Monday, March 19, 2007

Tea brewing and design

We don't always have the time to brew tea with grace and style. Modern life has taught us multitasking: answering a phone call with a hand holding the water kettle while watching the kids play wild. It also happens to me all the time! And it's better to have a good tea in such hectic moments than no tea at all!

However, when we find time in our agendas to devote an hour or two entirely to gongfu cha, then we can (and even should) try to maximize the pleasure of all our senses. A nice music in the background and a beautiful layout of the tea set are places to start. See the examples of how we brewed tea yesterday with Teaparker.

This kind of nice presentation is also a courtesy for your guests and a sign that you appretiate your tea. It all starts by cleaning the table completely and only keep the essential tea tools. Then to display them with harmony in a way that you can easily use them.

Then, there are also the movements that you make as the person who brews the tea:
- you arrange the place of each tool,
- and slow and graceful,
- you avoid to spill water/tea in excess,
- you keep a certain focus on the tea (you don't talk while making the tea, especially not when you pour the water in the teapot).

The Japanese have very precise codes for every step of their tea ceremony. A Chinese gongfu cha 'performance' does not need to be as structured. There is more room for improvisation, but not for chaos. So, the best is to think about every step in detail to achieve harmony between you, the tea and your guests.

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