Monday, December 26, 2005

Interview with a tea master

Merry Christmas! As a little gift to my readers who didn't sign up for my newsletter, here is the interview with tea master Chih Jung Sien (also known as Teaparker):

Stéphane: What music instrument do you like to listen when you drink gongfu cha?
Teaparker: My favorite Chinese instrument is the guqin (from the zither family). I listen to guqin every day. It’s wonderful to relax.
Stéphane: What music do you prefer to listen to when you drink your favorite pu er?
Teaparker: Some tea masters pretend that a certain tea fits a certain type of music. I disagree with this approach. Any kind of good music will have an impact on the tea you drink. You will feel the tea differently when listening to different music. The matching of tea and music is very personal
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and depends on your own taste. As I said before, my favorite pick is the classical Chinese guqin.
Stéphane: How many different teas do you have?
Teaparker: I have teas from all 6 tea classes (white, yellow, green, green blue, red and black). I have no exact idea, but there are easily over a hundred teas.
Stéphane: How many books did you write about tea?
Teaparker: (We count them.) 18.
Stéphane: What will be the subject of your next book?
Teaparker: I am currently writing a book about Long Jin (Dragon Well), Bi Luo Chun and Chinese green tea in general.
Stéphane: What is the most fascinating tea that you have encountered?
Teaparker: Two teas come to my mind: Liu An Gua Pian and wild, raw pu er.
Stéphane: What advice would you give to the readers of my blog to help them make progress in their gongfu cha skills?
Teaparker: Start to open up your taste buds. Be very attentive to the little tasting variations in your mouth, on your tongue. Westerners will find Chinese teas rather ‘ku’ or bitter. I recommend that they start studying the relationship between ‘ku’ and ‘gan’ (dry), which often transforms into sweet.
Stéphane: Thank you very much.

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