Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Teaparker - Maitre Chih Jung Sien

Yesterday, I tried to explain how Master Chih Jung Sien, a.k.a Teaparker, is brewing his tea. I wrote that he almost only drink teas of the highest grades. I wonder if some of my readers will misinterpret my words and think bad of Teaparker as someone who a tea purist who shows off and can't enjoy simple teas. This is probably what I would think if someone told me that a wine lover only drinks 1ers grands crus classés (such bottles cost 100+ dollars a piece). But this isn't the case at all with Teaparker. Let me tell you why.

Teaparker, 50 years old, is a professional journalist. He has long worked for a daily newspaper. This kind of work carries a lot of stress and pressure as you have daily deadlines to submit your stories. He even was editor for a while, which means he was responsible for getting all the articles on time to the press. The stress at work gave him belly aches, difficulties to digest. This psychosomatic disorder made him very sensitive to food and drinks. He can't stand acid or astringent teas. His stomach will tell him even before his taste buds if a tea isn't good.

When he started to work, he didn't earn much as a journalist and couldn't afford the most expensive teas. That's how he started to drink puerh from Yunnan. It used to cost much less than Oolong and you could brew it more often. That's the reason why he is drinking puerh for 30 years already and has such an extensive knowledge about this tea.

Six years ago, he started to turn his experience and knowledge about tea and ceramics into books. He has written 15 books on the subject. All are in Chinese and published in Taiwan and China. "My first gongfu cha book", "Oolong tea", "Baozhong tea", "Puerh tea", "Wu Yi Yan Cha", "Tie Guan Yin", "Taiwan's tea street", "How to select a teapot for your tea", "Enter the world of Chinese tea"... are the some of the books he has written since he has started to focus his journalistic work on tea. He now also participates in many tea related events like jury member of a tea set competition at the Yingge museum or gives lectures at tea events. His collection of antique teaware could fill a small museum.

He has also created a public interest association, Cha Ren Ya Xin, dedicated to spread the culture of traditional Chinese teas. (Disclosure: I'm member of this association and student of Teaparker.)

Tea is his longtime passion that helps him relax from his hectic work. But thanks to tea, he can now also write books at a slower pace. He most enjoys teas that are relaxing for body and mind, teas which bring new life and qi. His early preference of puerh shows he doesn't drink to impress others. The teas he likes just happen to always be of the highest grade.


Agé de 50 ans, ce journaliste Taiwanais a écrit 15 livres sur le thème du thé et de la potterie (Tous ses livres sont en chinois et diffusés à Taiwan et en Chine : ‘Le thé Oolong’, ‘le pu-erh’, ‘le Baozhong’, ‘les thés de Wu Yi’, ‘Le Lung Jing du Zhe Jiang’, ‘Le Tie Guan Yin’, ‘La rue du thé de Taiwan’, ‘Entrer dans le monde du thé chinois’, ‘Comment choisir sa théière pour son thé’, ‘Mon premier livre de gongfu cha’...). Il a été membre du jury d’Yingge pour sélectionner le meilleur set de gongfu cha et participe régulièrement aux colloques, expositions et événements culturels ayant le thé pour thème. Sa collection personnelle d’antiquités comporte de très nombreux objets d’époque qui auraient leur place dans un musée.

Il a fondé l’association d’intérêt général ‘Cha Ren Ya Xin’ dont le but est l’éducation et la propagation de la culture tradtionnelle du thé chinois. Le site Internet (en chinois) de cette association Teaparker. Son père est un peintre chinois assez célèbre et cela explique, d'après moi, pourquoi Teaparker, jeune, a eu un tel intérêt pour la culture chinoise ancienne.

10 comments:

Salsero said...

Thanks for the very enjoyable article and lovely photos. It's nice to get a little background on Teaparker after seeing references to him on your website. Your notes put some flesh on what was for me previously a rather ethereal image.

Stephane said...

Thanks Salsero. I'm glad to see that you continue to follow my blog.

emmanuel said...

Hi Stéphane,

Could you please explain what teaparker is doing on the first photo? What is this brown cup he is pouring water in?

Thanks on beforehand for your explanation.

Michel said...

J'espère qu'ont aura tous une aussi bonne mine à 50 ans!
et pour utiliser l'expression d'Eric le Rumeur:

GOD SAVE THE TEA!

Stephane said...

Emmanuel,

Teaparker was pouring hot water from his pure silver kettle to let us taste how crisp and fresh it tastes when brewed with this kettle.
I forgot about the cup. I just see the inside is glazed and the outside not.

Steph said...

Thank you for this background! It is helpful to learn about Teaparker and what brought him to this place.

Bruno said...

Le thé est sans aucun doute la meilleure boisson pour le corps humain, merci à toutes celles et ceux de nous faire partager cela.
Gloire à tous les théiers du monde, gloire à Gaia.

Dezhong said...

Nice post!

When you were enumerating the books Teaparker has written, I was really surprised to see "Zou jin Zhongguo cha de shijie."

I bought it more or less "by accident" a few years ago and it is by far my favorite book about tea.

However, I have to admit that I never really thought about who the author is.

I agree with the others: really nice to get some background info.

Next time I am in Taiwan, I will definitely look out for some of the other titles.

Anonymous said...

Stephane,
you mentioned how Teaparker looks to drink teas that relax body and mind.
Perhaps you can reccomend what some of those teas are and make more of them available for your older admirers.

Regards,
Jeff

Stephane said...

Jeff,
Teaparker is an independent tea expert and doesn't put his name behind any tea. I can just tell you that he likes all kinds of teas, as long as they are top grade (wild, fully organic, old plantation, hand picked...). I think you will find many such teas in my selection.