Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter celebration

A very special and rare tea for a special occasion: a Wuyi Baijiguan from spring 2013. These leaves are larger than usual. It's also one of the lightest oxidized and roasted Wuyi Yancha. This is why I choose to brew it in a silver teapot instead of an Yixing teapot.

This teapot is from Japan, but uses a Chinese Kangxi teapot shape as its model. This is a good example of how the Asian tea world is cooperating. Chinese history provides lots of original ideas and creations. Japan, on the other hand, is very good at keeping and transmitting traditional skills and know-how.

Another example is the Japanese chanoyu codified by Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591). At the root, the way the water is boiled is the same as during Tang dynasty (618-907) and the way the green tea powder is whisked is the same as during the Song dynasty (960-1279). What's remarkable is that Rikyu's way of tea making has been taught for so many generations since then (by several schools). It's a good example of preservation and transmission of tea culture, but it must also be noted that this tea culture was long reserved to Japan's nobility.

China didn't lack great tea and tea ware masters during its history. What China lacked were masters willing to share their insights of tea in teachings and books. This is what makes Lu Yu (733-804) stand out. He was the first to write a whole book on the sole subject of tea. And even if the way we practice tea has considerably evolved since then, the issues he raised about the harvesting of the leaves, the quality of the water, how it's boiled, the wares we use... are still the same today.
Luy Yu's Cha Jing is a classic in the same sense as Greek and Roman books by Homer or Virgil. Because it is a foundation that has inspired so many tea practitioners.
"Gold is the best material, then comes silver". I'm not going to argue with Lu Yu on this point! This tea tasted fabulous and rich. Its clear golden color is a great fit with the Chaxi.
With all my best wishes for Easter! Enjoy tea the best you can.

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