Saint Nicolas provided German-born Thomas Nast (1840-1902) with the inspiration to draw the first cartoon of Santa Claus in an American newspaper. This white bearded man dressed in red is now one of the most iconic figure of Christmas. So, on this 6th day of the Advent, he's my main inspiration for this Chaxi.
I even have a wooden figurine of him, partially shaved, smoking a pipe (of pine scented incense), surrounded by 2 candles, because it's the second Sunday of the Advent period.
Today is also my weekly tea class with Teaparker. And he had a great idea to celabrate Saint Nicolas Day. Let's have a white and a red tea from northern Fujian!
We start with a Fuding Bai Cha, pressed as a cake. White teas were invented some 100+ years ago. Traditionally, they were simply dried in the shade. Nowadays, to speed things up, they are often roasted, which reduces their moisture content and helps their storage.
This aged white tea was cooling and quite sweet. Since it's never snowing in Taipei, white tea is as close as we can get to a white Christmas, tea wise!
Then we turned to a red tea from Zhenghe and brewed it in a flat Yixing teapot.
After the cooling of the white, the red tea feels warming and much more full bodied! There are hints of chocolate... another typical gift that Saint Nicolas brings today!
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.