Thursday, May 01, 2014

The 2014 PSU Tea Institute Chaozhou Gongfu Cha event at the Palmer Museum of Art

April 4th, 2014. The first day of the 2014 Regional Tea Ceremony Exhibition was held at the Palmer Museum of Art. In the entrance, Tea Institute members greeted the visitors with a cup of tea brewed on a Chaxi like this one.

The day started with a guided visit of the museum. Then, Teaparker made a first presentation about the evolution of tea preparation through the Chinese dynasties. This helped give a better context to this year's exhibition that focuses on Qing dynasty (1644-1911) Chaozhou Gongfu Cha.

Teaparker's lecture shows how people prepared tea during each dynasty. The 3 Sung dynasty tea bowls on display in the Palmer museum helped us better relate to how tea was made during that dynasty (960-1279). Teaparker even showed videos of himself performing Sung dynasty tea in Europe, China and Taiwan. This style of tea vanished in China, but has been well preserved in Japan.
Chaozhou Gongfu cha is a style that originated during the Qing dynasty. The tea it uses is partially oxidized and well roasted Oolong tea. This tea process was invented in Wuyi, Fujian, during the Qing dynasty. That's why Gongfu Cha finds its origin in the Qing dynasty, but not earlier.

As tea fans, we love to see antiques in a museum and understand their function, but we even prefer using them with fresh tea! What's wonderful with tea is that the knowledge we gain can be turned into practice.
The second lecture on that first day was the presentation of the Chaozhou Gongfu Cha set that the Tea Institute has acquired. For many Tea Institute members, the first unpacking and display of this set was one of the highlights of these events. It felt like Christmas with one accessory more beautiful than the other!
Regular readers of my blog are probably familiar with several of these items. The 2 accessories we see less often are the fan and the copper chopsticks to handle the burning charcoal and the bamboo fan to heat the charcoal in the Nilu. (See below)
I will describe each item in more detail in a future article. I will also explain and show how Institute members learned to use this set, using the original Chaozhou Gongfu Cha brewing process. For now, let's just enjoy the glow and beauty of this Chaozhou Gongfu Cha set.

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