I wish all my readers in the US and all over the world a happy Independence Day! By a wonderful coincidence, this is also the day I arrived on Taiwan 18 years ago. And I wouldn't have succeeded here if not for a year of studies in Pennsylvania, where I graduated with a MBA diploma. But most importantly, in my adult years, I have learned to appreciate the good the US stands for. And I wish and pray that the US will rise to the challenges that lie ahead in the 21st century. Despite being European (French AND German!) or maybe because of it, I believe that the world needs American leadership.
Tea Happiness is always multiplied when you give a strong purpose and significance to your occasion. On this 4th of July, let's brew a great tea to lead us towards perfection.
So, I choose this Wuyi Yan Cha: a Shui Xian Oolong from 100 years old bushes. It's from spring 2011 and I have stored it in the porcelain 'Double Happiness' above for quite some time. It's still a young tea, but it has great quality, mostly thanks to the deep roots of the old bushes!
I found this old flag at an antique shop in Taiwan. It must have come to the island when Chang Kai Shek was America's close ally. This flag has 48 stars and was used from July 4th, 1912 to July 3rd, 1959 (when Alaska became a State). It's the flag that won 2 World Wars and brought peace and freedom to (Western) Europe. Respect.
Tea is an offering to life, my pursuit of Happiness.
What do we have on this little island? An old Yixing teapot.
This zisha is so old that it belongs to the reign of Qianlong (1735-1796) who might have heard something about 13 colonies seceding from Great Britain!... Another symbol connects this teapot to this day: the lion painted on the teapot! It's a symbol of Great Britain! Pouring tea from the lion teapot into the white cups on the American flag can be seen as a transition of power and life between one country to the other...
It would be cool to use a silver (US currency) kettle with a phoenix to represent the American eagle! My silver kettle has no such carving, but it feels like one, perched high above the ground on this tall white Nilu.
I pour carefully in the cups to avoid staining the flag. But since I don't view tea as something dirty but noble, I feel it's OK to take the risk and use this flag as a Chabu.
At first, the taste is almost tasteless and disappointing. It's so smooth and easy to swallow and doesn't produce any fireworks in the mouth. What's exceptional about this tea? (Beside the fact that it is several times as expensive as Taiwan Oolong.) Wait a little bit longer. Now I can start feeling the silky and sparkling aftertaste. A deep, warm and reassuring feeling arises. The whole body feels relaxed in its embrace.
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.