Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Authentic & Pure Quality Tea

Self-Reflection

No man or no power can ever turn the last second backwards, so as to history.

The past pages have already passed, there is no way to redo, just like nothing can turn the wind backwards, river water flows can never reflow.  No matter what kind of feeling you have,  love, complaints, joy, sorrow or hate will disappear.

Fate comes and there will be a day for disappearing;

the circle of relationship is formed and there are reasons for its broken up;

the rise and fall of fate is just like sun rise and sun set.

It is like a cup of cold tea, it can be warmed up but cann’t retrieve the fine flavors and taste, moments of having fun with friends have already gone that cann’t be recalled.  All became memories.

There are plenty priceless learnings from the history when we are willing to learn with an opened mind.  Want to profit from those learnings can be easy, all we need to is to learn facing history honestly, learn to accept with an innocent and joyful heart, able to adhere to continuous learning without complaints, no anger, no guilt or hate. Learn to respect from heart and able to get rid of greediness, keep head down and focus, the light of wisdom would shine without asking.

Asking why won’t help, why not simply learn to accept and adapt to the change?

When consciously aware the rising of distinguishing mind, it’s time to enhance the self-discipline.

Is Pu’erh Black Tea or Dark Tea?

In the Doucha (鬥茶) of a tea sample that girl friend from Ivo’s colleague brought who hoped I can give his girl friend a feed back about the quality, therefore the Doucha last night  did not mean to compete but simply tried to understand the unique characters of each tea.

The word of “Vintage Pu’erh” caught my attention, but quickly noticed an error on the package, because the British tea company put the tea type as “Black Tea ” (Hong Cha 紅茶in Chinese), as matter of fact, Pu’erh, particular Shou Pu (Ripped Pu’erh) should be in the “Dark Tea” (Hei Cha 黑茶 in Chinese) tea type.

Pu'erh is Dark Tea but not Black Tea in English

Pu’erh is Dark Tea but not Black Tea in English

The Heap Fermentation process has long history, it meant to produce water and temperature through the respiration of the added strain, to destroy the chlorophll in tea

Shou Pu 熟普 was not exist before 1973.  Before that they called the aged Pu’erh as Chen Cha 陳茶.  The production process for Pu’erh was very simple before the 70’s, Withering-> Solar Drying -> Steaming -> Compressing -> Drying.  The heap fermentation with cold water process actually was invented in 1958 by Liu Bao Cha 六堡茶 from Wuzhou, Guangxi.  But the heap fermentation of these two dark tea are different starting from the beginning:

  • The heap fermentation for Liubao tea is piling tea up during the production process
  • The heap fermentation for Shou Pu’erh is also using the piling up method after the production of Sheng Pu’erh

There are two types of Pu’erh, Sheng Pu 生普 and Shou Pu 熟普, because only Shou Pu uses the heap fermentation process, therefore, perhaps only Shou Pu really meets with Dark Tea.

According to the sticker, the original packed weight was 2,5gm, but actual weight I received is 1,5gm, therefore it means Ivo’s colleague only used 1,0gm to make tea in +/- 320ml tea pot.  That explains the infusion time of 3-5 minutes.

last night performed #doucha 鬥茶 – small-leaf ripped pu’erh vintage grade。

Vintage Pu’erh tea sample of Nxxxy
Flavor: obvious wet warehousing stinky aroma
Shape: tips are small, many broken leaves
Color: redish brown, problem with clarity
Taste: soft sweet but flat
After taste: not sufficient, weak Qi
Nxxxy mistaken the tea type as “Black Tea”, actually tea type for ripped Pu’erh is Dark Tea in English

2006 #puerhchahuang #普洱茶皇
Flavors: dried aging, woody with ripped fluity flavors
Shape: fatty tips, broken leaves are much less
Color: Rich Amber, good clarity
Taste: gentle sweet, full mouth of taste notes
After taste: rather faste, sufficient after tastes, feel warm quickly with Qi

Each person has his or her unique preference in flavours and tastes, it is a matter of definning the meaning for what define vintage quality and how individual choice differ from each others. So what is your choice?

 

“Hand of Peace” in Antwerp

All major European cities or harbors like to claim themselves as “the center of Europe”, but center can only be one, so where is the true center in Europe exactly?  As matter of fact,  that was my question when prepared the market competitiveness analysis during the time I worked as Executive Director for the state of Bremen/Bremerhaven before I moved to Belgium in 1991. It’s said a photo speaks better than thousands of word, the answer for this question is clear from the following photo, because the heart for trade and investment in Europe requires well structured, convenient and efficient transportation networks  by sea/land/river for the distribution of goods from one point to other European destinations in 360 degree radiation range:

27/09/2018 was a proud day for Chinese and all Antwerpenaars when international diplomates got together in  “Palace on the Meir”, a protected monument built in the 17th century, to witness the signing of MoU (the Memorandum (memorandum of understanding) by FEMOZA, Diplomatic World and EFTCC for the Diamond Silk Road train connection project.

It is also the day when Chinese sculptor, YAN ShuFen’s outstanding sculpture based on the symbol of hand and pigeon available to the public in the Antwerp Central Station. The Antwerp Central Station is known as the most beautiful station in the world, built in 1898 and finished in 1905. ShuFen’s sculpture “Hand of Peace” will be first displayed in Antwerp for one year and then tour to Shanghai and then return to her permeant home in Antwerp.

Hand is a city symbol of Antwerp that has an amazing legendary story of why our beautiful city was named as “Antwerp (Antwerpen)”. The symbol of Antwerp Hand stands for FREEDOM, EQUALITY, LOVE, OPENNESS and FRIENDSHIP, these are what Antwerp standing for hundreds of year in Europe. The symbol of pigeon, as we know,  of course, stands for universal beliefs in PEACE and HARMONY.

The combination of these two symbols in one unique art work spells for hopes not only for economic, trade and industrial links, mostly it means to fulfill hopes and dreams of people from different cultures and nations to cooperate alone the modern Silk Road train connections in the One Belt One Road project.

In the inauguration ceremony, it is very interesting what Mr. Ludo Van Campenhout, the Alderman of Antwerp City, mentioned in his speech that Antwerp has played an important role in the tea trade from China to Europe since 1720’s.

 

Tea trade since the first Grand Silk Road in the East-Han Dynasty (25 – 220 A.D.) via land connected people and culture through trading;  The route connected East with West stretched futher from land to sea via the Maritime Silk Road.  Series of treasure voyages (1405 – 1433) lead by Admiral Zheng He in Ming Dynasty further lead to the connection from China all the way to Europe (to Antwerp) directly.

Here I would also like to highlight another tea trade route that  has almost dust sealed in history which was the Sino-Russia Tea Trade Route.  Traders  brought tea from Wuyi to Hankou (Wuhan, Hubei), then continue the journey through safari by camel to Russia. That Sino-Russia tea trade route brought Chinese tea to Russia via the Mongolian Plateau and the Siberian hinterland that spreaded tea seeds in different cultures alone the way.

Tea trees grow slowly, so as to the integration of tea culture in human history; once tea seeds were embedded, another page of exciting story  of tea culture began. The taller tea grees grow, the deeper roots go.

That Sino-Russia Tea Trade Route definitely played an important role to bring tea seeds from Russia to Europe; tea drinking culture quietly integrated in East European cultures in the 18th to the 20th century. The Sino-Russia Tea Trade route completed a pocket for tea trade and cultural influence from China to Europe with the Maritime Silk Road.

Image result for tea trade to Europe

These significant historical Silk Roads plus tea trade routes built in the past over 2 century were able to stimulate the trade of Chinese tea from China to Central Asia then extended to Europe.  Whether it’s by land or sea, what those trade routes were able to achieve not only significant economic growth through the exchange of merchants, they connected people across nations, overcome cultural hedges of languages and religions; most importantly,  tea seeds were embedded and integrated in different cultures, a new tea culture was created in the world today.ZhengHeShips.gif

Tea is more than just a cup of delicious healthy drink, it reflects how we can live with peace and harmony in a collective society.  When examining the tea history in the past >3000 years, the rising curve matched with the improvement of common wealth, the national strength and culture development in China history.  The Chinese historical learning curve enhances our hope for a better future in the time of change today.

The undergoing modern Silk Road train connections is based on the One Belt One Road project will not only stimulate the growth of trade between East and West.  The modern rail way engineering technologies and networks could broaden its impacts on economic, political and cultural exchange.  The Diamond Silk Road train connections from Shanghai to Antwerp will boost the economic growth through trade across continents from the North Sea to Pacific and will further enhance the understanding and connections of people, especially the future generations and cultures, to shortern the distance between Europe, Africa, Central Asia and China.  The Diamond Silk Road aims to stimulate the free trade development across continents, mostly hope it will bring the vase diversity to become a better collective continent for PEACE, HOPE, HARMONY and PROSPERITY.

Certainly we hope the train connections can more efffectively deepen the connection of cultures, not only for tea trade but can enrich the connection of people across cultural barriers, stimulate the humanitarian communication and respect through a cup of tea.

Image result for tea culture

When China President Xi Jinping first mentioned the concept of the One Belt One Road to build the “Silk Road economy together” during his visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013, at the first many thought it was just a political slogan and there were many doubts about its feasibility. With the serious investments, agreements and railways structures, more and more nations realized “One Belt One Road”  is not a slogan but a real deal, economically and politically. More and more nations want to join tge train of prosperity.  Even though the cloud of suspicious, questions, even worries are not yet completely removed today, but obstacles are removing aside gradually, because the benefits of mutual economic growth are hard to ignore.

As we can imagine there are still many challenges are slying ahead before this gigantic One Belt One Road project;  there are still plenty political, train network engineering, customs clearance, border control issues should be overcome through complex negotiations.  However, the hopeful sphere is enriching everyday and hopefully we can celebrate a bigger ceremony for the inauguration of Diamond Silk Road train connections between Antwerp and Shanghai soon.

#hope #peace #harmony #prosperity #handofpeace #antwerp #antwerpen #antwerpcentralstation #belgium #chineseteacentre #chineseteaculture #silkroad #onebeltoneroad #diamondsilkroad #culturaldiversity #allinone #oneforall #euasia #connectingpeople #universalvalues #humane

copyrighted of Mei Lan Hsiao, founder of Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association on 28/09/2018,  Linkeroever, Antwerp, Belgium

Moment of Mindfulness

Wealth can not be measured based on what you own, it is about how much can you share.

The more you use the word “I want”, the more fragile you become because the fear of losing.

Happiness is not on what you can calculate but in smiling and shinning eyes.

Mindfulness is not in books, speeches or exercises, it is in the moment when you align with your heart without you.

Never under estimated the power of using words.  Changing words, changing negotive thinking with more positive power, changing mind. Ease your mind, maintain calm and assertive, keep alert and embrace every moment, treat this moment as eternity and smile to wind.

Mei Lan Hsiao, 28/09/2018 Linkeroever

Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony

The original meaning of Wu-Wo 無我 meant to vent the self-ego, therefore, the appropriate translation of this look-as-if simple but actually is very deep and complex wisdom that respect highly in Buddhism and Daoism. One who tries to understand it would understand it looks simple but actually requires a lot of disciplines, learning and practices in life.

How to translate such complex wisdom in simple words is not an easy task. In case much translate it into other languages, personally will choose to use :

“Venting Self” in English
“Sans Moi” in French
“Zonder Mij” in Dutch

Of coruse, Wu-Wo 無我 is still my personal preference, because there are much richer and deeper wisdom from Chinese traditional Taoism, Buddhism and teachings from Confuscianism for us to learn how to make this world a better place.

Before either organizing or participating such tea gathering event, participants should understand the necessarity of attending series of workshops before can possibly enjoy a peaceful zen moment in an opened environment.

Please consult Mei Lan Hsiao for more practical information and advise

 

Unlock self before trying to unlock others

Many years ago when attended a Knowledge Management Conference in Vienna, I had a conversation with a Belgian HR executive who was not happy with the conference because to him, he did not get more precised suggestions on how to manage knowledge.  I suggested him to get people involve in the organization change process and learn to ask questions, because often people don’t realize the value of knowledge and experience they have unless he’s willing to listen and to discover. He looked at me and said “You live in Belgium for many years, you should know Belgian top managers don’t ask questions but give instructions”.   His unwillingness made me speechless.

More than a decade later, again I come across with the subject of how to reinnovate the organization through unlocking potential talents.  The initial thought that I have is another question: Truely want to unlock what are potentially“out there, somewhere”in the organization or in a relationship?

The first thing is to unlock your own mind, free yourself from perceptive“layers of frame”and learn to listen without preconceive conclusions.

Before trying to unlock others, try to unlock yourself

Before trying to change others, try to understand and change yourself.

Before questioning others, learn to question self first.

So questions will be:

  • How much do you really know about yourself, 
  • Have you really try to listen and understand
  • How flexible you are willing to be.

Problems probably are coming from outside, but the key of change should right in your heart.

Can or will you able to discover and hold it in time? This not the question of TO BE OR NOT TO BE, but simply a question to find the key.

Inspiration of Ch’an (Zen)

What is Ch’an (禪, also known as Zen in English)?

To make it easy, can try to understand the meaning behind that Chinese character
單 Single, so what does “Single” means in life?
衣 Cloth, so what does “Cloth” means in the learning of Chan?

The learning of Chan (Zen) goes beyond reading books, articles, listening to speeches from different Guru, it is about how well can you manage the learning about yourself and being yourself. Most importantly, how to live.

What is Love?

What is love?
Love is about devotion
Love is about commitment
Love is about giving your heart without calculating what to gain in return.
Love is about compassion
Love is about understanding
Love ia about tolerating
Love ia about accepting
Love is all about honesty from heart

Love brings endless positive thinking and energy, on the other hand can be very fragile to break. A mirror probably can be mended, nevertheless the existing cracks can not be denied. Repair need both parties who both are willing to be honest to each others, willing to give more than double efforts and patience. Again, it starts from honesty and communication

Indeed love means blind, is about feeling but again it does not mean forgetting rationality. Whenever facing temptations, simply remember one simple fact ~Money can buy sex but not love.

Appreciate what you have in time,don’t wait till it is too late to regret.

It’s more important to prepare mind than tea setting

For each tea ceremony, despite people might give it different names such as tea ceremony, cha xi (tea setting) or Cha ke (tea workshop), of course what to prepare and how to arrange the setting are important:

Before the event

  1. Environment setting, including hardware and software in environment and ambiance setting
  2. Choosing tea, choosing suitable tea types and quality, etc.
  3. Choosing suitable matching tea ware
  4. Tea setting
  5. Familar and practice each step in tea ceremony process carefully

Indeed making a cup of tea seems easy but there are plenty details involve, however the most critical preparation would be the “Mind Preparataion“, because it requires the basic disciplines in

  • The mind is calm and peaceful assertive in tranqulity
  • Maintain a clarity and respectful mind
  • It’s about professionalism
  • It’s about energy in body and mind
  • Avoid too much taboo and impetuous, avoid showing off and avoid being too excessive

No matter what, remember the focus of the event is about Tea but not You

The tea setting requires a lot of inspiration and creativity, so set your mind free and enjoy each nature element.  The environment setting and tea setting are easy, nevertheless how to prepare mind probably is harder than you think but on the other hand can be very easy once you are able to put the priority and focus correct.

The cultivation of heart and mind requires sincere learning attitude and commitment to learning in life.

The success of tea, is in people

The failure of tea, is also in people

Everything begins with Genuinity and Honesty

The flavor and taste in tea are driven by Authentic and Clarity 

Serve tea in heart and mind with Calm and Tranqulity 

Disciplinary based on Respect, Respect and again Respect

Honesty & Trust

Indeed we should worry about pesticide, but we should concern more damages today from

  • AIR /WATER POLLUTION
  • HUMAN POLLUTION
  • GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGES

I first posted the link of article site from David Avocado Wolfe, due to some inputs on the other international tea community, apparently there are lots of questions and distrust towards the article writer.  I don’t know the writer and have no intention to endorse his accusation on certain brands of tea bags for granted, however I think the pesticides problem he mentioned on his blog goes beyond then pesticides problem, but remind us how we are under challenge to our understanding and trust about HONESTY.

I truly believe truth can be best prevailed through debates and from different viewpoints.

What we can do is to question ourselves:
1. do you know what to choose?
2. do you know how to choose?
3. do you know how to distinguish TRUTH vs. FALSE?

If one could not even be honest to a simple thing like tes, do you think s/he would be honesty to others?

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