In 1 week, Taiwan will celebrate the Year of the Rat. The island is busy preparing for this most important holiday in the year. One color dominates them all: red.
Next week, I will spend the New Year festivities with my wife's family in Taichung. Away from my computer for several days, I will be brewing tea for my Chinese in-laws, if the weather is bad. If the weather is good, we will probably try to visit some plantations and/or tea houses. (I say try, because traffic can be quite intense during this holiday, when everybody is off. Actually, the best time for travel is the weekend before the New Year, when everybody in Taiwan is cleaning his home. The roads to sightseeing places are as empty as they will be full a few days later.)
Sunday afternoon, February 3, Cha Ren Ya Xin will organize another Cha Xi - Tea Party - at the Taipei Story House. Last Sunday, during the rehearsal, I could drink the Wuyi tea that will be served and saw the beautiful new arrangements that my friends made. Hummm, yummy! Too bad I won't be able to attend this time!
During the class, Teaparker told us he has two other tea books that be released soon. The first one coming is a history of the teapot, including, but not limited to Yixing teapots. The second one will be about tea cups, a small but very important accessory, as readers of my blog already know. If the picture/text ratio and quality matches that of the Cha Xi book, I will probably also propose them when they become available.
Sunday night, inspired by the tea class, I decided to heat water with charcoal fire in my Nilu. I was again surprised by how well charcoal fire keeps the water in the tetsubin warm without overheating it. The start is a little slow, but once it's going, it heats the water quickly enough. I almost wished I had a second, gas heated tetsubin on hand to compare the water. Not the taste. With charcoal, it tastes much smoother, sweeter and 'natural'. It's the steam of the water I would like to compare! With charcoal, the water seems to steam for a much longer time than with a gas or electric heater. This seems much stranger and I don't know if there is an explanation for this. Or is it just my imagination?