Yesterday, I fulfilled a tea drinker's dream: brewing tea in a tea plantation. I chose a spot a the edge of the jinxuan plantation above. A few stones between the jinxuan and the qingxin Oolong plantation (covered with grass) became my tea table. (See below). The view of the Wenshan mountains was clear. An fresh breeze helped to cool down the heavy afternoon sun.
I chose a simple and light tea set to travel more easily. A gas heater and steel kettle are bringing the water to a boil while I adjust my accessories: a calligraphy gaiwan, 2 singing cups, a Japanese pewter jar and a bowl by Michel François.
For such a special occasion, I wanted to brew a special tea, so I chose the Spring 2010 Shan Lin Shi Oolong contained in the jar.
As it started to brew the leaves, I noticed a tea farmer approaching. Well, the thought occured to me that I was trespassing on his property! For the glimpse of a moment I thought that I could be in trouble. In any other country, I probably would.
The farmer came right to me and I invited him to drink tea with me. He was curious and happy to see me here.
This turned out to be a wonderful encounter. He told me of his various plantations and teas. I told him he would soon harvest this jinxuan field to make Oriental Beauty. This is why I wanted to drink tea here, in a plantation without pesticides or fertilizers. The conversation was very interesting. I could see that organic farming was quite important for this friendly farmer.
My High mountain Oolong was a little too light for him. Tea farmers tend to pack their gaiwans/teapots with lots of leaves, while I prefer to drink lighter. So, for my second tea, I chose a more traditional tea, with more flavor, and added more leaves. My 2010 Hung Shui Oolong from Shan Lin Shi was perfect. Sweet, smooth, delicate and energetic.
Wonderful! I felt elated sharing great teas in a perfect spot with a new tea friend.