Monday, June 11, 2018

Brewing outdoors in Norway and elsewhere

Hakon from Norway sent me this picture and wrote the following note:
"Dear Stéphane,

Earlier today I sat outside reading your well-written newsletter for Spring 2018 and it inspired me to brew one of the teas I've bought from you earlier. It became an incredible tea moment and it felt almost magical when the rain started pouring down, which it hasn't for many weeks now. I thought I would like to share this with you and thank you for your inspiration. I included a picture to better share the moment.
Your teas have been greatly enjoyed. I'm also really happy with the classic teacups I got from you." 
Thanks a lot for sharing your positive experience with me and my readers via my blog. Brewing tea outdoors is something that I enjoy a lot and I am glad to see that I'm inspiring other tea lovers to give it a try. Here, a balcony is a first good step, since it means you're still reasonably close to a source of boiling water in your home! In your garden, you could use an electrical extension cord to boil water in an electric kettle.
When you're in a remote location, you can use the most traditional water boiling accessory in gongfucha: the Nilu. Or you can use a gas stove for camping.

A small kettle then makes a lot of sense with a gongfucha set: the water heats up quickly in a small kettle. (I remember one of my first outdoor Chaxi in a public park in Paris in 2009: the water in a big kettle was heated by an alcohol lamp and it took forever to come to a boil!)
Drinking tea outdoors is fun because it changes the way the tea is experienced and even how it tastes! Outside, the mind receives a lot more stimuli than in a room. There's more to see, the sounds of nature are much louder, there might be some wind, the temperature can vary greatly and there are plenty of scents emanating from the surroundings. If you brew your tea lightly, it is likely to feel subdued, because you can't notice its intricacies. Brewing tea outdoors, therefore, often means to brew your tea rather strong. 
 It's always a challenge and a balancing act to find the strength fitting your circumstances and the tea you're brewing. Some teas will feel more in harmony with your surroundings than others. I've shared my experiences with you in the past, but the best is that you find out by yourself which teas resonate most for you in a particular spot.
 Summer is quickly approaching, so I post these sunset Chaxi pictures from the beach in Kenting. They show that it's even possible to brew tea on a white sand beach. Bring extra cups, because tea isn't only connecting you to nature but will also help you make new tea friends!

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