Last Sunday, I was about to make my gongfu cha with this setup. It features another tea mat Christmas gift from my mother, the large celadon cups, a zhuni Baotai Panhu on a Qing dynasty plate and my dragon tetsubin on the side. All lovely pieces that formed a nice ensemble, pleasant to the eyes.
But, as I was sitting on the floor in front of my setup, I noticed that the cups were quite far away and that I would have to stretch my arm to pour the tea into them. It would make sense if I had guests in front of me (and if I were at a table). But this was not the case today. So, I decided to turn my tea mat: - The teapot on the plate has now enough space and is not overstepping any line anymore, - The tea cups are closer to me and it's easier to pour into them, - The Jun ware bowl that receives the used water is a great match with the purple colors of the mat: This colorful setup helped to forget the gray (whitewashed) and cool weather we have in Taipei this week (as you can see from the pictures). Outside may be gray, but with tea we can bring beauty in our life, could be the 'message', the emotion that this setup tried to convey.
The tea I chose to match this goal is a Winter 2007 roasted Luanze (qingxin) Oolong from Lishan. The roast is lighter than for Oolong coming from Dong Ding. This way, it retains a lot of the freshness and lightness of unroasted Gao Shan Cha, but it adds a sweeter and warmer taste and aftertaste. I listened to a CD of Chinese guqin while drinking my tea and felt so good!
My name is Stéphane Erler. I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.