Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Authentic & Pure Quality Tea

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.

Eco-Oolong Workshop

Eco-Oolong Workshop

2-days workshop with Chinese Tea Master, Mei Lan Hsiao, in Berlin, Germany

Even though there are more than 50 countries growing tea worldwide, but China remains as the home of all tea types today. Among the 6+1 tea types, Oolong (Qing Cha 青茶) probably does not have the longest history but is the tea type that has most attractive characters with complex multiple layers of flavors and tastes. 

Oolong tea, in general, is known as semi-fermented tea, however there are more regional factors influence the best suit for Oolong tea.  Type of tea leaves used from which unique tea tree cultivars in which season create different flavors and tastes.  Also Oolong tea has higher quality demands on  MaoCha and the later roasting process. 

Tea tree cultivar can be migrated, and production processes can be learned or copied, but Oolong tea can not be duplicated , Good quality Oolong tea demands not only diligently production control, it requires good quality tea leaves from healthy tea trees; and healthy tea trees relies on an eco-balanced growing environment and conditions.

There are vase choices in Oolong tea and there are amazing stories about the Nature and people behind each tea leaf.  The WKP Natural Eco-Tea Garden definitely is an interesting one for Oolong tea lovers.

In this 2-days Oolong Tea Workshop in Berlin, you will not only have more information and also learn-by-tasting Oolong tea from Fujian, Canton and Taiwan in depth.  

2-Day Workshop Program Outlines:

  • What make Oolong tea unique?
  • How organic is true organic?
  • Difference in Eco-tea garden vs. organic tea garden
  • Critical production processes influence the flavors and tastes
  • Adaptable tea brewing for light- vs. traditional oxidized fermentation oolong
  • Cha Qi in Oolong tea?
  • Tea Tasting – Taiwan Gaoshan Oolong
  • Tea Tasting – Taiwan traditional Dong Ding Oolong
  • Tea Tasting – Fujian Southern – Anxi Tie Guan Yin / Formosa Beauty
  • Tea Tasting – Fujian Northern – Wuyi Rock Tea  / Baiya Chi Lan
  • Tea Tasting – Canton Kongfu cha – FengHuang DanCun
  • Eco-Oolong tasting – Traditional MeiZhan Oolong
  • Eco-Oolong tasting – Tie Guan Yin Oolong
  • Eco-Oolong tasting – Jin Xuan Oolong

For more information, please contact Mei Lan Hsiao, Email: info@chinesetea.be Tel: +32-494 50 68 99

Wu Wo Cha Dao Workshop

Wu-Wo Cha Dao 無我茶道

Tea, philosophies and enlightenment practice through tea cover all aspects to reach peace and harmony in body and mind through continued self-discipline and act on morals are critical principles in the mental and health cultivations in Chinese tea culture for Way of Tea (Chinese Cha Dao 中華茶道). The emphasis in Chinese tea culture is not limited to health, in fact, it covers much broader in the social cultur level and the spiritual civilization level in depth.

Wu-Wei (無為) is based on ancient Taoism philosophy, it literally means “inexertion” or “inaction” that commonly referred to an ideal form of leadership.  The concept of Wu-Wei (無為) emphases respecting to the Nature, the behavior modification and corrections in mentality and behaviors, starting from self before imposing on others. Inaction sounds passive, but actually it sets higher standards for proactive thinking and behaviors. 

In the time when we have great concern about the ecological balance in the Nature and how it affects our life, perhaps we should try to understand the level of interactive relationships and responsibilities behind the philosophical text written by the ancient Chinese political and philosopher, Guanzi:

The heaven dominates the righteous, the earth dominates the peace and man dominates the calmness

天主正, 地主平, 人主平靜 .

These two Chinese characters, Wu-Wei 無為, are easy to translate individually but difficult to implement in reality two words together without comprehending the meaning of Wu-Wo 無我 (Selfless).

The “I” is not in “Me”, but in “Everyone”

The philosophy in Wu-Wo Cha Dao 無我茶道 is not limited to how to perform the Chinese tea ceremony. The aim of Wu-Wo Cha Dao workshop aims to build and to correct the potential learning blocks through shaping behaviors, enhancing morals, enlightening calm and peace in body and mind.

形不正, 德不來; 中不靜, 心不治.  敬除其捨, 精將自來.

Each Wu-Wo Tea Gathering is an unique opportunity for tea lovers to get together when to share a moment of peace and harmony through tea.

一期一會

In the Wu-Wo Cha Dao Workshop we start from the learning on how to prepare, to brew and to serve tea, meanwhile it goes far deeper to examine the wisdom in water, the practice of peace and harmony through self-disciplinary processes and social behaviors, and implementing the undifferentiating attitude through a circle of energy.

2-Day Workshop Program Outlines:

  • What is Dao
  • Enlightenment through Tea
  • Wisdom in Water
  • Alignment in Body and Mind
  • Incorporate with Breath Exercise
  • Meditation with Tea
  • Tea Setting for Wu-Wo tea ceremony
  • Rules and principles to follow in Wu-Wo Cha Dao
  • Building a Peaceful Circle of Tea

Remarks:

  • The program emphases Leaning-by-Doing, therefore lots of intensive exercises, reflections and exercises
  • Dressing code: Loose and comfortable
  • We will provide tea during the workshop, but the final exercise we encourage participants to bring their own tea and tea ware
  • Participants should bring:
    • Yoga mate and meditation cushion
    • Tea ware (Gaiwan or small teapot)
  • For the final exercise, participants should bring:
    • Tea
    • Tea mate
    • A thermo (1L)
    • Serving cup
    • 4 small drinking cups
    • Tea towel

SongYang Black Tea

Tea is more than just a cup of beverage that can satisfies you with fine flavors and taste, it is about how to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

It is my pleasure to take part in the first ourdoor “Brew your own tea” event on 7/7/2019 in Antwerp. For this event, I particular choose the natural organic quality SongYang Black Tea. 

oznor

Why SongYang, because it’s not so well known outside of China? First of all, in this period when we are moving towards to mid. summer, it is time not only to think about how to stimulate the Ying energy, but also should consider what and how to neurite the Yang energy and not too aggressive to stomach. A black tea made from early Spring picking does can meet this requirement.

oznor

Secondly, the best assurance for organic tea is not just to rely on the organic stamp or certificate, but it goes back to how the tea growing regions implement the organic agricultural police. SongYang is known as the most beautiful recreation county, a small tea growing region where the local government and people are committed to the sustainable organic agricultural development  in Zhejiang province,  China. The sustainable organic agricultural development in SongYang should be known and recognized.

The altitude of the birthplace for SongYang Black Tea  is about 600-800meters above sea level.  The tea garden must follow the most restrict organic principles because the tea garden is situated above from the water reservoir.

oznor

The early Spring hand picked SongYang Black Tea would attract you with its unique mixture sweet flavors of orchid, caramel, star anise, clove and common sage (salie).

Come to join us and listen to how this unique black tea would whisper to you, heart-to-heart.

Jin Jian Mei Is Awarded for its Remarkable Taste

Here it is my pleasure to share a good news with all tea lovers that our natural organic premium quality golden tippy black tea, Jin Jian Mei, has received ITQI 2-star Remarkable Taste Award this year.

“The Best” is only a point on the journey that we need to move forwards. An objective evaluation on Shape, Color, Flavor, Taste and After Taste help us to have a better view on what and where else to improve in the future and we are motivated for continue quality improvements.

Tea and life are alike, can’t see the end of the life-time learning journey, the only thing we can and should do is to keep moving forwards on the right path; not losing our heart and forgetting what drove us into tea path at the first place.

Here I would like to thank to all sommeliers and ITQI for their excellent efforts and objectiveness to the professional taste evaluation.

For years friends or people questioned why Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre, a small tea centre in Antwerp, dedicated to pure authentic quality teas, primary from China and Taiwan, since 1995. All those years, our devotion remains the same:

We truly believe tea lovers deserve the best and safe quality tea that they can enjoy not only with fine quality in flavours and tastes, most importantly is good for health.

Deepen Roots before Jumping

I was so inspired by this photo and statement which I read the introduction of Grand Master Kuo Chen-Xiang who founded the “ErMei Median Healing Method” which he emerges the Chinese ancient philosophies in ErMei Wushu, TCM and Chinese Buddhism in the daily healing exercise :

One loses its solidity if roots are not growing firmly deep.

One may not reach enlightenment if the mind is not straight.

No method can work effectively without refined medical advancement and accumulation of practices and wisdom

The brief summary above basically can be applied not only in the natural healing exercise to improve the physical conditions and health, most importantly to enlighten the living philosophies to improve the health in body, mind and spirit.

Simple message with complex wisdom, for health and life.

MAF, A Break Through Discovery in Tea

Professor Liu Zhong-Hua from Hunan Agriculture University gave A presentation in the T20 Tea Conference on 17/05/2019 about tge discovery of new substance, MAF – Mitochondria activation factor, a high-molecular-weight polyphenol, that can enhance the strength of muscle and other health benefits.

sdr

According to the research, MAF also has significant effects on reducing  blood sugar, hypolipidemic, aids weight lose , prevent muscle atrophy. These are very good news for people, particular elderly, who gradually lose the strength or tone of muscles.

According to their research 1-2% MAF are found from semi- to full fermented teas, such as #Oolong and #Blacktea.

They will continue the research by cooperating Japanese research institutes. No matter what this discovery laid a important milestone for health research on fermented tea (black tea), semi-fermented tea (Oolong)and post-fermented tea (Dark Tea).

“Aging” vs “Musty”

Don’t remember when was the first time I drank Pu’erh in Taiwan, can’t even remember whether it was Sheng (Raw) or Shou (Ripped) Pu’erh, all I can remember is I disliked the ‘musty’, even somewhat urine-like flavor.

In the year of 1985 when I started to learn tea, we could only buy or taste Pu’erh imported from Hong Kong and I did not know the difference between Sheng vs. Shou Pu’erh, because at that time it was not possible directly from China so it was not possible to get the first hand knowledge about Pu’erh at that time. I only knew many years later that Hong Kong Chinese loved the “aging” flavors in Pu’erh. But the question about “Why experienced Pu’erh tea lovers in Hong Kong like to emphasis the ‘aging’ flaov and taste” hunted me for many years until I have the first opportunity to visit the MengHai Tea Manufacturing Factory in XiShuanBanNa in 2002 when I was amazed by the pleasant flaovrs and tastes from authhentic aged Pu’erh.

Post fermentation is very important to the aging quality of Pu’erh. There are big difference between appropriately aged ‘aging’ flavor vs. badly stored ‘musty’ flavor.

People who first taste the Pu’erh would probably experience as what I have by its unique flavors and tastes without able to tell the difference between ‘aging’ vs. ‘Heap’ vs. “Musty” in flavors and tastes.

“Aging” reflects the the quality of post-fermented flavors of time (min. 10 years and above) that appears in different flavors, such as Chinese herbal woody sweetness, ripped plums, musk, or agarwood, as if old wooden furnitures in 3-D exuding. The flavors and tastes are pure and pleasant.

Tea particular from Fushu Puerh has very rich chemical substances, can easily absorb the moisture and ordor in the air, with unappropriate storage it eventually causes musty. “Musty” actually is a bad smell due to the corruption of quality that represents in unpleasant or even loathe flavors, some even in tastes.

“Heap” often appears in newly pile of Pu’erh that are yet to get aged further.With appropriate storing conditions, the heap flavors would gradually weaken in 2-3 years.

Tea, regardless tea type, should be stored in clean, ventilated, dark, dry, odor-free, non-polluting environment.

The aging process in the post-fermentation is very important for Pu’erh. However, the first thing must know is the aging process won’t make a bad quality tea to become good, but carefully selection and investment plus appropriate storing conditions and care would indeed improve the appreciation of pu’erh tea to become a better investment.

Drinking Tea Regularly

Tea is in hip since recent years, let’s not to speak about how elegant or fancy tea drinking is, let’s first to clarify some basic health aspects.

More than 20 health benefits have been mentioned in various ancient classical historic writing about tea in Chinese history over >3000 years and here are some have already confirmed by various scientific researches in the world today:

  1. Prevention against Heart Disease – Tea polysaccharide, thearubigin and theaflavin could effectively improve arterial condition and inhibit atherosclerosis, not to mention that we all have read a lot of reports of how tea could reduce the body fat.
  2. Prevent against Cencer, Anti-Aging and Radiation – Anti-oxidation and free radical scavenging are two major methods to fight against cancer. Free radicals are products of oxidation reactions in human cells. Tea polyphenols in tea have powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects.
  3. Inhibition of bacteria – there are researches shows children who drink tea have less 60% risk of having caries in teeth than those who do not. However, small children should avoid drinking too much and strong teas.
  4. Enhance intestinal immunity – it is important to select tea carefully according to the physical conditions, from person to person; from period to period.

Conclusion:

Tea provides many health benefits but it requires a healthy life style on regular base but not just one or two cups of tea.

Judging Tea

Of course, there are some basic guidelines for the classification of tea quality, i.e. hand-picked, semi- or completely hand process and natural authentic fine flavors and tastes are always considered as the best quality.

Price does give you some ideas about the quality that you can expect, but the fundamental principle is being able to tell the authentic vs. aromatic. The question is, exactly how much do you know about tea? No matter what, it is not logical to expect cheap price for premium quality tea.

To certain teas, the presentence of stems is normal, before exclude stems out, should try to clarify which tea types we are talking about.

However, I do think the most important thing for us, regardless how many years or how well we know about tea, is that we all have to remember:

Each person can draw the line about good tea based on her/his own personal preferences in flavors and tastes.

Try to deepen the knowledge by listening to tea instead of floating around.

Work-Life Balance

There is no standard, right or wrong answer for a simple question of “work life balance”. The awakening of self awareness is must, being able to say “NO” often is necessary.

When think backwards, I heartedly appreciate the “impulsive” childhood learning from my father over Chinese classical philosophies and basic moral principles, because regular reflections eventually became a sub-conscious mental exercise.

The learning of Daoyin Qigong and Chinese calligraphy taught me the importance of aligning body and mind.

The learning and practice of tea and Chinese tea ceremony remind me.importance of “HONESTY, AUTHENTICITY, CALM and RESPECT” in actions.

Live by acting, not by thinking and talking.

Learn to stand straight before learning to walk; learn to walk before learning to run. Learn to listen own body before learning to obey with a blind folded mind.

Why worry for Taiwanese tea ?

The TV news today (12/04) about the Taichung city government gave the final warning to the thermal power plant to improve their actions in worsening not only the air but water pollution, I can’t help to curse
the evilness and stupidity of DPP government. Of course, the world needs more cheap and easy energy meanwhile we concern potential % of risk from unknown nuclear disaster, but we definitely would say NO to worsen the air and water pollution because we know the harm of air and water pollution would affect our health immediately. Not only it concerns the health of Taiwanese people on the island, but also the impact to problems of global warming.

Taichung not only is my birthplace, more importantly it is an important growing region for tea and other agricultural and fishing farms. To the North, Miaoli and Hsinzhu are producing fine quality Oriental Beauty, to the South to the Central Mountain range is Nantou where produce many fine quality Oolong and Black tea.

In Taiwan there are plenty of agricultural,,including tea, and fish farmers try to provide safe quality products. Tea farmers are doing their best to use safe fertilizer and pesticide, but tea trees breath the same air and share the water resource. The most concern is, we can not contain polluted air or water; it is impossible to stop the expansion of air and water pollutions. But how can those small people fight against the central government who impulses policies to meet with their political agenda and keeps ignoring their responsibilities to protect the Nature and People on island?

Unless Taiwanese voters can use their votes to make a political change in 2020, otherwise my worries for Taiwanese teas and people remain.

The Birth of Jin Jian Mei

Healthy tea trees in a protected eco-environmemt

Value in Tea

Only the #quality based on consistent hard works and enhanced base can present the wisdom and beauty of “Less means more”.

The value in #quality #puretea is not limited to the #price per bag, but health benefits to body, how energy and mind are interactively charmed by fine and natural flavors and taste #percup.

Values in pure quality tea can not be measured by price per bag, but in quality taste and the journey that you can enjoy from each cup.


Investment Appreciation in Tea

Having the right quality and store it appropriately for the aging process for dark tea, including Pu’erh (particular Raw Pu’erh), would influence how well the appreciation of your investment in the coming years.

The post-fermentation process won’t make bad quality tea become good, therefore, it is better to invest on better quality instead of shopping because the price is cheap.

If you could invest well, then can expect the annual growth of investment appreciation by 10% or even more. Of course, the storage conditions play a vital role to influence the quality to flavors and taste in the aging post fermentation process.

#darktea #agingprocess #agedpuerh #ageddarkteaBelgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre Cha Dao – The Way of Tea.Pure Quality Tea Belgium Tea Shop Tea Culture Rendez-vous

Let Tea Talks

Which can persuade you the organic nature of the tea? A piece of expensive certificate that money can buy? or priceless actural growing conditions?

we work directly with tea farmers who care about #nature and #traditionalinherit.

We do not sell organic certificate, we simply do #organic #organictea  We can not afford to pay for a fairtrade stamp, we simply do #fairtradetea.

#belgiumchineseteacentre

these are photos of tea garden of our traditional #meizhan #tieguanyin #jinxuan.

in order to support this #batenicalteagardens and his family,  #wkp works for another tea estate for living.

Tea is more than a business, it is about #consciousness and #honesty. If the taste of tea can not convince you, then what a piece of expensive certificate can do?

How much watet per day?

How much water to drink a day? Many research suggested 6-8 glasses. But how much exactly from 6-8 glasses? Is it only from water or in total?

According to posting from Professor Fan ZhiHong from Nutrient and Food Safty Dept. of China Agriculture University, in general it means 2500ml per day that consume based on
~ 300ml water generated from metabolism
~ in food should consume 1000ml and
~ the rest should from fruits and beverage.

Exactly how many water to drink should consider two factors:

  1. Conditions of living environmeny influence how,easy and how much from sweating
  2. Conditions of health. Color of urine can reveal.

Patients who have problems with kidneys, Gout, patients who are taking diuretics, or patients with edema for various reasons should consult with doctor carefully.

Your health, your responsibility!

Belgium Chinese Tea Association



Sometimes Waiting is Necessary

2016 Autumn

When first received this Autumn picked GaoShan Oolong (not being refined process)from ShanLinXi in 2016, even though the high flavor notes were attractive, but the bitter astringency from the presence of Chlorophyll was too strong.

Two years later, the flavor is no longer young and sexy but the matured gentleness has different charm. Most delightful discovery is the taste which is much sweeter and pleasant, it gains more points with better after taste.

The tasting tonight confirms one simple learning: Sometimes waiting is better than rushing to the taste of refreshing but with green bitterness. Of course, the fundamental factor is to store it in appropriate conditions.

Inner Strength

I was stunning when reading the report from WHO today that revealed the latest research about the suicide rate in the world:

An interview of Romelu Lukaku, a famous Belgian football player, last night was very heart touch, “Ik ga niemand zijn gat kussen”, Lukaku concluded “I am not going to kiss any body’s ass”in the interview when he talked about racism lack of respect experience because of his Congo origin and skin color that he has been through from upbringing. Apparently those unpleasant experience did not make him a bitter man, on the contrary have enhanced his wisdom and fighting will that he’s able to build his successful story in life.

Both of my sons experienced racism in the first day in kindergarten because they have Chinese appearance. Starting from the day one, I told them they are unique because of the combination of Chinese and Belgian culture inherits. No matter how hard they try, they can never change their face; they can’t change others but they can change themselves. Instead of hoping others to accept them, it is better for them to accept themselves and others.

The chaotic drama brought a lot of unavoidable psychological stress to two boys during 2002-2005 when they also faced the growing pain as teenagers. I knew it’s not easy for them to talk with me without holding back their feeling, so I encouraged them to speak with professional children psychologist. And it helped; now both kids are able to manage their study and living by knowing who they are and what they would like to be.

When I was teenager, I thought I knew all about life, but actually I didn’t. At the age of 16 just before I was over buster by hormone , the discover of truth that I was adopted actually eased my uncontrollable fire down. Of course, I could speak about my feeling with my good friends, but I chose simply to accept without making noise. Instead of creating chaos to two families, I decided to accept it with gratitude for unselfish love, teaching and care from my parents; and also not blaming or disturbing the living of my biological parents.

I had my nearly burn-out at the age of 29-30, when stood on the work-life imbalance weight scale, I did not know who to talk since I did not even clearly understand the cause. Until I entered the path of tea, I was able to relocate my calm assertive energy in mind; the learning of Daoyin Qigong started from the same year enhanced my consciousness and abilities of listening to my body. These two look as ‘skills learning’ have actually gone much deeper for change in me. Even though I chose not to talk, again I simply decided to accept the situation and started to sort out my rationality to solve problems that bothered my mind and body with actions.

When my ex- was hoping that I could disappear from this world, even though it was hard but still I chose to accept the situation, and decided to stay and live by putting feet on the ground and learning to walk again without regret and resentful energy. Because I have tried and will keep on trying. The unspeakable stressful time has actually strengthened my energy and made me a better person.

It does not matter what kind of upbringing we might have, we all dream and hope for a perfect world, but the reality proves it is not what we have dreamed, there is nothing we can but learn to accept, to adapt and to manage as best we can.

Indeed in life, we either have or will again face more challenges. The good experiences and successes really can cheer us up, but bad experiences and failures would make us stronger and better. If you have sufficient strength to dissolve the stressful thinking and energy through inner dialogues, of course, is the best. Otherwise can try to talk with objective 3rd party who can help you to sort out your emotion and negative energy won’t make you weak, on the contrary, it means you are in the process of demonstrating your inner strength and would like to take control back.

Young or old, woman or man, are all like a beautiful sun flower. Keep your back straight and head high, enjoy the warmth from sun and melody from wind, then every day is a good day and every year is a good year.

Praying from Heart

Let’s ring the bell of hope

Let’s hold the noble praying in heart

Let no one suffers from undue pain

Let hope for dreams can forever stay

Let hope the Nature remains calm and fun

Let four seasons miss the ultra extreme blaze

Let windows for heaven remain loosen

Let the sun not rushes into rest

Let joy and happiness replace despair

Let the innocence not fade away

Let the smile not shies and hides away

Let the youth spirit forever stays

Let the poverty starts to run away

Let happiness blooms and glows

Let’s share the prosperity, joy and glee

Let the world find no evilness and dusk

Let hopes never to fade away

Let’s mend the peace and harmony in time when we still can

The world is for you, me and all others, here is now and now is forever.

copyrighted Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association 04/03/2019 Antwerp, Belgium

Follow the Nature

What drive you into the world of tea?

What do you want to benefit from tea drinking?

You think you a lot but exactly how much do you really know about yourself?

Once met a very presentable couple walked into a tea shop, the lady said she can’t live a day without tea. “Wah” when I heard this statement. after smelling different tea caddies in the tea shop she eventually chose an aromatic additive blending tea. “Is that way she manage her health and live?” I can’t help to ask this question.

Chinese culture has very long history of “Yang Sheng 《養生, Health Cultivation》”. The most significant representative of LaoZi (老子) Daoism wisdom, ZhuangZi (莊子)wrote in the chaper of 〈Yang Sheng Zhu〉(養生主Mastering Yang Sheng), ZhuangZi mentioned the importance of following the Nature, not to be driven by feeling or emotion, and not to be blocked by external attractions.

The Dao (meaning Way) is to follow the rationality in the natural Yin-Yang balance and adapt to tge change.

Either drinking, eating or living, how well you are able to listen to your body, know how to adapt to changes by understanding the rationality behind every detail?

Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association, 03/03/2019, Antwerp, Belgium

Critical Basic Learning

Consistent and non stop circle of practices “ I read, I hear, I think, I understand , I act”, repeat, repeat and repeat until it becomes a habit without thinking for self-cultivation that leads to enlightenment in 三眛 (SanMei)。

Think, think and think without actions then it remains as thinking that nothing will happen。

Three major and basic steps are crucial for further refine advance by examining self everyday on asking: What did I do? What have I do bad or well? What can I improve further? This critical learning attitude is not only for the quality of professional and life learning, but also is the fundamental learning attitude to tea。

Like to learn about tea? Want to become a better qualified tea sommelier? Then should first know what and how to learn and love more on pure authentic quality tea, know more about tea with health and how can yo identify pure authentic vs. aromatic quality…….these are the fundamental learning points。 Tthe most critical learning is “submissive learning attitude”。

Being able to identify flavors and tastes are important but should’t just either jump or limit to aromatic flavors。

Let’s enjoy drinking tea!

Flavors of Post Fermentation

A post in the Gongfu Cha group on Facebook about having hair on tea cake caught a lot of interesting discussion since last night. Some people suggested that growing hair on tea cake means better quality. This reminded me why I disliked Pu’erh since I started to learn tea in 1985, because Pu’erh tea cake that I could find at that time in Taiwan were smuggling from Hong Kong, and I was totally not attracted by very strong dammed housing even urine-like flavors. However, the first visit to the Menghai Tea Factory in 2002, the natural and pleasant flavors and taste from Pu’erh, especially aged Pu’erh, were so attracted that turned my mind around completely.

Therefore, my first learning about Pu’erh started from distinguish the flavors changes in Sheng Pu’erh and Shou Pu’erh with different storaging conditions and the change in post fermentation.

Even many Chinese people can’t distinguish the difference between Chen Wei 陳味 (aging flavors) and Mei Wei 霉味 vs. . “stacking” flavors (Dui Wei 堆味)

For pu’erh or dark tea lover, especially to tea sommeliers, I do think we should not mess up with the “stacking” flavors (Dui Wei 堆味) vs. musty flavors (Mei Wei 霉味) vs. aging flavors (Chen Wei 陳味), because these three post fermented flavors have totally different presentations in terms of appearance – under appropriate storaging,

Image may contain: nature
Left:
Coronaria appears in greyish white (from natural aging fermentation
Right:
Scutellaria appears in white hair on tea cake (inappropriate dammed warehousing or bad storaging)

  • Color – With appropriate storage, actually the color of Pu’erh appears healthy and shinny. However, it is possible for some Sheng Pu’erh started to develop greyish white, it is the appearance of Coronaria which is not same as the structure of Scutellaria due to inappropriate storaging. The later would potentiallly have negative effects to health
  • flavors – the moldy in tea cake would develop very strong unpleasant flavors which are not same as appropriately aged flavors and tastes.
  • tastes – The black color mildew has an adverse effect on tea, often make the taste unpleasant because of “hemp, hanging throat, throat”.

Suggestions:

  • Avoid to purchase tea cake/brick/toucha that have 2 or more musty characters , because your health matters
  • Pay attention to the entire storaging environment but not just single storaging condition – air flow, bad odor-free, avoid light
  • Avoid to put Sheng Pu’erh with Shou Pu’erh together for aging process
  • Avoid to follow the sales marketing slogan blindly, learn to listen own body


Not to forget the aims

Last night I posted a question on Instagram

What does a title of ‘tea sommelier’ or ‘tea master’ mean?  Is it a job title to show the progress of achievement? Or a passport that helps us to stay on the right track in life with tea? 

Actually that’s the basic question students who follow the Tea Sommelier Certification Program in the Chinese Tea Academy.

I am very grateful for the reader’s feedback from a German tea lover:


I get different associations from both words. From tea sommelier more of someone frequently dealing tea trade and therefore a lot of tea tasting for commercial reasons. And tea master suggests a deep knowledge of tea culture and most importantly a profound philosophical and medical approach to tea. Also the methodology of tea preparation is advanced and refined. While it is true that both titles share some fields of activity, I get the impression they differ in their approaches, aims, means and values. 

The feedback helps to stretch my self-reflection further:

Actually I do think it does not matter which title is using, we always should remember what attracted to us at the first place, not to forget our original passion and commitments to tea and learnings through tea. It does not matter how differ from original aims, approaches or methodology, we should always keep the learning windows opened and learn to listen to TEA.
The world of tea can be even bigger with the collaborating and respectful attitude towards diversity, maintain positive energy with calm and assertiveness; of course, how to implement it might be very challenging because each person might has his/her own ideas and/or agenda, but there is no excuse not to try it.  It does not matter how the title was granted, received or claimed; it serves as a passport for the journey of tea and responsibilities as a traveler.
Correctness in information and knowledge in fundamental theories are critical basic requirements to plan and to manage our journey; but it does not set the limit to only information or technical know-how that we can find either from internet, book or even workshops, the most profound requirement is the sub-conscious attitude.

Of course, I have to admit that I have higher expectations to tea sommelier, after all, anyone can sell tea and to organize tea tasting without receiving or claiming a title.

Tea and the learning in tea and Chinese tea culture have great values in my life journey, because now I know myself better, what and how to manage the focus in life better.

Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association / Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre, 14/02/2019, Antwerp, Belgium


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