Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Le mime de TeaMasters

Cette vidéo me rappelle ce temps où j'étais étudiant à l'Institut Commercial de Nancy. Au lieu de faire parti du Bureau Des Elèves (les fêtards) ou de la Junior Entreprise (les ambitieux), j'essayais déjà de combiner mes études de commerce avec l'art. Ainsi, mon association (Lorraine Art Corps) fit venir des élèves du Cours Florent à Nancy pour 2 représentations du 'Médecin Malgré Lui' de Molière, à l'automne 1991. L'idée était de promouvoir le théâtre classique et de permettre à de jeunes acteurs (et actrices) de gagner en expérience. Ce fut un véritable succès: ils jouèrent leurs 2 représentations à guichets fermés dans une salle Poirel en délire! Le metteur en scène était Thierry Hancisse qui faisait déjà parti de la Comédie Française! Et parmi les jeunes acteurs , il y avait notamment Jeanne Balibar et José Garcia... Ce qui est intéressant, c'est que je me rappelle aussi de l'excellent repas que nous fîmes après la représentation. Mes papilles se remémorent un très bon foie gras sur du pain aux noix et au miel! Ainsi, déjà à l'époque, l'art et le bon goût allaient déjà de pair!

Me voilà donc dans une vidéo où je mime 10 erreurs à ne pas commettre lors d'un Chaxi. L'idée du mime est de permettre à cette vidéo de toucher un public planétaire, sans la limite du langage, car le thé est une boisson universelle!

Ces 10 erreurs sont:
1. L'impéparation et la présence d'objets qui n'ont rien à faire dans le Chaxi,
2. Utiliser un sachet en plastique au lieu d'une jarre,
3. Toucher les feuilles quand on les fait passer entre invités,
4. Souffler sur les feuilles quand on les sent,
5. Verser l'eau de la bouilloire avec précipitation,
6. Parler pendant qu'on verse l'eau,
7. Regarder sa montre,
8. Faire du bruit d'eau en versant dans le bol à eaux usées,
9. Mal tenir la théière,
10. Boire la coupe d'un coup.

Friday, April 24, 2020

New Chaxi lessons: 1 teacher, 2 platforms, 3 dynasties, 4 teas, 5 videos

Here's the recap of another busy week of Chaxi lessons to help all the tea drinkers enjoy their favorite drink even more. And I hope you'll even learn a few new tricks and information along the way! If you didn't catch me live on my FaceBook page, you may scroll down that page to watch my videos in full. Or you can watch them on my YouTube channel. Unfortunately, some videos are cut short due to technical issues with my camera (it can only make videos up to 20 minutes long). So, if you see that the video is shorter than 20 minutes, it means it was recorded with that camera instead of the phone. So, if you want to see the end, you'll have to watch it on FB.

This week, we brewed a modern red tea (Hong Yun from Sun Moon Lake) and a lesson about porcelain:

We also traveled a lot in the past. Here, in a dark mood with the 2001 JinGua shu puerh from Xiaguan Tea Factory:

We also traveled to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) to enjoy Shui Xian Yan Cha with this Chaozhou Gongfu Cha demonstration using real charcoal in my Nilu: (This video is complete)

This aged Gushu puerh gave us then the opportunity to revisit the spirit of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644):

And we finished the week in the Song dynasty (960-1279) whisking green tea powder like Emperor Song Huizong:

The technique I'm using is unlike what you've seen elsewhere. This was a FaceBook and Internet premiere! Enjoy!
Next week, I will be busy selecting spring Baozhongs and high mountain Oolongs. I'll keep you posted about the fresh leaves I'll find, but I may skip making videos on some days...

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Helping a tea friend brew Gushu puerh

Here's part of an email I received from R. last week:
"Your teas are remarkable. The Wild Baozhong from Spring 2019 tastes like it was from this spring. I do have a question for you please, and I so much appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me Stephane.
I find that drinking raw puerh which I love, does not love me! The flavor profile is just awesome, but the energy the tea has is just too much. I feel too weird (tea high? or just too much caffeine for me?) after I drink it. Sometimes just after my 3rd steep I feel this wave of nervous energy come over me and I have to take a break. Sometimes it lasts for 20-30 minutes and I really don't like it. Mostly its not relaxing.....its anxiety provoking, unlike I get with high mountain Oolongs, Dancongs, lightly roasted Oolongs and even black teas, it's only with raw puerh. Do you have any thoughts on this? I am brewing using a 70-80 ml teapot and using 5 grams of tea with very short steeps and 210 degree water."

Since I'm making Live video lessons on my blog's FaceBook page during the confinement, I made this Chaxi lesson about young Gushu puerh to show how I'm doing it:

A little later, I made a second video where I examine the open leaves. This video isn't available on YouTube. You can only find it on my above mentioned FaceBook page. And I sent him this recommendation: "According to my calculations, I'm using 5 times less Gushu puerh than you when I take into account the size of my silver teapot (2 gr for 150 ml)! This means you could try it with 1 gram!"

A few days later I received R's answer:
"A quick report as I am on my 8th steeping of the Gushu with 1 gram in my 70ml. The first 4 minute steep was a little strong actually and same for the second steep at just less than 2 minutes although the flavor wonderful. Next time I will reduce the times for both 1st and 2nd.

From steeps 3 thru 8 I have been doing approx 3 minutes adding a little each steep and they have been wonderful. Its been about an hour while listening to Mahler 1 and I am on top of the world.

The energy was good and relaxing. Then I started sweating, but its hot here in Florida and I dont run the air much during the day. The tea hit me pretty hard, it just creeped up out of nowhere!!! but I was fine. Just a rush of energy for about 5-10 minutes and then I chilled out. Almost a numbing sensation in my head, ears and face........tea is amazing!

Everything I have learned on Youtube/other tea sites has been the opposite of what you have taught me. Use lots of tea, 5 to 8 grams or essentially fill the gaiwan or Yixing with dry tea and do very fast steeps.

I must say , using this Gung Fu Cha method (lots of tea/fast steeps) the flavors are amazing, but the tea energy (caffeine kick) will destroy my day and the flavors can be a bit much.

Your way is much more peaceful, relaxing and subtle. You get all the nuances and layers of flavors. It might be a lighter and tamer experience......more refined. I relate it to drinking a 1-2 year old Burgundy to a 13 year old. Same wine, completely different experience. Both good, but I prefer the second.

Thank you sir!!" 

Actually, my understanding of gongfu cha isn't lots of leaves and short steeps, but finding the right parameters for each tea. This search for the right brew takes more skill than always using the same approach. That's why I still like to call it gongfu to use 1 gr of gushu in a small teapot. Each tea has a different character and the more we understand it, the better we can brew the leaves accordingly! In the case of my spring 2019 Lancang Gushu puerh, for instance, the loose leaves come from 300 years old puerh trees and are very powerful. They haven't been mixed with plantation leaves and their old leaves have been sorted out. That's why it's so pure, refined and full of energy! Less is more!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

More Chaxi lesson videos

This week, I continued to make new Live videos on FaceBook Live. That's the best place to watch them (on YouTube, some videos stop early, because my other camera can't record videos longer than 20 minutes). I also managed to solve the problem with the sound by purchasing a wireless microphone. Now you don't need to set the volume to the maximum anymore!

Here's an introduction video about who I am and with whom I've learned tea:

Et comme c'est un sujet important, j'ai même refait la vidéo en français:

And I finished the week with a Chaxi lesson about high mountain Oolong:

The Live format adds an element of reality to these videos. It's like a real Chaxi. You've practiced before, but the tea you are brewing now requires all your attention. The goal isn't perfection, but being there, in the present moment. There's no way to erase or delete a mistake. You have to find satisfaction in doing the best you can. And if not satisfied, you have to learn to avoid this mistake next time and improve. It's in the same spirit as gongfu cha! I hope to see your comments and likes next week. Let's use this time of lock down to learn how to enjoy brewing tea at home even more!