Yesterday, Sergey and I attended the Spring tea party at the Taipei Story House. Teaparker started the event with a presentation of the relationship between tea and Spring.
His intent was to tell us that the connection extends beyond spring as just a tea harvesting and purchasing season. Spring is the time for the renewal, the rebirth of nature. It's not just tea that is coming to life, but most of the plants and especially flowers. Hence the very flowery fragrance that is so typical of Spring tea. This fragrance is concentrated in the tea buds. They are the season's babies. They start with a purple color and, sometimes within just one day, they can change from a spear to round shape.
A good Spring tea, well kept, will always keep a Spring taste, no matter its age. Teaparker compared tea to people: spring season is like youth. You don't need to be young to feel young. It depends on the inner self. That means strength and freshness. Strength is acquired through the selection of quality leave and a traditional process. For Oolong, for instance, sufficient roasting is important if the leaves are supposed to last for a long time.
After the explanation, members of Cha Ren Ya Xin Tea association (students of Teaparker) brewed a special tea to celebrate spring and the union of tea and flower scents: a luanze Oolong from Nantou (900 meters) that has been scented with 5000 orchid flowers. It has been made in 2005 to promote the launch of a French cosmetic cream based on orchids a few years ago (Note: I had nothing to do about it and Teaparker only has a little of it left over). Despite these 2 years and the fact that flower scents tend to disappear quickest, it was amazing to see how delicate, flowery and sweet this tea tasted and with what a nice, powerful and long aftertaste it finished.
It's again my pleasure to show you the great care each student brings to the design of his/her tea set. The design was later improve by Teaparker: he added flowers and green plants to each set. You will notice that we used different tea vessels (clay, glazed gaiwan and silver teapot).
Below, an example of such improvemnt with an orchid flower.
And here you can see the tea we brewed. You will notice that for this delicate and lightly brewed tea, I chose to use celadon cups. Their light green color adds strength to the color of the tea.