Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Authentic & Pure Quality Tea

Belgium Chinese Tea Association



Yellow Tea

黄茶

I did not know how to answer this question when someone told me a British tea company published on their web site about yellow tea that the production know-how was lost for hundreds of year and only recovered in 1970.

I hope the follow information is able to establish some clarifications:

  • Yellow tea is a very unique tea from China, basically the production method is very similar as green tea, except there is an additional ‘staking fermentation’ process. Therefore, yellow tea is a mild oxidized tea.
  • In different historical period in China history, there are different kind of yellow tea:
  • The yellow tea that we know today has unique characters from specific tea tree cultivars that the fresh young bud and leaves appear in more yellowish color
  • Teas presented to the Emperor in Tang dynasty, i.e. yellow tea from Shoushan, Anhui and Mengding, Sichuan, were known as yellow tea because of the color from dried tea leaves appeared in yellowish color.
  • Basically there are three types of yellow tea based on the tenderness of fresh tea buds:
    • Yellow Buds (or yellow tips) : such as Junshan Yinzhen (Hunan), Mengding Huangya (Sichuan) and Huoshan huangya (An Hui)
    • Small-leafed yellow tea : such as Weishan Maojian,
    • Large-leafed yellow tea can be found in Anhui, Hubei and Canton
  • The most easy visualized character from Yellow tea is the color of tea liquor is in more yellowish.
  • Yueyang in Hunan is known as capital of yellow tea
  • Even many Chinese can easily confused by yellow tea from green tea or vice versa, how can we expect foreign tea lovers have to go through language interpretation?

However, yellow tea can be an interesting choice for those who would like to drink green tea but have problem with stomach.

Purple Buds Sheng Pu’er

As usual I always give myself and my husband a treat with a pot of fine tea we love before we go to bed.

The choice tonight is Purple Buds Sheng Pu’erh of 2005 from JingMai shan, in the Laku self governing region in Lincang, there are more than 28,000 Mou of ancient tea growing region near the border of Myanmar.

The flavours and tastes are smooth, gentle, sweet and fine. No trace of astringency and bitterness. The flavours and tastes are intensified in the 2nd brewing and the taste is getting finer. I am surprised by its astonishing strength in the after taste.

What a beautiful and pleasant night tonight with the #purpletippy #shengpuerh of 2005 from #jinmaishan.

Chinese Tea Ceremony

Tea and tea culture began from China thousands year ago. When tea entered different countries via the first ancient Grand Silk Road in Han Dynasty to the West and another connection to the East, Korea and Japan, tea integrated in different cultures and influenced the change of lifestyle nicely without impulsing.

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In the 12th century, Japanese Zen monk Eisai  brought tea seeds and the whisking method Chinese tea ceremony that they learnt in the process of learning Buddhism in the Buddhist temple on Tian Tai Shan in Zhejiang Province back to Japan. The Cha Dao culture has further refined in Japan, the steamed green and whisking method tea ceremony are well preserved and refined further under the Japanese cultural discipline for being perfect.

Meantime in China migrations and expansions of tea plantation continued and more tea types gradually created. With the introduction of more fine quality teas, from steamed-green to wok-fired green and more varieties were born and more various tea types were introduced. Chinese tea ceremony methods gradually changed to loose leaves with gaiwan or small-teapot brewing. What remains same in Chinese culture from all those exciting changes are :

  • The “Dao” in Daoism is more than Daoist philosophy or limited to specific forms of exercise, it meant an on-going learning process and one has to his/her own responsibility to find his/her path to move forwards in life.
  • Chinese culture is closely linked with the teaching and wisdom from Confucianism, Daoism and Chinese Buddhism. Indeed there are plenty of temples in China, but what’s important in life is not about religion but is about
  • How to discipline and strength the inner-self
  • How to live by facing self
  • How to maintain a peaceful, respectful and harmony relationships in 360 degree, from family, working and society.
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In tea, there is I, there is s/he, most importantly there are Us.

Tea reveals wisdom in life, the flavors and tastes in tea reflect the various unexpected things to happen in life. Tea is as life; life is as tea.

For thousands of year the meaning of Chinese tea ceremony maintains the same in Chinese culture that influence the Chinese lifestyle:

  • Fun and fine quality pleasure to enjoy in life
  • Tea is about taking time to enjoy a moment of peace and tranquility
  • Fine and warm friendship that interchange in silence by showing respect each others and self

So far, China is still the homeland for 6+1 tea types. Therefore there are different forms of process to present in the Chinese tea ceremony, despite differences, it again covers ONLY all aspects to enjoy:

  • Create a pleasant physical environmental ambiance
  • Prepare your mind
  • Evaluating the quality of tea
    • The color from tea leaves (dried and wet) and tea liquor
    • The natural and multiple layer of notes in flavors
    • The charming multiple layers of transformation from the taste and after taste
    • The number of brewing indicate the quality and strength
  • Respectful attitude and good manners in the serving, receiving and tasting tea
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Making a cup of tea is easy, simply let’s have a cup of tea!

Zen is You, is How You Live

People like to talk about Zen, often many people think Zen is an exclusive philosophy of Buddhism, or meditation means zen…… there are many different interpretations, but actually what is Zen?

I was first enlightened in the year of 1984 or early 1985 by the wisdom in Zen, two particular experiences helped me to open my mind and brought me, a Catholics to become a Chinese Buddhism Zen practitioner.

Instead of telling you what Zen is or isn’t, let me tell you my stories:

Tea, a cup of fine tea

When talking about tea, often people like to compare which tea is better than the other tea by tea type, country by country, region by region, by altitude or even by the aging…… But actually which criteria define the basic quality differences in tea and what does a cup of tea do with your health?

In short, tea is more than a cup of delicious and healthy beverage; it reveals how do you care about your health and how well you know what and how to manage your energy in this fast changing and stressful reality today.

The answer to a cup of fine tea should be explored in the follow fundamental question areas:

  1. How much do you really know about tea?
  2. Are you really following tea or lead by preconceived decisions?
  3. Which processes are important to you to think about how to sustain health through tea?
  4. Do you know what and how to select tea before brewing tea in the cup?
  5. How well can you manage the tea brewing?
  6. Do you know what and how to consume tea per day?
  7. Last but no least, is tea just limited to a cup of tea?

Of course, there are typical parameters to define a fine cup of tea, but through the tranquility, purity and clarity in tea, we can deepen the learning in life.

I will be more than happy to share my experience and learning with tea lovers in the Berlin Tea Festival ( http://berlin-tea-festival.de/ ) on 23/11/2019.

Looking forwards to having a cup of tea with you in Berlin.

Is Tea Good for Young Children?

Either in China or in the West, often I met parents who were proud that their child can either make tea or drink tea at the young age, sometime even at the age of 3. This reminds me the teaching from my mother when I was about 8 years old when I was responsible to prepare tea for my father and mother in the weekend, but at that time my Mom dis-allowed me to drink tea. I could only sometimes have a zip of it, but never drank strongly brewed tea.

So, one day I came out with the “Why” question to my Mom why I might not drink tea, because it’s so attempting by its fine flavors when I made tea for them.

Even though my Mom was not a tea master or doctor, but she has very good common sense about healthy diets based on her learnings on the fundamental principles for health based on the Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) from her mother and grand mother, so here is what she said to me:

During the growing period, children need to have a lot of calcium and nutrients, so it is better to keep your body sober and clean as possible. In tea there are Tea Tannin and others that might affect the conditions to the stomach and could influence to digestion, particular during the developmental phase.

So, I was only allowed to drink tea at the age of 12.

Now when it comes to the subject if tea is good for young children, here is the summary of suggestions based on several researche reports found in China:

  • Tea contains substances such as theophylline, which can easily cause excitement in the central nervous system, infant and young children are still in the developmental stage, and each nervous system has a weaker ability to inhibit substances with excitatory effects.
  • The tea contains tannic acid and theophylline. When these two ingredients enter the body, they will potentially inhibit the absorption of some nutrients such as calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Excessive drinking of tea or drinking tea may lead to a lack of nutrients in the body and even malnutrition.
  • In general, tea has diuretic function. After drinking tea, the process of diuresis, tannic acid and theophylline can also cause the loss of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus for young children (this is what my Mom was talking about), which is not conducive to the absorption of iron and can even easily cause iron deficiency anemia . That might affect the absorption of nutrients
  • Avoid giving tea to children younger than 6, give selected tea, either caffeine-free infusion, or aged tea or very lightly brewed tea, to children over 6 and younger than 12.

Either to children or for adult, there are my simple suggestions for daily tea:

  • Alter the selection of tea drink according to the change of season
  • Avoid drinking strong tea
  • Avoid drinking fresh tea
  • Keep the brewing as light as possible
  • Limit the drinking quantity per day
  • Have a glass of water in between tea drinks

Pregnant women certainly should avoid drinking strong tea, not only it’s susceptible to anemia, but also not conducive to the absorption of other nutrients. The stimulation of having too much Tea Tannin (Caffeine) can accelerate heart rate, increase urination and burden on heart and kidney. Tea does stimulates many health benefits, but drinking too much non-sense blending, or contains aromatic or coloring addictive substance might hidden the health. But the fault is not from the tea itself, but it is because people do not know what to select and how to drink tea.

We do, however, can train young children the techniques of brewing and serving tea, because it helps to start the respectful and disciplined behaviors training at the younger age.



			

AnHua Dark Tea

Being a half Hunanist by birth, I felt so guilty of not knowing enough about Hunan and the black gold, Anhua Dark Tea. Autumn last year, finally I got my chance. In a very intensive root searching visit to ChangSha, Ivo and I managed to have a very short visit to Anhua for three days.

Due to the limit of time so we could only visited Liu Bu Xi village and observed the production of mysterious dark tea production, and of course we have opportunities to taste plenty authentic fine tastes of Anhua Dark Tea during our visit. Unfortunately the visit was too short, but plenty fine memories still in my heart every time I make myself a cup of Anhua dark tea.

What attracted us the most are not how fine in flavors and tastes from Anhua Dark Tea in that short visit, but more over on how the local people coherently forge a harmony bonding relationships through mutual respect with the Nature, and how the local people persistently preserve the old traditions in tea production know-how.

Anhua Dark Tea actually has over 2000 years stories in China history and was a well known border trading tea with Tibet since Ming Dynasty. There is a widely spread and well known legend about Anhua Dark Tea:

On the ancient Silk Road, one day a caravans that transported tea encountered rain and tea got drenched and moist. The tea merchants, of course, were very upset, but it was pity to throw it away so they went to a village, hopefully to rest and to dry the drenched tea. But at that time, many villagers died from dysentery and they have nothing to eat or drink. The tea merchants gave the tea to sicked and poor villagers. The result was splendid, villagers were all healed by drinking tea. Since then Anhua Dark Tea is known for its medicinal effects.

Today there are many international scientist research institutes are conducting research on dark tea to health. There are few unique characters we do can mention here:

  1. Even though it does not have very sexy and delightful flavors but it tastes sweet and smooth
  2. It comforts the stomach with its gentle sweetness and smoothness tastes
  3. It keeps the stomach and body warm
  4. Those who love black tea would easily fall in love with Anhua dark tea
  5. It tastes good with or without milk. To those who concern the cholesterol, of course, should consider to drink it straight and pure without milk.
  6. The flavors and tastes get better with the post-fermentation storaging, under appropriate conditions. Holds a great potential for value appreciation.

The production process of Anhua Dark Tea can be grouped in four major steps: Tossing, Rolling, Staking and heaping for microbial fermentation through moist heat. In the microbial fermentation process, secret of golden flowers are developed.

Dark tea is not only not yet very known in Europe or North America, even in China there are lots of misunderstanding. Honestly speaking, Dark tea has always been, which is still today, remains as an uncovered black gold that you should give yourself a chance to experience its tastes.

Each tea has it unique territorial characters that we need to learn to respect and appreciate. A physical tasting experience is extremely important to promote Dark Tea. There are plenty stories to discover behind the tea leaf, starting from the Nature, tea trees, hard working people, wisdom in tea production and urban culture and living rituals that people in Anhua are still holding on today.

Join me to discover the secret of golden flowers from Anhua dark tea. I can’t help to expect my next exploration to AnHua soon again.

GONGFU CHA

Using #gaiwan or #purpleclay #tixingteapot does not mean it is gongfu cha technique already, and it does not necessarily mean you are making the #gongfucha.

I started to practice gongfucha technique without knowing its true meaning. It took me years to realize the time I have wasted when realized those mistakes I made based on assumption, and corrections took me triple efforts and devotion.

I am glad with the early wake up call that I was able to restart my journey on the right path.

Before learning Gongfu Cha techniques, one must first learn what is tea. Knowledge about tea is must before learning Gongfu cha. Before practicing Gongfu Cha techniques one must first learn what does gongfu means, then what does gongfu means in tea😊😊😊😊

Simple process  requires serious and submissive learning.

Tea Enlightenmemt

I am an innocent tea learner, more than 5 decades I learned tea based on the actural tasting experience from each brewing and tastes from authentic flavors and tastes, but not relying on reading or pre-conceived knowledge or preassumed creative ideas.

My learning is still on going today with innocent attitude and a opened mind.

How many visual attractions from tea ceremony performance are really about tea and for tea?

Many tea competitions actually have nothing to do with tea but are more like competitions of personal egoism.

Tea judging is an indepth and yet pragmatic learning process of being able to identify the balance in flavors and tastes, that requires genuine objective attitude, know-how and experience from listening to tea, meeting tea, tasting tea and knowing tea. When we judge tea, we will be, too, judged by tea.

#egoism #learningfromtea #wisdomintea #lifetimelearning #listeningtotea #meetingtea #tastingtea #knowingtea #teacompetition #teajudging

Every Detail Counts

It is delightful to read different opinions about tea tree cultivar on various social media.

As matter of fact, there are lots of unique varieties in tea trees, growing environment and climate factors around the world today.   It is not only hard but also not fair to compare or to say which one is more superior than the others, because It does not matter what, the most important criteria are:

  1. How tea plantation was managed? because all tiny details about how tea trees are taken care and maintain can influence the health of  tea trees which could eventually also influence the taste.
  2. How manufacturing processes being managed? This is extremely important to tea that requires complex oxidation, fermentation, rolling and roasting processes. In front of nature and Mother Earth, it does not matter how smart we think we are, we all have to learn how to emerge and show respect.   

Furthermore, there is another question for us to question ourselves is :

When we receive the tea, how much do we really understand and respect the natural characters of that particular harvest of that particular season from that particular region? How can we can brew a cup of tasty tea based on our understanding.

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