Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tea under the Christmas tree

I celebrated Christmas with this Cha Xi next to my Christmas tree. What tea would fit this special occasion? Christmas is a time where expensive gifts are given. It started 2000 years ago with the 3 kings (wise men) who brought gold, incense and myrrh. But the biggest gift of all is the one given to us by Jesus: the love of God! This love is both priceless and free, like the love of a mother. So, I decided to brew this 1960 red tea from Georgia (former USSR). Vladimir, a passionate tea drinker gave me this box of old red tea when he visited me this early December. Such an old tea is indeed a priceless gift, especially for someone who likes old tea like I do!

This metallic box contains tea as a sample and wasn't meant to be sold, but kept for quality control. The label mentions it was made in July 1960.

The dry leaves are in very good condition (thanks to Russia's dry climate). The fragrance has a spicy touch that reminds me of Glühwine (mulled wine)! It also has the wooden fragrances of old Baozhong, but smells more fruity. Compared to old Baozhong, it smells younger than its age, thanks to the good storage.

I should probably also explain why I choose my cheap 'ivory' white porcelain gaiwan and classic cups to brew this special tea. It has to do with the spirit and symbol of Christmas.

First, Jesus was born in a stable and the first informed of his birth were simple shepherds. This shows how humble and simple Jesus came into this world. The inexpensive porcelain accessories try to reflect this humility and simplicity.

On a second more symbolic level, I find it interesting to see the gaiwan like mother Mary giving birth to the brew. And here it makes sense to have the gaiwan made from a 'ivory' porcelain that is similar to Blanc de Chine, De Hua porcelain. Why? Because this reminds me of the popular Guanyin (Boddhisatva) figurines made with this porcelain. Even people in Europe, in the 17-18th century, collected these figurines. They were amazed, I think, by the similarity between Guanyin and Mary! This feminine goddess can be seen as a bridge between Eastern and Western spirituality!
On a more personal level, I use these 3 quilt Cha Tuo made by my mother in France! May this Cha Xi bridge the distance that separate us during these holidays... I like the fact that these Cha Tuo add a soft and delicate feeling. It represents the fabric that was used to wrap the baby Jesus before laying it on the manger!
For my crèche, under the tree, I am using traditional wooden figurines from the Erzgebirge (in Germany). To recreate the atmosphere of a stable, I'm using ... dried tea leaves!!
They do the trick pretty well, I think. Actually, I have been drying my spent Oolong leaves for several months. I intend to use them to make a pillow (for my wife). Tea pillows are quite common in Taiwan! It's another creative way to recycle the leaves we drink.

In this Cha Xi, the dry leaves become another way of connecting my tea with the Christmas festivity!

The red tea proved to be very sweet,warm and pure, with a very old feeling. Perfect for that day! And in this tea spirit, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!
(With a special thank you to Vladimir for this tea gift!)

1 comment:

Michel said...

A tea pillow for your wife,
so lovely and romantic; sweet dreams.

Bonnes fêtes a vous.