finest gauge of silk will have to suffice for now.
These strainers will remove the finest particulate that could be floating and mar the visuals of a perfectly brewed cup.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

White Charcoal - The needs of tea

This is called white charcoal and it is produced in Japan.
This is food grade charcoal that is used for filtering water and air, 
for odor absorption and for cooking.
This method of filtration was widely used by the ancient Japanese and Chinese.
The ancients believed that it ‘sweetened’ the water especially for a superior brew of tea.
Charcoal is very porous and therefore it can absorb and retain impurities.
It readily absorbs odors and other foreign impurities from water.
It is also rich in minerals and imparts these minerals as it filters and enriches the water.
Method of using for filtering water for tea is using a 2in x 2in piece charcoal.
Rinse the piece before adding it into a kettle with 8 cups of water.
Boil the water and use per tea infusion.
 A 2 in x 2 in piece will last for 3 weeks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Porcelain Teapots

Porcelain teapots are one of the best investments a tea connoisseur make. 
It is particularly for the purpose of having a single teapot to brew multiple types of teas.
The lack of porosity enables the pot to be used for scented and unscented tea without influencing the flavor or scent of any given tea. 
The temperature of  brew can easily be controlled by timing the brew.
An excellent teapot to have for the beginner that is still finding their niche in tea.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chinese Rosewood Tea tray/sink

Rosewood is considered one of the most precious materials a household can possess in traditional Chinese culture.
Red being the symbol of life and all life giving principles, it was only natural that the rosewood became part of the artisans' material  to work with in the tea drinking culture.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bamboo Tea trays/sinks

Made from sustainable bamboo forests. 
These are unique pieces that are rare as no two crafted bamboo items are the same.
The bamboo knots and spines are unique to the species of bamboo.
Green bamboo is one of the more difficult natural items for artists to work with.
The curing and aging process and the age of harvested bamboo are crucial to the finished product.
Depending on the species of bamboo, some grow as much as 40 inches per day.
They grow in what are termed as bamboo forests in Southeast Asia, South and East of Asia.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Collector's Pieces Blue and White


                         Summer moon over lotus koi pond
Beautifully hand painted pieces that calls for a special tea to be had from it. 
The capacity of the teacups are about 1 oz. 

Winter is Coming - Ginger Tisane

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