Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Tea Sommelier Centre

Save yourself from afternoon fatigue

This morning I received an email to promote Yoga lesson today and was attracted to its highlight: Save Yourself From Afternoon Fatigue.  That is a very good and important health message.

 
Indeed in this warm late spring / early summer day, we sometime feel tire or even fatigue easily in the afternoon. But it is not everyone can have the luxury to find time or condition to exercise Yoga in the early morning or after lunch. But I do hope the following tips are useful to you:
Take time for tea breaks, i.e. 10 a.m. / 2,30 or 3:00 p.m..

Not only move yourself from the chair, move your mind from work, but also give yourself a break to enjoy a moment with yourself when enjoying a cup of water, coffee or, of course, if possible, a cup of tea.

I know many offices have automatic coffee/tea machine but it does not offer you any pure and good taste, most of all it contains too much sugar and artificial flavors. At this moment, I strongly suggest Sugar-free and keep away from having too much sugar and/or sweet

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desserts !

Cold brew lightly fermented Oolong to boost your energy with some refreshing flavors and tastes can be a good choice in the warm afternoon.

 

Do some simple stretching

 
Here I would like to encourage Managements who care about work performance, business growth, team work and work efficiency, then they should consider to promote mini office stretching exercise.
After all ONLY happy and healthy employees can assure you to enjoy positive and better working performance and business number.
 
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Having a siesta after lunch, even mini is good 
Actually close your eyes and enjoy a siesta after lunch is very helpful. Watch out your neck when enjoying a siesta. 
If you like to sit outdoor to enjoy sun and wind, then perhaps should sit under trees in the shadow instead of taking a sun bath, because the heat from sun and warm air probably will consume your energy but not giving. 

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Having refreshing sugar-free drink 
Have some slices of lemon with you, because a glass of lemon water is really refreshing.
Staying healthy is not difficult, you don’t need to invest a lot; fittness membership is fine but is not absolutely necessary; you don’t need an agenda to stay fit and healthy.
 
But you do need to take time and pay attention to every tiny detail. Because each detail counts and your health is important.

GDPR – New EU General Data Proection Regulations

Dear Friends,

Starting from 25/May/2018 we are obliged to comply the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) .  Even if you are not living in Europe, we will still extend the same principle to show our respect to your privacy and personal data.

When you sign in to our newletters, you will receive an email about the information and/or knowledge about tea and Chinese tea culture whenever we update on this site.  In the future, just as we did in the past,  your data will remain protected in our database.

The learning of Tea and Chinese tea culture provides a very pleasant and rewarding life time learning journey.  I’m glad that I can share my learning and inspiration with many tea lovers around the world via internet.

In case you do not wish to remain on our email list, you can simply drop me an email, so I can delette your data from our list.

 

Values in tea

“Can’t live without tea”
This is a very popular claim we heard from time to time,
often even we said that to ourselves.
But, what kind of tea that you can’t live without exactly?
 
In the reality, people calculate the price when they purchase tea by ignoring the quality differences, they judge the quality based on the aroma from dried leaves and compare the price
without knowing the fundamental differences in
premium quality vs. low or even aromatic quality.
Some like to judge the quality of tea based on the content of Tea Polyphenols, but
Indeed the content of Tea Polyphenols in tea would influence the taste but it does not determine the quality grade of tea
 
Some say teas from high altitude are better than teas from lower altitude, but is it true?
Indeed there are some influences to flavoru and taste, but the altitude of tea garden does not determine the quality of taste in tea
 
At end, the key leads us to the critical question about what are values in tea
How the influence of human’s control of each process management based on cumulative experience and hard working of a life time”.
That’s is the value can’t be duplicated and/or replaced.
In life we wish people appreciate who we are, willing to listen and understand us; but not to judge us simply based on what we are currently.
Even though tea can’t speak, but if you truly want to enjoy the health benefits from tea and want to use tea to facilitate the enlightenment process, then perhaps you should also try to understand the values behind each leaf.
#teatalk #teasommelier #puretea #healthylifestyle #tea

History of Blended Black Tea

Even though numbers of pure tea lover are increasing, but still blended tea and even aromatic flavored teas are still dominated in the market.

The history of blended black tea is related with the first Grand Silk Road and then the later Maritime Silk Road.

In the time when conflicts are accelerating in the world today because of differentiating of races and culture, after more than 2000 years of journey, tea still plays an important role to emerge different cultures in a simple cup.

Tea was transported from China to the Central Asia, Middle East eventually reached Europe via the first Silk Road on land. At that time, the tea drunk by Chinese was green tea. As you can imagine how that long journey has accelerated the fermentation process to tea afterwards when tea reached its various destinations through deadly deserts by camels from China. Even though it was a green tea, but it eventually turned into black tea in the life threatening long journey. The color of tea liquid changed from yellowish green to brownish red. The fine flavor of green tea transformed to somewhat musty flavor. Because tea was such pressure and expensive merchant, so in different cultures thought about blending with herbs and/or spices, such as star anise, mint or milk, etc.

海上丝绸之路Maritime Silk Road started in Ming Dynasty carried many missions, but trading with larger volume was one of the greatest achievement. In a way Maritime Silk Road can be seen as an extension of the Grant Silk Road  to transport more porcelain. Therefore it is also known as “China Porcelain Road”.  The maritime route increased the trade volume and varieties, but still it took at least a year and half to reach Europe from China. The weather challenge to tea storage changed from dried wind and sand to humid, ocean and rain. Some foreign tea traders then blended different quality tea in order to conceal the unpleasant wet musty flavour, that’s the begin the practice of blended black tea.

In the circumstances when tea consumption culture was driven by tea supply, therefore in European tea drinkers get use to the blended black tea while in China only the pure and authentic flavours and taste are considered as quality taste.

The practice of blended tea further developed from blending different quality grades, now many are using flowers, fruits, herbs, spices and even aromatic flavored substances.  In order to create a harmony flavour and taste, therefore, tea blenders won’t, actually there is no need as well, to use fine quality pure tea as tea base.

Even with the naturally blended black tea, the flavour can be gentle and mild with dried leaves; the aroma only awakened in a warmed cup.

Tea tasting is a very pleasant experience to explore 5 senses, smelling, watching, tasting, listening and sensing; so the only suggestion I can give you is not to trust or made a decision base on one or limited sense/s, it is not only for tea tasting but also for every decision you need to make in life.

 

 

Choice in life

Lots of unexpected challenges, Up’s & Down’s and changes happened in life that oftenneed us to make a choice for decision that we can’t choose to want or not to want because  the only choice we have is how to face and manage it.

When facing unbearable stress and pain, we often have to bit our lips and the only choice is to try harder, harder and harder.

It does not matter how strong we think we are, there will be time when we feel tire and weary,  the most unbearable in life would be the emptiness in heart.

When facing strong fist, need to learn how to protect self by  keeping head down and yield whether we like it or not.

Regardless the weight on shoulders, the only thing we can do is to keep the back straight, head up and move further.

Have been through many speechless chaotic changes in life, one valuable lesson is what can’t knock me down but only make me stronger and keep me calm.

Finally I realize,  the most proactive way to handle unexpected problems starts from accepting but not avoiding.

I am who I am that not need to live my life by expecting other’s appraisal

Criticism behind my back can’t be avoided, the only choice I have is to accept without complaining

Before knowing others must first trying to understand self

Before criticizing others must first examining self through and through

Before putting blames on others must first questioning own innocence.

Instead of thinking how to settle conflicts with others, first trying to manage self

Whether others know or understand me, I don’t ask; because nothing can be kept for long by asking.

 

When the air is getting too heavy to bear, there is no better way than standing still and face the breeze with smile.

Even if the road is heard, still need to move forwards and path the way myself;

Even though often feel as if walking against the strong breeze and storm, but still it is the journey that I must manage myself.

Whether to taste a cup of tea when it’s warm or cold, that’s a simple choice that one must accept the taste without judging or complaining

Making a choice for a cup of tea can be so easy and simple, isn’t it we can also try to adapt the same to life?

After being through so many chaotic changes, warm and cold in life, the most valuable lesson is to accept, at the end can still stand straight with a smile.

Good days are fine but bad days provide more priceless lessons in life

To have is fine, not to have is also nothing no regret for because nothing is more important than peace in mind

Nuttiness, in one hand can be seen as a very generous attitude towards life, but on the other hand, it can also be translated as a selective passivism.

Passive but not withdrawing.

In this selective passivism requires proactive approach to confront and handling but not avoiding.

So what is the meaning in life and how to manage it? It is more or less a choice in life.

We all have different attitude towards life and there is no right or wrong

For me, life is but a simple choice of how to live with a peaceful mind.

 

China Rose Infusion Tea

ShanDong is the birth place of my mother, so I feel obliged to introduce something nice from my mother’s home town. Especially when it’s organic quality with natural fine flavour and taste, even with the infusion tea category of tea, and most importantly is because of its health benefits.
For those who love rose infusion tea should know not all roses would have the same flavor and taste regardless where it’s growing. The most suitable micro-environment and climate for rose is “The Subtropical area situated in between latitude 30 degree to 45 degree” on the planet.
The starting point of “One Belt One Road” for Rose starts from PinYin, ShanDong, China where is known as “Home of China Rose”.  The fine flavour and taste of Pinyin Rose infusion tea is contributed by its unique micro-climate on the Subtropical area and the soil.
For rose lovers probably can plan your visit to ShanDong, China in May when Pinyin is ready to celebrate for annual Rose Festival on 4 – 5 May.
Few unique points that I am proudly to mention about the Rose Infusion Tea from PinYin, ShanDong  are:
  1. The rose garden is under organic management
  2. Pick the flower when it’s slightly half opened when the energy for flavour and taste is reaching its best 
  3. Using the freezing drying technique to ensure the most pure and natural flavour and taste

Health Benefits

Rose contains rich vitamins A, C, B, E, K, and tannic acid; According to the Chinese Traditional Medicine practice, the Rose Infusion Tea can provide the following health benefits:

  • Can calm the emotion, anger and anxiety with its’ fine sweet and smooth flavour
  • Promote blood circulation, stimulate blood stasis, regulating menstrual
  • Eliminate fatigue
  • Protect the liver gastrointestinal function, long-term consumption can also help to promote metabolism
  • Rose has the effect of nourishing the blood flow; the skin would naturally look healthier and nicer with the improved blood cirulation.

Potential side affects:

Even though Rose infusion tea has many health benefits, but still it’s important to know your conditions first:

  • Rose has a convergence effect, those who suffer the constipation problem probably should not consume too much.
  • The natural character of Rose is mild, those who suffer from weak Yin strong Yang or excessive Yang should consume less.
  • Rose has a relatively strong efficacy to stimulate the blood stasis, girl/woman should consume less or not drink in the beginning of menstruation to avoid excessive blood flow; but definitely can enjoy it at the end of each menstruation.

Brewing Suggestion:

  • Avoid using too hot water, suggest to keep the water temperature max. 80 degree
  • Matching tea ware: glass, porcelain or enameled clay pot
  • Drink it when it’s warm.

Walk well first before running

Preparing a cup of tea seems very simple and easy, all you need are tea (either tea bag or loose leaf), water and teaware (either tea pot with cup or a simple glass or mok), but how truly how many people really know how to brew tea that can serve their needs for health?

Internet opens a lot of interesting channels and opportunities for self-learning of tea ceremony, either Chinese or Japanese and people like to talk about Zen in tea.  But what exactly is Zen in tea?  Can copying movements and enjoy a tea moment be considered as the moment of Zen already?

Either about learning tea or tea ceremony, regardless which one you are interested in China or Japan, the first step and the most crutial learning point is “MORALITY”.

Some probably think lightly about the learning of tea and practice of tea ceremony, because how complicate would it be with tea and water?  but how to comprehend and able to deepen the learning, one must first learn how to match and to present a harmony taste.

It’s like before learn how to run, one must first learn how to stand and walk.

 

Oolong

Oolong is an unique tea type which is also known as ‘Qing Cha青茶” in Chinese , inFrench they translate “Qing” to “bleu”, therefore in Europe, some people know it as “thé bleu”. But if you search the color definition of “Qing 青” on Google, then you will get series of color from green to blue.  Instead of “Blue-Bleu”, the color definition of “Cyan” would be more close to the color of Oolong. 
“Qing 青” also implies the meaning of life, also is the symbol of “Spring” in Chinese culture.
 
Comparing with other tea types, Oolong is the youngest in the tea family but it has the most sophisticated requirements from tea tree cultivars, oxidation, fermentation and roasting processes.
Actually the color of Oolong has nothing to do with “Blue – Bleu”.  The color of dried leaves shoul be Olive green to dark olive green or even dark grey green  and the color of tea lique is from yellowish amber to rich amber, subject to the level of fermentation and with or without wood-fire roasting.   Multiple layers of flavours and taste, especially the after-taste somewhat driness reaction and stimulate of lymph secretion, are something unique that we should expect from good quality of Oolong tea.
Whether you call it Oolong or Thé Bleu, it is important to recognize that
  1. the Oolong is an unique type of tea from China.  
  2. The oxidation, fermentation and roasting processes in Oolong create a lot of interesting and diversed flavours and tastes.
  3. Now many other tea regions in the world try to duplicate the Oolong process.  However, it is possible to transplant tea trees, can even learn and copy the process, but it is not possible to duplicate how the flavours and taste are transformed from the unique micro-environment, weather, surounding biological environment and accumulated experience from China, Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan.
 
But is it ‘half fermentation’ already mean it is an Oolong? The answer leaves to those who know which type of tea tree cultivars and type of flavours and tastes to expect from various Oolong teas.
You can transplant the tea tree
You can learn and copy the process
but still,
you can’t duplicate how the flavour and taste from the micro- & bio environment, weather and accumulated wisdom in Oolong processes.
 
You can learn and copy the movement
You can perform the tea ceremony
but still
you can be far from Dao, without knowing how to implement the essence in life

Cha Dao, What Dao?

Every time think of those questions I have came across, I can only laugh with tear and don’t know how to answer:

  • How long will it take for me to become a Tea Master?
  • How long and how much will it cost to learn Cha Dao?

Cha Dao, Cha Dao, The way of Tea, what tea? which Dao?

Only learning how to brew tea, nicely name it tea art, talking about tea culture with words;

No knowing the reason behind, not able to implement the essence of morals in actions;

Not able to commit without asking things in return, speaking without heart;

What come with teas? Where goes with the Dao?

Cha Yi, Cha Yi, the art of tea, which art? is it really for tea or for egoism?

Not have sufficient knowledge about tea, knowing the name without knowing its soul;

Dressing up with beautiful cloth and performing fine looking movements, emptiness under the appearance, like a dancing butterfly that does not last long if not knowing the essence behind each movement and meaning of Zen.

Which future good pure quality teas can have, if not enough people knowing the roots of tea, not showing how to show respect and to learn tea?

Calculating price when purchasing tea, chatting loudly when tasting tea, how do you management tea moment when you normally should listen to the value of “Harmony, Tranquility, Purity, Respect” in tea?

It’s sad to see how thousands of year Chinese tea culture end up with a simple show of Cha Yi (the art of tea); sometimes it worries me out and makes me sad, after all I am just a normal human being.

The more exhaution I have, the more it motivates me to clean my head up. No matter what, the teaching from parents forever live in me;

The pocket can be empty, but the heart may not;

muscles may feel tire and weak, but not with emptiness in heart;

regardless how many challenges lying ahead, must keep the back bone straight;

I am just a small Cha Ren (Tea Woman), devote my life to tea with joy.

Come on, let’s have a cup of tea !

 

 

 

 

 

Caffeine in Gongfu Cha?

In a Gongfu Cha group one who worries about caffeine consumption asked what to do with Gongfu style in the late evening.

I am too very sensitive with caffeine especially with coffee, but seldom suffer this problem when enjoying Chinese traditional brewing tea late in the evening There are three basic things that I would like to share with.you to consider to clarify this question:

  1. Gongfu style does not mean high caffeine if you used the right quality and brew it right
  2. Strong astringency or bitter taste =/= Gongfu style
  3. If you are very sensitive with caffeine, then should consider health first, the Gongfu style of tea can wait till next day.

I can make a list for traditional Oolong that offer us various unique flavours and taste and after taste, but bitterness definitely shouldn’t be one on the list if you have good pure quality and breq it right. Besides, you always have time to enjoy a quality tea time.

#gongfucha #chineseteaceremony #teasommelier #puretea #authenticquality #correctflavorandtaste

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