Only Pure & Authentic Quality Tea

Author: Mei Lan Hsiao Page 1 of 27

Even though her family has nothing to do with tea, but she learnt the importance of consuming tea correctly in daily healthy diet based on the Chinese traditional medicine principles in Yin-Yang and 5 elements from her family when she was very young.
She entered the tea learning in Taiwan since 1985, left her root because of marriage in 1991 helped her to expand her learning from original inward-out views to 360 degree. She started to promote the authentic knowledge about tea and wisdom in Chinese tea culture in Belgium since 1995.
Tea has always been and will continue be her best teacher. In front of Nature and Tea, she remains as an innocent child, a life-time learning student.

What Does Artisan Tea mean?

UN has declared 2022 as “International Year for Artisanal Fisheries and Argiculture”. This declaration would be a great news for many Chinsee tea farmers who devote their life and energy in preserving the artisanal quality tea in tea based on the accumulated wisdom, methods and traditions that we inheritant from our ancestors in the past thousadnds of year in China history.

Anyone who appreciate tea knows tea is a natural agricultural product but not industrial product, accumulated wisdom and traditional know how are hardly be replaced or duplicated by modern machinery processes. Appropriately manage the biochemical and micro environmental factors are critical foundation for the sustainability of tea farming.

Artisan tea basically means tea involves with skillful works and manual (or semi-manual) processed, and that is the critical quality standards for many Chinese special famous teas from China today. The tea quality classification standards in China are still stick to the ancient traditions which heavily involves with manual efforts in tea picking to production.

China has been through many changes in history but the living wisdom and cultural traditions have been accumulated without breaking up. Artisan teas are still considered as the best quality teas in China today and here are some basic principles of Chinese special famous teas:

  1. Started from ecological balanced conditions in the tea growing region (in practice, it means use only natural composed fertilizer, maintain the healthy soil conditions by not over doing the fertilization, forestry coverage in the tea growing regions is in the priority for the sustainability development program in China.
  2. Manually grass removal by respecting it to complete its life circle is important to protect tea trees, in the Autumn grass grow in the tea farm will play a protector role to against the cold winter and to prevent drought under the threat of global climate change. 
  3. In the framework of sustainability development, the collaboration relationship with the local community to arrange the tea picking, it helps to improve family income and living conditions of the local community;
  4. tea production manually by respecting the traditional methods and wisdom are playing critical role to ensure the quality 
  5. Geographic indications are critical.  Today there are many countries grow and produce tea, tea trees can be migrated, production processes can be learned and copied, but not the ecological and micro-environmental conditions, i.e. air, water, latitude/altitude, sunlight, temperature differences in day vs. night, shadowing, moisture in the air….etc.
  6. Artisan teas definitely should be pure in its flavors and tastes, freed from any additional flavor or other addictives.  Artisan tea is as if a natural beauty, her beauties are from within without additional ‘make up’ or ‘make over’.

In Chinese tea culture, tea is more than craftmanship of tea, it prevails how Chinese traditional moral standards based on “earthy”, ‘honesty’ and ‘respect’ are actually lived through actions despite all those political and cultural changes that happened in China in the last nearly 5000 years. Tea is more than enjoying fine and pure flavors in tea, it is about how we can enjoy a moment with tea when to implement the fundamental respects, to the Nature, to others and mostly not to forget the respect to self, without preconceived judgement and differentiation mind. When we enjoy the pure and authentic quality tea, our mind and emotion are also enlightened by its devine spirit in tranquility. Mindfulness is more than a attractive buzzword or fancy demonstration but how we truly enjoy living through a cup of tea.

A coin has two sides

What is freedom?

What does freedom mean?

What and how to practice freedom ?

The world peace needs you, me and they.

If freedom only meant “I can do what I want”, then it is not freedom but lawless mind that leads to chaos.

Freedom, indeed, means to recognize and able to claim own rights, but meanwhile it also means to embrace and to recognize own obligations to follow the basic laws and order that can create calm and peaceful society; it also means one is able to take action to show how s/he willing to respects the rights of other parties.

If you quickly jumped to the decision that the other parties who do not follow your decision means they against you, then probably you are far from knowing what freedom means or even against the practice of freedom.

When follow what are covered in the media that you can easily access to, the hardest process and decision will be are you willing and able to see the truth from your heart.

The practice of freedom means to build peace but not conflicts or wars. No matter what, freedom is not excuse to deny the rights of other party/ies, certainly is not the excuse to practice racism, discrimination or bullism.

Chinese Tea Arts

What is Chinese Tea Arts? In short we can consider “Tea Arts” as different forms of “Tea Ceremony”.

The essence in learning Chinese tea arts is more than deepening the learning of different types of tea, it is more than how to arrange the tea setting nicely in elegant way, you learn much deeper and more when enjoying the unique fine and nature authentic flavors and taste in tea, moreover you learn how to engage the inner peace with a cup of tea.

Modernized tea ceremony is simple and pleasant

Tea and tea culture began from China more than 4000 years ago,  tea ceremony has gone through different cultural evolutions in China history, we can briefly define the Chinese tea arts in following styles

  1. Eating tea – some ethnic groups in China are still keeping this ancient tea traditions today
  2. Boiling tea – the fashionable tea ceremony in Tang Dynasty
  3. Whisking  tea – the fashionable tea ceremony in Song Dynasty which Japanese monks brought back to Japan, further refine and practice in Japanese Cha Dao today
  4. Brewing in small tea pot – Began popular since Ming Dynasty (porcelain small teapot and Yixing teapot)
  5. Brewing with Gaiwan – one simple tea ware allow us to brew all tea types
  6. Brewing tea in Gongfu tea style (ChaoZhou style and Taiwan style)
  7. Traditional brewing tea in a glass – highly recommended for premium quality green or yellow tea
  8. Simplified daily easy tea ceremony – it is about how one can take time to enjoy a quality tea time

Chinese culture emphasizes the humane values through self disciplines, appropriate social behaviors with good and respectful manners that embed the collectural beauty in the society.

Mei Lan Hsiao
One planet for all, appreciate what we have and to share while we can!

It’s hard to separate the development of tea arts with various developments in art, literal, phyilosophies, living wisdom and social behavior teachings… all of these have enriched the cultural development in China history.  It’s hard to say whether it was tea influenced art developments or art developments stimulated the variety development in different types of tea and tea arts in Chinese culture. No matter what the relationship of tea with the mother Nature, shaping the human values, stimulates the sustainable culture development, living wisdom from calming individual to shape the peace in the society is like a circle that has neither beginning nore end. The question is from which point you like to pick up the life time learning with a cup of tea.

How well to manage the choice of tea type and tea quality are critical for specific tea ceremony.  Through the learning of tea arts, it refreshes the learning of tea; the practice of Chinese tea arts (Chinese tea ceremony) facilitates the practice of Chinese Cha Dao that eventually leads to the practice of mindfulness in body and mind while enjoying fine flavours and taste in a cup of tea.

TanYang Gongfu Black Tea

TanYang Gonfu Cha is a premier quality black tea from Fu’An region in Fujian.

FuJian province is an import tea production region where there are plenty famouse teas, such as white tea, oolong, jasmine and black tea, in China, the most important ethnic group in FuJian is She ethnic group together with another 50 ethnic groups. Fu’An region is not just famous for TanYang Gongfu Black tea, but also known for its white tea. The geographical position is between Longitude: 119.546163 Latitude: 27.222276, the altitude is not very high, around 203meters above sea level but the climate and humidity are very suitable for tea tree growing.

The following basic manufacturing requirements are critical for any tea to be classified as “Gongfu Cha”:

  1. Suitable eco-balance in environment for tea tree growing
  2. Not excessive picking per year, to ensure tea trees could have sufficient rest for the next year harvest
  3. Hand tea picking to ensure the quality of raw tea leaves
  4. Quality classification subject to the picking of tea leaves, i.e. 1 bud with 1-2 leaves
  5. Good and appropriately managed withering is the prerequisite for the formation of good quality for all Gongfu Cha and Oolong tea.
  6. Even though now they can use some machines to aid the tea production, but still traditional tea manufacturing methods are well respected
  7. Repeated drying and charcoal roasting are important for the final formation of premier quality Gongfu Cha

TanYang JinZhen was in twitted shape by using tea leaves of 1 bud with 1-2 leaves, which are picked only in the Spring season. The most suitable tea leaves are from local Fu’An vegetable tea trees, FuDing DaHao or Fu’An DaBai. Production methods are rather complex by following the traditional manufacturing techniques and standards .

There are different legends about TanYang Gonfu Black tea (TanYang JinZhen 坦洋金针) ; one is said TanYang Gongfu Cha was created by Hu FuShi from TanYang village during 1851-1874.

According to literature, Fuan Xian exported 70,000 boxes tea in 1881 which meant TanYang JinZhen was popular in Europe at that time already. Due to the anti-Japanese Invade War, export channels faced severly setback, productions were severily damaged that caused sharply drop of production output. After the New China was established, due to the change of tea demand layout, the tea production in TanYang changed from “Red“ to “Green”, not much traditional TanYang Gongfu Cha left for TanYan JinZhen until 1988. TanYang JinZhen has gone through gradual evalutions. In the last two decades since 1991, TanYang JinZhen has been through with consistent modified and improved manufacruring methods to create better quality Gongfu black tea. No matter what and how they modern the production process, they persistently follow the traditional manufacturing methods with TanYang Gongfu black tea, i.e. spreading, withering, kneading, oxidated fermentation, further refined rolling, roasting and sieving.

Fujian government established a clear GIS guidline for TanYang JinZhen:

  1. Tea leaves from tea trees grow in the Fu’An region, widely distributed and mainly produced in Fu’An region, therefore TanYang JinZhen has very firmed GIS (Geographic Indication System) quality identity
  2. The dried leaves are in twitted shape
  3. Persistently to follow the basic black tea manufacturing method (withering, rolling, fermentation, drying) and further enhanced with refined shaping, sortings, eliminating inferior different quality and roasting processes.
  4. Prhibit to use any aromatic substance and additives in the production.
  5. Strengthen the quality control to ensure no peculiar smell and no deterioration
  6. Pure and authentic quality in flavors and tastes are their fundamental belief for sustainability development for a better future.

How to distingulish the quality?

  • The color of dried leaves is in urun oily;
  • The color of tea liqour is in shining golden amber red color
  • It has pretty attractive fresh and elegant fraquence
  • mellow and yet complex dried sweetness tastes in mouth

Brwing suggestions:

  • All Gongfu Cha actually requires very heated water temperature from the boiling water
  • Suggest to use neutral pH balance mineral water, but neither too soft nor hard water.
  • Matching teaware : YiXing purple clay tea pot or white porcelain tea pot
  • Use of tea leaves: 1gm: 50-80ml (subject to personal taste preference)
  • Water temperature: 85-90°C
  • Suggest to keep the brewing time short and sexy, because longer brewing time allow more dissolvants from tea tannins and catechins in tea that will increase the bitter taste in tea. But also try to avoid ‘too sexy’ short brewing that does not allow sufficient dissolving of amino acid that weaken the sweetness in tea.

Tea has very charming and complex multiple layers in fraquence and in taste. Multiple infusions definitely are possible, about 6-8 brewings.

Perhaps the price for premier quality teas is not so cheap because of its hand picking and manual manufacture processing; when you are willing give yourself a chance to experience the fine flavors and tastes that you can enjoy from the multiple infusions, surely you will appreciate the quality and understand the cost per cup actually is very economical. It is indeed tghe better quality tea can meet with your demands for economic and ecological life style while providing you a better quality appreciation.

GongFu Cha? Gongfu Cha!

When tea and tea culture are booming worldwide, more and more people like to talk about Gongfu Cha. But what is the difference in Gongfu Cha (工夫茶)vs. Gongfu Cha (功夫茶)?These two share the same Chinese PinYin, but not all teas can be classified as GongfuCha.

A lot of people are confused by Gonfu Cha in 工夫茶 or 功夫茶. Hopefullly the following brief outlines are useful for you to distinguish few fundamental differences based on Chinese definitions:

Gongfu Cha 工夫茶

Gongfu Cha 工夫茶 started from Chaozhou,Santou and Southern part of Fujian in the Soong Dynasty, it was named as 工夫茶 because of its unique manufacturing methods. In the Wuyi Tea Song writen by Zen Master Shi ChaoQuan in the late Ming Dynasty: 如梅斯馥兰斯馨,大抵焙时候香气,鼎中笼上炉火温,心闲手敏工夫细, the poet clearly mentioned fine quality tea that has gone through complex manufacturing processes and time consuming. It is named as Gongfu Cha because the selection of tea leaves, withering, baking, rolling, fermentation and roasting, storaging and brewing require very particular attention.

In short, Gongfu Cha 工夫茶 is attractive because of its unique complex fraquence, the refinement in the delicated roasting process and most importantly the refinement in the workmanship in the manufacturing and the brewing process.

In the “Qing Dai Tong Shi” edited in 1915 by Xiao YiShan, it mentioned famous teas exported to the West were “Gongfu tea, Wuyi tea, Souchong tea & Pekoe tea”, from it we understand the Gongfu tea were meant for various fine quality black tea, i.e. MinHong Gongfu (i.e. ZhengHe Gongfu, TanYang Gongfu & BaiLing Gongfu from Fujian), Keemun Black tea and Dian Hong; Gongfu Cha is no longer to name Wuyi Rock tea.

Gongfu Cha 功夫茶

The most direct interpretation of Gongfu (Kungfu 功夫)is “martial art, skill; “Gongfu Cha 功夫茶” refers to tea making, tea brewing techniques and the way of tasting and drinking. The unique brewing from Chaozhou played a crutial role to lead the development of Gongfu Cha 功夫茶 mainly to brew traditional Oolong tea。Places known for Gongfu Cha 功夫茶 are Chaozhou, Xiamen/SanTou & Taiwan, among those regions, Gongfu Cha in Chaozhou plays the most influential role.

There are many different disciplines in Gongfu Cha 功夫茶,but few characters are in common:

  1. Brewing with with boiled water
  2. Small tea pot with small tea cups
  3. More multiple brewings are permitted
  4. Complex brewing procedures allow tea lovers to appreciate its complex layers in fraquences and tastes from each brewing

21/5 International Tea Day

21/5 is International Tea Day by the United Nation in 2019 (https://www.un.org/en/observances/tea-day). 

The essence of that day goes beyond promoting tea but emphasizing the promotion of social culture, health and respects in humanity through tea serving. Since the migration of tea started with via the first trade route from China with the West via the Grand Silk Road in 2 century before Christ, tea has been integrated in different cultures and today there are many interesting tea cultures in the world. 

In China we name 21/5 as “International Tea Serving Day”, because we strongly believe with the tea serving culture we can improve the social contacts / relationships and harmony in the social integration process for world peace.

Even though right now the Corona infection number in Belgium is still high, but people are getting tired and we all hope to get the life back as soon as possible.  In the time when people are still coping with stress from the pandemic, the fear for international conflicts is mounting, we really need to promote more hopes, dreams and positive energy by stimulating the social economy and prosperity growth in the future.

Our concern is what and how to help many KMO or shops in Antwerp to get their feet on the ground by getting customers back, as elsewhere in the world.

However, for this project in Antwerp, in Flanders or in Belgium, we need to overcome some basic obstacles:

Right now the rules and the ‘normal logical thinking’ about free-of-charge serving tea can be considered as “abnormal”:

  • First of all, it is not a business promotion event, but a culture & social culture promotion event. But with the free tea serving, it does can help to stimulate the customer relationships that hopefully can stimulate the business growth indirectly.
  • It is not about tea or Chinese tea culture; we actual encourage the promote of various tea culture from the world; it is about the humanity and respects in the world culture as one.
  • Whoever are willing to participate this social culture event, must understand and agree that day is to serve tea for free.  The whole idea is promoting relationship with customers and citizenships.
  • The challenge that we are facing are food safety regulations and taxation which could put off the willingness to participate this culture & social promotion event.
  • 21/5/2021 is Friday, considering there will be more people come to Antwerp for shopping on Saturday, therefore we propose to make this Free Tea Serving event as 2-day culture social promotion event in Antwerp.

Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association is a non-governmental and not-for-profit culture association.

  • Our mission is to promote peace, harmony, respect to the ECO nature and humanity in society through tea and tea serving.
  • First of all, we would like to clarify that we do not expect subsidy from the government or participants. We do need the permission from the government and understanding from the authority. 
  • On the contrary we are willing to support non-tea shops who are interested to participate this culture promotion event with 100gm of tea to not-tea shops in Antwerp of their choice, free-of-charge, so they can organize the free tea serving stand in their own way.  

Why I want to organize and promote this event in Antwerp?  Answers are very simple

  • The world needs peace but not conflicts; Antwerp is a unique centre in Europe for its cultural diversity where we need to promote more positive energy and more collateral harmony in our society to overcome stress from the pandemic and to build a better future for our younger generations.
  • ik ben een Antwerpenaar en Antwerpen is mijn 2de “thuisland” . Promoting health in body & mind, positive energy and harmony in our society is something I can do and I love to do.

I do hope to have your participation and support on this meaningful project.  If you have any question, please feel free to contact me:

Mei Lan Hsiao

Chinese Tea Master

Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association

Tel: +32 494 50 68 99

Email: info@chinesetea.be

#internationalteaday #antwerp #antwerpen #internationalteaservingday #socialcultureevent

20/4 World Language Day

The world needs us, and we need the world.


20/4/2021

LET’S MAKE IT A
“WORLD LANGUAGE DAY”


Even though we are far apart;

Even though there are lots of differences between us;

Even though we don’t know each other;

But let’s united and sharing fine spirit together.

Let’s not just singing for the Spring;
Let’s not just praying for health and peace;
Let’s not just hoping to return the normal live;
But let’s actually can act together collectively.

For better days,
For better years for everyone.
To make this world a better place for all children regardless age, gender, color, language, religion.

Let’s take collateral actions to make that day, the day for:

PEACE

LOVE

HOPE

4/4 Online Tea Memorial Ceremony

4th April is a very import traditional festival day, Qing Ming (清明) in Chinese culture, it’s the Tomb Sweeping Day. It’s the day when we show our appreciation to those efforts from our ancestors and the accumulation of wisdom we can inherit today; meanwhile for us to examine our efforts today so we can build a sustainable correct path for the future generations to continue with a brighter future. Qing Ming is also a very period to introduce the beginning for the fine quality of spring teas.

This Sunday, 4/4/2021,  various tea regions in China will organize tea memorial ceremony to pay tribute to the Cha Zhu, including Tea Holiness, Lu Yu. Tea & tea culture began from China thousands of year ago, Lu Yu was a great tea master in Chinese history, but tea is a world drink today and tea has integrated in various cultures in the world beautifully; showing our respects to the historical wisdom, knowledge, sustainable humane values and eco-balance in environment is a collective responsibility of all tea lovers in the world today.

It is our pleasure to invite Hubei tea expert, Mr. Lin Mou who organizes the tea memorial ceremony at the Lu Yu Temple in TianMen, Hubei to join the 1st international online Tea Memorial Ceremony via Zoom meeting.

In the situation when we are not surrounding by ancient tea trees or wild forests, without Lu Yu status so our online memorial tea ceremony will not be the same as they organized in China, instead it will a online tea meditation event when we give ourselves a chance to reach the inner peace through tea and to enjoy a peaceful tea time to appreciate the serenity in mind.

This is a free of charge online memorial tea ceremony event for all tea lovers in the world. 

Here is the link of Zoom meeting room:

Host Mei Lan Hsiao

Chinese Tea Master, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association

Co-Host Lin Mou

Lu Yu Culture Ambassador, Radio host of Hubei TV & Radio

Broadcast, Writer

Date: 4/4/2021 Sunday

Time:     14:00 – 14:45 (Brussels, Belgium)

               13:00 – 13:45 (London,England)

               20:00 – 20:45 (Beijing, China)

               08:00 – 08:45 (Toronto, Canada)

               05:00 – 05:45 (Angeles, USA)

               08:00 – 08:45 (New York, USA)

Zoom meeting link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85686007663…

Zoom meeting number: 856 8600 7663

Entry password: 442021

We do apologize for the last minute invitation, this is the first time we organize such event online, but you can be rest assured it will only be a beautiful begin.

登出跳至主要內容

比利時中華茶文化協会

比利時中華茶文化協会

info@chinesetea.be +32 494 50 68 99發佈於 作者: MEI LAN HSIAO

Taiji Qigong in the pandemic

In the pandemic period, Russian doctor taught patients Taiji Qigong in hospital  .

It is not about forms or correctness of Taiji Quan  they practice , it is about how they are willing to relax body and mind, to stimulate energy flow alone meridian, most importantly, willingness in promoting and sharing positive thinking and energy.

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJKcw2yQ/

Healthy diet begins not just with pure and natural ingredients from the off season selections,  it requires a combination of balanced diet + healthy energy under the positive thinking which are easy and free upon your attitude and daily actions.

Here are few critical leanings from pandemic, which are:

(ATTITUDE)

1. Yes, I can

2. Yes, I will

3. Yes, I shall

4. We, Together (One for all, all for one)

(Implementation of ACTIONS)

1. Remain calm without discontent

2. Reach out JUST because we can share

3. Unite knowledge in ACTIONS

4. Implement discipline, demonstrate what self can do first

5. Appreciate & respect others from heart

6. Sharing will receiving more blessing, not from others, but self

7. Liberate freedom by breaking down mental walls

8.Humanity begins with actural respect on equality with an opened mind

9. Reduce expectation on others or beyond what can not be imagined, but ask self what else I can do better

Life is fragile, including family. Live with hopes for future but not on dreams beyond reality, now.

Show appreciation and compassion for love in time, don’t hesitate or wait or hope other would understand, because time is not something we can control on agenda, often it might not be on ourside if we ignored the “Present”.

© Mei Lan Hsiao, Antwerp, Belgium, 25/01/2021

Tea & Health Cultivation in the time of COVID pandemic

Tea and tea culture began from China more than 4000 or more years from now, medicinal and health benefits from tea in various ancient herbal scripts have all been confirmed by modern scientific research in various countries in recent years.  Since the COVID-19 outbreak first happened in Wuhan last year, scientists from different science research disciplines launched different research programs on how to combat against COVID virus through natural and alternative remedies based on ancient TCM wisdom, in which also included deepened research specifically on if EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) in Camellia sinensis could disactivate the COVID virus, and the research results from tea by Hangzhou University and Yunnan Agricultural University are very encouraging.

But wait, there are few things you have to be aware before jumping into the conclusion that drinking tea can disactivate COVID:

  • EGCG, namely epigallocatechin gallate, molecular formula C22H18O11, is the main component of tea polyphenols, is a catechin monomer isolated from tea。 Indeed the compound of EGCG in light fermented tea, i.e. green and white tea, is richer than other tea types
  • EGCG requires lengthy time in very high melting temperature, 222-224°C.  Indeed more EGCG can be dissolved in such conditions, but on the other hands, the taste will be very strong and bitter with higher dissolvent from Caffeine (Tea Tannin) that can be irritating to stomach and digestion system
  • No one can drink tea at that kind of high temperature but leave it to cool down, but during the cooling process, the oxidation process with the air will reduce the compound of EGCG in tea
  • The above information meant how to abstract EGCG from tea through brewing, but this is not the method they use in the research laboratory.  In the lab, scientists break tea leaves and inject the abstracted EGCG to the testing white mouse, but not injecting tea water or feeding tea to mopuse.
  • How can any one expect to have the same result from different approaches? That’s a logical question.

Tea is more than just a cup of delicious beverage, it reflects a way of living and health.  The unexpected change from the COVID pandemic accelerates more health problems besides COVID itself, because of anxiety and emotional stress. 

The more unexpected stress we are facing, the more we need to maintain rational thinking and actions to preserve our health and safety.

Chinese tea ceremony is more than a tea ritual, in the process of enjoy fine and pure flavors and taste from pure quality tea, it facilitates the practice of alignment in body, mind and energy through relaxing, practice of good social behaviors with positive energy by increasing self-awareness.

Health is not something you should it lightly by taking risk.  Indeed tea provides many health benefits, but only under the circumstances if you know the basic of What, Which, Who, When and How and follow the basic principle for health by eating less and drinking mild.

©Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association, 14/01/2021

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