Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Authentic & Pure Quality Tea

Learning in Life

Life can be simple and yet it is much more complex than what we could imaging when we were young and confident. At the first, we thought we knew everything and we were ready for all challenges, then the life gave us priceless lessons, some are good and some are painful, that we probably only knew some dots that we thought we know but without the full picture.

The clock is clicking, soon we realize we can not stop the time in life, but we can decide how to live by accepting and tolerating。

We can not redo what have already passed just like we can not rewarm he flavors and tastes of tea when the tea gets old. Fine quality tea offers fine natueal and complex flavours and tastes, it is better to enjoy it in time when still is warm。Because you can never have the same flavours and tastes after it gets old。

In life, we want plenty but actually what we really need are few. We probably have many acquaintances but only few friends.

Understanding from others are not something you can expect without efforts from self。

Respect is not what you can demand without showing respect to others and self first。 Respect is not something you can demand but have to think how to win without impulsiveness.

Inner peace is a process that one must learns how to manage him/herself from within。

The life journey is as brewing a cup of tea, there are many possibilities that each has to learn how to manage through life-time learning.

Belgium Chinese Tea Association



Change of pH and TDS

Evaluated the chage in pH and TDS in water from beore boiling and the chage with the green tea brewing.

Water selection: Lifialla, untreated mineral water from Iceland. Even though the pH level according to their brocure is about 8.2, but actural testing showed 7.8. The TDS according to the meter is between 49-50ppm.

First boiled the water, and took some sample for measurement when cooled down.

Added some fresh mineral water to the pot, to bring tge temperature down to 80℃ and brew Chinese green tea, #LungJing.

Tea :Water 1g:50ml

Water temperature : 80℃

Steeping time: 30sec plus 1minute

Here is measurement of green tea

Forever Young in Heart

When I was young, I couldn’t wait to grow up.

Sharing is a way of moving forwards

Before 30, never thought or worried about age, I was so confident and playful that I forgot about time.

In the late 20, I wanted to stay on 20 longer and thought I still have plenty of time, I did not worry too much because I was so occupied by many other things about work, relationship and preconceived self. I forgot about taking time easily until one day I stood on the cross road and asked what have I done in life, who was I and what did I want in life. My first awakening happened in time that I found my way in tea, the practice of Daoyin Qigong for health and inner peace.

In the late 30, all in sudden, I realised the time pressure. psychological pressures started to mount up, the risk of stress rose; the only thing I thought what I could do was to continue my life as in the 30, I thought could gain time by accepting and tolering. Of course, I was wrong because nothing could stop the clicking of clock,not in the past, now or future.

Life is like a boat journey, don’t ask why you’re on board, because you are already on. The when is not upto our choice, but the key of what and how is on our hands that we have to learn how to manage it ourselves.

Soon stepped into 50 from 49, I realized I couldn’t stop the time and the youth was flying out through windows that I forgot to close in time. I hoped I could stay forever young, ignored menopause crisis; but of course nothing could stop the clock. I started to think and worry about the time and fun that I lost and hoped to stay young longer. But I didn’t know who could I talk to, so I became more silent and submissive. Hopefully the emptiness and pain would go away. Of course, they didn’t.

The bitter betray and chaotic change that my ex-husband (father of my children) forced me through were like iced cubes over my head. I lost the family that I have dreamed about, I lost everything, luckily I and children were protected under Belgian laws. I was alone, I have no family to turn to and I didn’t know who to trust; I was forced to stop my carrier because of the responsibilities for two young boys. Despite all those unthinkable chaos and pain, I found myself back. When it seemed I was abandoned by the world, I realized “ I can’t change others, but I can change myself”. Others can fail me, can deny me, but I have to do my best to be myself and I can’t forget who I am and may not deny myself, simply because I am daughter of General Hsiao Li-Guay. I found so much strengths from the Chinese traditional moral teachings that I was fortunately inherited since childhood, I was enlightened by the wisdom of Chinese Buddhism, Daoism and saw the beauty of implementing the practices of Confusius teachings in life through tea, Chinese tea ceremony and Daoyin Qigong. This time I refuse to be submissive without trying best with a peaceful mind and devoted actions.

When one door is closed, another one is opened. Life goes on and on.

Once said goodbye to the 50, started the number with 6, I realized I couldn’t stop the time, regrets won’t help. I reborn from heart. Everyday from heart I appreciate the time that I gain, I am doing my best for myself through tea without asking why.

My life as tea and tea is as my life. I don’t live for tea, because I am tea, tea is in me.

Indeed I can’t stay as young as before, so what. Because I can keep the young in heart forever, and I am trying best everyday.

My health, my choice; my life, I live with gratitude.

Water to Tea Flavors & Taste

Water as Mother to Tea; Teaware as Father to Tea

Nearly 25 years ago, I met a good friend of mine in Taipei, Olga, who then just returned from Hangzhou and bought back some Xihu Long Jing. When we had a cup of tea in the tea room, she complained the flavors and tastes of Long Jing she bought were not same as the one she drank in Hangzhou, she thought she has been cheated by the tea shop. I explained to her, the chance she was cheated is small, especially when she bought it on spot where it was freshly made. I briefly explained the reason she felt differently was because of Water.

Water used for tea brewing does influence the color, flavors and taste of tea greatly. The first factors we should check are pH and TDS,

  • First of all, the pH and hardness of water from the water source in Taipei is different from Hangzhou
  • The average pH of our body is between 7.35 – 7.45, therefore the most suitable pH of tea liquor should be as close as to the pH level as in our body.
    • When the pH is lower than 7.0 : Basically the water is more towards to acidic instead of base. Even though the flavor of tea is fine and soft and the color is brighter, but the taste tends to be more flat and weak
    • When the pH is between 7.0 – 7.5 : The tea flavors are more full, the color is more brilliant, the tea liquor is more fine and soft; more able to bring out a good balance in flavors, color and tastes
    • When the pH is between 7.5 – 8.0 : It would weaken the flavor notes, the texture of water is more rough that darken the color of tea liquor. Even though it could present in more full body in taste but sometimes could increase the risk of imbalance in taste.
    • When the pH is higher than 8.0 : The taste of tea is more flat, dull and tasteless; and darken the color of tea liquor.
  • Besides checking the pH, we should also consider the influence from TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) value. TDS values represents the amount of dissolved impurities in water (ppm) , which indicates how many milligrams of total dissolved solids are dissolved in 1 liter of water (mg/l). Normally you can find such index on the water bottle package. The content of dissolves, such as Calcium, Magnesium, Ions, Colloids, Proteins, colloids could make a significant influence to the color, flavors and taste of tea as well.
    • the larger TDS value, the greater the impurity content in the water and vice versa. The value should be suitable for human body’s absorption, suggest to avoid either too high or too low.
    • The WHO suggests less than 50mg/l. But the standard is varied in different countries, i.e. 0-50mg/l in the US standards, 0-70mg/l in the EU standards. Basically speaking 100 or less can be accepted.
    • Some water filter system can reduce the TDS to Zero while maintain the neutral pH values, even though the taste of astringency is less, the color of tea liquor is brighter, however, it also weakens the fullness in flavors and tastes that we expect from certain teas.

The above data can give us a guideline when choose mineral water, but still is not the absolute factor. Years ago in a tea event which was sponsored by a very well-known mineral water company. The pH is <6.0 and the TDS is also very low. When I used that water to brew Taiwan Gaoshan Oolong in the first evening, even though the color was nice (bright and transparent), but the flavors and taste of my Taiwan Oolong were flat, dull and tasteless. So quickly I changed the water for the next day by mixing that expensive mineral water with the tap water from Brussels, then my Oolong was alive and tasty. Recently I tasted the natural untreated mineral water from Iceland, Lifjalla, the pH is between 8.2-8.5 and the TDS 9.4mg/l. The natural taste of that water is sweet, and it matches perfectly well with traditional Oolong, black tea, dark tea and Pu’erh with the representation of full body in flavors and taste, and the color is brilliant and transparent.

Therefore selecting the right water is important for tea. However, there are other factors could also influence the flavors and tastes of tea, i.e.

  • The conditions of water pipeline would make a great difference to the quality of water from the tap.
  • The temperature and humidity in the tasting room would also influence the flavors and tastes, suggested room temperature between 15-27°C and humidity around 70%.
  • Even the light, the quality of air, air flow, colors in the tea tasting room should take into consideration.

Making a cup of tea is easy, but there are many fundamental factors could influence the flavors and taste of the tea that you would like to enjoy. Small details require great attention.

Requirements for Beautiful Tea

Any beautiful cup of tea requires:

  1. Well balance in the Eco-environment
  2. Well match with the climate conditions
  3. Beautiful and skillful people who are devoted to ensure the quality in production, starting from tea picking and then each step in the tea production
  4. Well identified and selected quality
  5. Well matching water, including pH, hardness and temperature
  6. Well matching tea ware

Last but at least, a beautiful and peaceful mind, attitude from heart and willingness to listen, to sense and to learn.

Respect Privacy & Copyrights

Dear all,

In this cyber-world and social media on internet today, learning what and how to respect copy rights and privacy are must learning.

Here I repeat again that I do not give Facebook or any one who I connected or associated on Facebook the permission to use my photos, information, text or posts, from past, now and future.

PRIVACY LAWS

Based on The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) A data controller must provide, upon request, an overview of the categories of data that are being processed (Article 15(1)(b)) as well as a copy of the actual data (Article 15(3)). Furthermore, the data controller has to inform the data subject on details about the processing, such as the purposes of the processing (Article 15(1)(a)), with whom the data is shared (Article 15(1)(c)), and how it acquired the data (Article 15). Profile definitely should be treated as private and confidential.

Besides the definitions as a criminal offence according to national law following Article 83 GDPR the following sanctions can be imposed:

  • a warning in writing in cases of first and non-intentional noncompliance
  • regular periodic data protection audits
  • a fine up to €10 million or up to 2% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater, if there has been an infringement of the following provisions: (Article 83, Paragraph 4)
    • the obligations of the controller and the processor pursuant to Articles 8, 11, 25 to 39, and 42 and 43
    • the obligations of the certification body pursuant to Articles 42 and 43
    • the obligations of the monitoring body pursuant to Article 41(4)
  • a fine up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater, if there has been an infringement of the following provisions: (Article 83, Paragraph 5 & 6)
    • the basic principles for processing, including conditions for consent, pursuant to Articles 5, 6, 7, and 9
    • the data subjects’ rights pursuant to Articles 12 to 22
    • the transfers of personal data to a recipient in a third country or an international organisation pursuant to Articles 44 to 49
    • any obligations pursuant to member state law adopted under Chapter IX
    • noncompliance with an order or a temporary or definitive limitation on processing or the suspension of data flows by the supervisory authority pursuant to Article 58(2) or failure to provide access in violation of Article 58(1)

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION LAWS

The following rights are protected by European Union law:

  • Right of reproduction for authors, performers, producers of phonograms and films and broadcasting organisations
  • Right of communication to the public for authors, performers, producers of phonograms and films and broadcasting organisations
  • Right of distribution for authors and for performers, producers of phonograms and films and broadcasting organisations
  • Right of fixation for performers and broadcasting organisations
  • Right of rental and/or lending for authors, performers, producers of phonograms and films,with an associated right of equitable remuneration for lending and/or rental for authors and performers
  • Right of broadcasting for performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations
  • Right of communication to the public by satellite and cable for authors, performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations
  • Right of computer program reproduction, distribution and rental for authors

In case you want to use my photos, text or articles, please do first contact me for permission in writing in advance.

In case, by accident I used yours which you do not want me to show it on FB or Instagram or my blog, please do let me know. I will take it off immediately.

在這網絡與社交平台快速成長的時代, 尊重智慧財產權, 影像權與隱私勢必要學習的課程. 

在此我再三重覆, 未經本人書面許可, 不管是再臉書或是 Instagram 或是網域皆無權利用拷貝, 儲存, 或是使用我的資料, 含文字, 照片影像,與文字資料. 

個人資料絕對牽涉個忍隱私與專屬權. 任何惡意使用將被受”違法處置”. 

如果你想轉發或是使用我過去, 今天與未來的文字或是照片與影像請與本人聯絡. 待獲得本人書面同意之後方可行之. 

若是過去我不慎有使用你的照片或是文字資料, 請告知. 我會立刻刪除處理.

海外推广优质茶的挑战

自1995年至今国外的茶市场确实在缓慢成长, 然而市场依然是被加了香精或是使用精油的加味茶为主. 市场在成长, 虽然加味茶的佔有率与成长率更大更快, 但是我确实也观察到对优质茶的需求也在开放成长之中.速度虽然慢, 但是成长的曲线是存在的,对进口商来讲他们以利润优先,压低购买价,低价出售,求量为主,但是对逐渐在成长的茶饮爱好者他们关心的是健康, 长见的问题在 ”又要马儿好又要马儿不吃草“的现实品牌建立, 如何立信与持续经营的战略挑战。

但是若是对基本品质没有基本瞭解的情况之下,可以想像,消费者很容易被误导。因为许多消费者仍然无法分辨纯真的茶香以及加了香精香料茶之间的差异性。

拿一个臺湾的金萱乌龙来说,一个对”乳” (ㄖㄨ三声) 字拼音的误会造就了以为加了牛乳(ㄋㄞ   三声) 香料浓郁的“牛奶乌龙”就是最好品质的乌龙。这只是一例。也曾接触许多国内的饮茶人误以为伯爵红茶比国内的红茶好,而不知那是加了香精的红茶。诚实标示产品内含物是一个法律与道德的问题。

前阵子在看一本国外的花草茶书籍时,虽然那位英国作者是专精精油, 然而在书中有也提到慎用精油的必要,在书中作者有提到这些年有许多好动儿 (ADHD, ADD) 的产生似乎与食物与饮料中使用香精与长期过量食/饮用有相当的关联.但是书中并未提到国 外哪些单位或是专家有做这方便的研究。

不知国内有没有哪一个单位有对香精或精油食用长期对人体健康的影响的研究报告? 因为这类研究报告会对在国外推广中国精品优质纯茶突破价格瓶颈会很有帮助。

这麽多年来不是没有想到到国内参加茶艺师或茶评审的考证, 一来是不知有哪些严谨的单位在哪时有办类似课, 二来我对市间那些课程是真的有扎实的学术基础不是很清楚。 与其因渴望学习而被误入丛林不如谨慎行之, 所以我选择漫长的不断的品比, 自省与自修方式深入学习. 更重要的关节点是,我所面对的市场是国外而不是国内. 所以国内的证书对我来说虽然是很有吸引力, 那可以验证我的我对茶的知识与能力水平的肯定, 但是这些证书在国外没有相对应的教育单位会认同, 所以也没有绝对必要性与紧急度。

目前在国外确实有一些人与个人办的茶课, 绝大多数是短期, 拿了一份 Tea Sommelier 的证书却依然无法分辨纯茶与加味茶的区别, 因为有许多是以低挡次或是加味茶为学习标的物。 所以几年前我决定在我协会的架构下成立中华茶学院, 就以中国精品质优纯茶为根本. 对在国外推广中国精品茶的我, 认为更重要的是能有正确的资讯, 正确的态度与方法学习茶与分享茶知识。

多年前我也曾跟范老师坦白表达, 我很感激与尊重他们80年代在台湾一些爱茶与珍惜茶文化的前辈为復兴中华茶文化所做的传承的投入与努力, 因为他们给我们树立了一个很好的榜样。然而当时他们为了能想把中华茶文化的传承与日本茶文化的差异做区隔 ( 因为日本已经成功的把”茶道 Cha Dao”两字植入外国人的认知) 所以创建了”茶艺Tea Art”二字, 而这”茶艺”二字也间接的造就了今日茶艺界的乱象。 反观这三十多年来中国传统茶文化由台湾再回故地復甦与发芽, 似乎造就了市场更努力的在茶艺两字上营造文化市场. 优美的服饰, 漂亮花俏的泡茶姿势, 其中又有多少与茶有关呢?

为什麽我们的茶艺虽好看却不入人心? 麽这麽多年来在国外甚至经常有外国人问我 “啊, 你们中国也有茶文化?” 没错, 这些年来到中国旅游或是公干的人数有增加, 但是还有更多的人是对我们中国或是不了解或是带有有色眼镜来评断我们.  这些挑战激励我自1995年开始就时时刻刻提醒自己要警惕必须严格面对与处理的挑战。

Which Tea I Recommend Today?

Yesterday evening I received a ‘great’ question on #Instagram – “Which tea I would recommend today”.

There are two key words in this question : WHICH & TODAY.

Personally I love all tea types and I choose always from fine quality pure tea that allows me to enjoy its natural and complex flavors and tastes.

I tend to discipline myself from very vivid and sexy intensive flavors that chanting to my nose. Of course, natural pure scents are important, but can flavors reflect in tea liquid and the complexity in fine tastes are even more attractive to me.

Drinking tea for health

I do pay close attention on which tea type of tea to choose according to the change of season and weather, because there are many choices we have in our tea centre in each tea type. I simply close my eyes and listen to let my heart to guide me with my decision.

The tea I chose last night was an aged Shou Pu’erh because of two reasons :

1) we had a pretty big meal in the evening that we would like to stimulate our digestion a little bit

2) the air pressure was increasing without rain, I sensed the need to stimulate the water circulation through mild sweating.

It rains today, so guess which tea speaks to my body today?

Caring of Yixing Teapot

Keep a teapot in good condition is not that difficult. Never use soap or detergent to wash it, definitely not in a dish washing machine Certainly do not clean the naked ceramic teaware, i.e. Yixing, in a dish washing machine.

This shape is known as “Shoulder of a Beauty”

The above mentioned cleaning method is suitable for all material Teawares, including those made from Yixing clay, Actually all teaware can be easily cleaned with warm water after the each use, because there is no fat or any chemical substance from pure quality tea.

Should be careful when buying “old” Yixing teapots on line because photo can easily being PS, and there are lots of faked old Yixing teapots sold in the market.

In case the “old” Yixing teapot you bought has pretty dark color stains inside, I would suggest

  • cook it several times with water to remove the old flavor and stained color
  • bush it well after each cooking.
  • Afterwards cook it at least once with the oolong tea that you want to use it in the future.

If you really care about Your health, then learn to listen your body better, and don’t underestimate the importance of learning tea. Pure and authentic quality always is the best choice.

If you really care about your teaware, then don’t be lazy. Clean all teaware, including pot and cups, with warm water after each use.

I can’t afford to buy authentic antique Yixing teapot, but I am glad to grow old together with my Yixing teapots. Dedication is important for a naked ceramic teapot to become a more brilliant living ‘partner’ in your tea journey.

Bad Tea Drinking Habits

There are six typical boggy traps in tea drinking, even many experienced tea drinkers are falling into the temptation without knowing:

  1. Drinking tea with Empty Stomach or early in the morning before breakfast
  2. Drinking Strong Tea in the late evening
  3. Like to drink freshly made New Tea
  4. Drinking Excessive Quantity of tea
  5. Drinking too much Strongly Brewed Sheng Pu’erh
  6. Drinking tea after drinking Alcohol

Are you unconsciously falling into either one of it without knowing?

If drinking tea is not for health, then perhaps the healthiest drink is water. Whether you believe in reconcillation, life after life or not, the reality is we only live once in this life.

Your health is not relying on which tea you drink, it depends on how you take responsibility on the choice you make in everyday life.

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