Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Authentic & Pure Quality Tea

Author: Mei Lan Hsiao (Page 2 of 20)

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!

Cleaning ceramic teapot after use

Thanks to the question from a tea friend on Face Book, Ferdinand ludo, who asked what do we do to clean the Yixing or other clay tea pot after each use.

Besides useful advice from other tea lovers, i.e. dedicate one teapot to one type of tea, rinse the tea pot with hot water inside and outside. I advised further as follow:

  • With new naked ceramic tea ware, suggest to cook the teapot thoroughly till the strange dusty flavors are gone, then cook the teapot further with the tea that plan to use it in the future and cook it through again.
  • After each use, clean the teapot with hot water and then let it either air dry or dry it with a soft towel
  • The more you use the Yixing or naked ceramic tea pot, the longer we use the teapot, the darker color it will become.
  • If you dedicate teapot for one type of tea, the teapot will eventually has some fine flavors from that tea, but it ‘s not intentionally to scent your teapot
  • I would never use naked teapot either Yixing, Caozhou or other, with aromatic tea, certainly I would avoid use such teapot with teas with essential oil, such as many milky oolong sold in the market. (Actually, in our centre there are only pure and authentic quality tea, but no aromatic teas)
  • The flavor from pure authentic quality tea or tea ware won’t give you any flavors problem. Even when it starts to develop flavors due to long time usage, the natural flavour are still very mild and not upsetting.
  • Darker color is not same concept as stains on teapot. If you clean the tea pot with hot water after each use, then you won’t have stain problem.
  • The naked ceramic gives a warm woody feeling to connect with earth, so normally I dedicate either naked ceramic or wood-fired tea wares with traditional Oolong. With light fermented oolong, I prefer porcelain, because porcelain will give more complete reflections on flavours and tastes. Subject to the fermentation and roasting level, then I play with the fun of using Yixing, Caozhou or wood-fired ceramic teapot.
  • Some chemical blended teapot (also naked ceramic) could give very strong and unpleasant flavor. If I couldn’t get rid of those unpleasant chemical flavors after thorough preparation works in advance and afterwards, then I will seriously consider to use it or not. Notmally, not!
  • Basically porcelain teaware fits with all tea types, the clay and glaze allow teapot give full reflections on flavours and tastes; however, Yixing, other naked ceramic and wood-fired tea ware will soften the sharpness in flavours and tastes, the fun with tea will then enter another domain with the matching tea with tea ware.
  • One last thing about Yixing, Caozhou, naked ceramic or wood-fire ceramic tea ware is to avoid cleansing with detergent, certainly not in the washing machine.

#nakedceramic #yixingteapot #yixing #woodfiredteaware #woodfired #teaware #teapot #matchingteawithteaware #lifetimelearning

Tea for Fat Burning

Once I met an over-sized Belgian couple who asked me which tea could help them to lose weight, I tried to explain it is not just about which tea could them to lose weight, but they have to check and consider to change their life style. Belgium is known for find food and drinks, there are more and more people are searching for quick and easy solution for weight losing or fat burning which they hope to find it from tea.

As matter of fact, the speed for fat burning goes fast when we are able to improve the metabolism in the body . So which tea you think can meet your needs most effectively? Green tea or black tea? According to the research, the following tea types are able to regulate the hunger hormones and calorie burning index effectively according to research in China in 2017:

No. 5 : Green Tea – aid to stimulate the metabolism in body

No. 4: Oolong tea – aid to melt fat

No. 3 : Mint tea – aid to destroy the hunger feeling

No. 2 : White tea – aid to intercept fat

No. 1 : Pu’erh – aid to scavenge fat

Because no tea can effectively help for weight losing or fat burning if one couldn’t give up the excessive consumption of delicious foods and drinks, i.e. sweeties, cookies, fries, bier, carbonate drinks, junk food, cheese ….etc. and do no sport.

Many people are seeking for quick and easy solution for weight losing or fat burning.

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


I connect

What is I?
Who am I?
I do not exist, I simply connect.
I expand when I am willing to share
Egoism boosts up the desire of the selfish “I”.
The selfish “I” builts wall to block me from the rest.
I can not go out when I do not let others to come in.
When I see me in you, I love you as loving self from within, 
then, the world peace is not so far.
Dao means way, when can be named already is an extraordinary way.
Is it a question? Is it not a question? Which question?
Your way, my way, which way?
Good tea, bad tea, which tea?
Mei Lan Hsiao
12/2/2019

甚麼是我? 我是誰?

盲目自大擴大我的私慾

過大的自我如高牆將我隔絕於世

當我不讓他人進入, 我也走不出去

當我目中有你, 由心視你如視己, 那麼我愛你也將如愛己

那麼, 世界大同有何難?

Learning in tea

Learning tea is easy, starts from liking tea, willing to summit to learning and take time with yourself. Learning life can be easy too, starts from facing own subconsciousness with honesty.

When able to transforn the balanced and peaceful scent in heart to tea, can then refine the fine flavors and taste in tea; the aromatic additives will then not needed in life.

The genuine intension in heart and mind transform scents to tea;
The authencity in quality and scents reflect the straightness of the person;
tea is like life, living as tea.

Convince self before trying to convince others.

The beauty of tea is that we can easily integrate those principal learnings in actions through a cup of tea.

           心真意真茶自真
质正香正人自正
茶若人生,人生若茶
.       Mei Lan Hsiao
#wisdomintea #meilanhsiao #chineseteamaster #learningintea
Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre
Tea Sommelier Centre
Tea Culture Rendez-vous
Cha Dao – The Way of Tea.
Antwerp  Business Community Group

©Mei Lan Hsiao

Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre / Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association, 9/2/2019 Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

 

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