Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre

Authentic & Pure Quality Tea

Category: About Us (Page 1 of 2)

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


YES, I CAN

You fight, you fight, you fight。

You try, you fail, you succeed, you learn, you keep on trying and fighting.

At end you would realize what support your trying and fighting are not because of  IQ, cleverness, knowledge, position  or power; but it is because you refuse to give in and give up. You realize key things to learn are how to thicken the layers of wisdom and apply EQ gently in problem solving.

Keys for success can be shorten in 3 assembles:

  1. Purity in heart as LOTUS, the dirty mud won’t corrupt your roots
  2. Recognize strength with ease and advance patiently as BAMBOO
  3. Endure longlyness .maintain confident and wait for the sunrising moment then soaring as A GOLDEN CICADA.

Yielding is not because you are weak or less, adversly, it is becsuse “YES, I CAN”

 

 

 

Earning points with Joyn card

Being alone, we are small that can’t even make a sound, but together we can make waves.
Mei Lan Hsiao
Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre decided to take step further to support the district small business (#KMO) collective development.
 
Once we receive our welcome package next week, customer who either already has or would like to have a Joyn card will be able to earn points when ejoying a personal tea time or purchasing pure authentic quality tea in our tea centre.
 
Customers who do not have the Joyn card, can ask for a free card from us; with that card you can also earn points from other Joyn points in Antwerp and else where in Belgium.
For more information, please contact

Collaborate Harmony

Wild tea trees grow quietly in forests, covered by very thick layers of moss, flowers, grass and plants, they live together with plenty insects, birds, small and large sized animals.

The naturally restraint order in the natural environment does exist, but that does not stop the peace and harmony coexist, actually the vase diversity complete the beauty of wonder in the Nature.

We all think we love tea and love the Nature, but in the reality how often we can really come across with differences and are willing and able to collaborate with each others?  If tea trees could coexist in the Nature with plenty of plants, insects and animals then why we couldn’t?

It is said the worst enemies are not others but own egoism and fragile pride. The best teacher is the clarity in consciousness and in heart. Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association is proudly commissioned by CTPFA as Belgium Exchange Centre for Chinese tea and tea culture.

Our mission is to promote authentic knowledge and wisdom in Chinese tea culture and we are interesting to collaborate with individuals and associations who share the same passion for tea.

For more information, please contact Mei Lan Hsiao directly.

Cha Ren 茶人

What is Cha Ren? What is a Cha Ren for? 
Acquiring the basic knowledge about tea and familiar with different brewing methods are merely the fundamental requirements to become a tea sommelier.  But does a tea sommelier means a Cha Ren 茶人? That’s a question.
It is a great honor to be recognized as the best example of 茶人 (Cha Ren = Tea Person) by the most prestige tea federation in China, Chinese Tea People Friendship Association CTPFA 中華茶人联谊会, The list of the annual recognition covers Cha Ren, teachers, promoters, tea enterprises and associations, and Mei Lan is honored as the first one to receive such recognition based on years of efforts in promoting Chinese tea culture and Chinese tea in Europe.

Such recognition also means responsibilities.  After receiving such recognition, I keep asking myself the following question:  What does Cha Ren means? Tea Amateurs, Tea Lovers, Tea Sommelier, or Tea Master?

To me, a true ChaRen(tea person)should be someone who can perform tea nice ceremony, nice tea setting or artistic performances that appear to eyes, can bring you more than fine flavours and tastes. It is about whether s/he can from heart
  • respect the Nature
  • take actions to speak and support the eco-environmental balance
  • respect the wisdom behind old traditions
  • enjoy lifetime learning without judgmental mind or competition thinking and attitude
  • willing and able to keep head down, able to integrate heart in tea by concentrating and remaining the appreciation of Pure flavours and tastes
  • is determined and devoted to stay on the right path
  • speak not only morals but live standard or Morals 【Truthfulness, Tranquility, Calm, Respectul Harmony】

With this recognition is the time to redefine the mission and action plans for Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association.  Don’t you also agree that the world of tea should be big enough for collaboration but not dividing due to individual goals and/or desires?

It is said the worst enemies are not others but own egoism and fragile pride. The best teacher is the clarity in consciousness and in heart. Before giving answer whether we are qualified Cha Ren eagerly, perhaps should give self a self reflection moment by having a cup of tea.

Biography of Tea Master – Mei Lan Hsiao

Even though her family has nothing to do with tea, but she learnt the importance of consuming tea correctly in daily health diet based on the Chinese traditional medicine principles, the essence of keeping a well balance and appropriate adaptation based on Yin-Yang and 5 elements from her mother when she was very young.

She entered the tea learning in Taiwan since 1985, left her root because of marriage in 1991 was a hard emotional decision but that helped her to expand her learning horizon in tea and Chinese tea culture from original limited inward-outbound one-direction view to 360 degree.

She started to promote the authentic knowledge about tea and wisdom in Chinese tea culture in Belgium since 1995.  Efforts in promoting tea and Chinese tea culture helped her to strengthen her roots for humane. Based on her observation and experience in Europe, she deeply realizes tea is speechless and often being misunderstood or misused because of wrong information and/or interpretation if people have no chance to understand its authentic flavor and taste.  Her life time mission now is to speak for tea, to share more authentic knowledge about quality and pure taste.

She earned the title of “Tea Master” through recognitions from other well known experts in tea and Chinese tea culture from China and Taiwan.  This title does not limit to the meaning of who she is but aggrevates her recognition of her responsibility to promote tea and Chinese tea culture in more serious manners further.  Their recognition also urges her to keep her head down to focus on tea and deepen the learning in tea and Chinese traditional wisdom for health and life through tea.

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 student.

GDPR – New EU General Data Proection Regulations

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

 

Our Commitment

We don’t have the stamp on the package for fair trade, WE SIMPLY DO FAIR TRADE.

We don’t have the organic label on the package, WE AND OUR PARTNERS SIMPLY  COMMIT TO ECO BALANCE. Just because Nature and health are important.

We believe each pesticide analysis  handles by European laboratory to assert the organic quality serves as more true evident than stamp or label.

Do we have to “visit” the tea garden and “check” the quality every year? No, we don’t have to with the close partnership with friends who share the crazy commitment. Especially when we choose to work base on partnership, commitment and trust to the Mother Nature, wisdom from Chinese old traditions, health and QUALITY.

Honesty and commitment not only important to TEA, NATURE  but also to  friendship in life.

If we have more profit, we rather to invest on tea but not on hotels and flight tickets for pleasure.

There is only one planet we treasure, and we are committed to eco-balanced healthy tea.

 

Best Practice

I know normally it’s honor to meet or able to have a President to give endorsement, but I really can’t share that kind of joy and proud with ITQI when they posted the photo of President Tsai Yin-Wen today.

Because the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) under Tsai’s command issued an announcement ‘quietly’ on their web site what they intend to loosen the pesticide tolerance standards.

Luckily such quiet ‘pesticide standards” announcement was discovered by a politician from the opposite party in time and then the issue was exposed on media on 15/3. Instantly I posted my concern and protest on Facebook and to the Taiwan Tea Manufacturing Industrial Association.  Eventually MOHW admitted the decision of new pesticide standards was made based on the request from American agriculture chemical company.

If this announcement was not discovered in time, then 60 days later that ‘quiet announcement” could become official regulations. Luckily the planned new standards was not supported or agreed by most tea farmers and manufacturers or traders,  because the new standards would allow the tolerance of Fluopyram to 6ppm while the tolerance of this particular pesticide in EU is only 0.1ppm.

Under severe protests, finally the MOHW decided to “temporarily postponed” the implementation but did not decide to deny the request from the American agriculture chemical company’s request.

Taiwan produce very good quality tea that we really emphasis on superior taste and quality but not quantity.  But ff we allowed Tsai’s government team to implement the new tolerance standards, then the name of Taiwanese tea will be ruined, and Taiwanese tea will face a lot of challenge to sell tea outside of Taiwan.

Therefore I am sorry that I really can’t give my thumb up for this article from ITQI just because they were able to meet or listen Tsai’s speech during their visit in Taiwan.

ITQI emphasis quality, then meeting international pesticide tolerance standards for tea must be the basic requirement.

Tea is a natural agricultural product which is not like other food products produced in factory that manufacturers could prove their quality control with ISO standards, therefore how to ensure the quality safety meets with the pesticide standards is important, particularly in EU member states.
 
I love tea and I do have special love for Taiwanese tea.  However, when we talk about tea, I always choose to be honest, give my loyalty and devotion to tea and those who work very hard to produce superior taste and quality tea.  There are many good quality teas from Taiwan and China which I truly believe there are many tea lovers in the world would appreciate, that’s why we must take our responsibility seriously to ensure the supply the superior taste and safety quality.   I truly believe the first thing is to make sure the quality of tea meets with the EU pesticide standards.
Based on this belief and confidence, I adapt the practice of having tea being analysed by European laboratory in Europe based on the EU pesticide standards.  After the quality is being rectified by the Pesticide Analysis Report with satisfactory result, then submit to ITQI for Superior Taste and Quality Awards competition.
 
Indeed this is a very expensive approach for a small tea centre like us, but I truly believe this is the responsible and correct attitude to show my respect to tea, and this is the most solid way to win trust from consumers who are looking for superior taste an fine quality tea.

Quality Managements in Practice

In the tea sommelier certified lesson this week, we again touched the critical issue about what is our primary responsibility as a tea sommelier. Is it just limited to the knowledge of knowing how to make a good cup of tea? or much more?   Students were very enthusiastic and asked for more information about the bitter taste of fair-trade and organic tea.
 
As promised, here is the link of The Bitter Taste of Tea: A Journey into the World of Fair Trade which I think people who like to support the concept of fair trade tea should all take a look : http://www.films.com/id/16330 
 
I first saw this video few years ago and I think the course and intention of these reporters who dared to report this matter deserve respect and support.
 
From the free pre-review I am sure it would give you an idea about the bitter taste of so-called fair trade in reality. Finding a good balance is indeed a unsolved struggle to find a good balance between
  • Policies vs. Reality,
  • Development vs. Preserve Nature Harmony
  • Economy Development vs. Culture Development
 
I follow the philosophy of fair trade and the basic concept for organic and pesticide control started from 1995. For years I follow the quality management and best practice, because I believe actual actions are more important than slogans or stamps.
It was great to embrace questions from enthusiastic tea lovers:
Q: How do you know these people are really following the principals?
A: Honesty is the key and trust is something people need to learn to earn but don’t expect to obtain blindly by telling fancy stories.  When people are willing to tell you truth not only good and beautiful stories, but also honest to share all hinder information that might influence the harvest and quality; when they are equally persistence in believing in Nature, Quality, Traditions and Morals. That laid down the corner stone for trustful friendship. 
Of course, there is a risk for people to change their course when facing the financial challenges and/or attractions. That’s why how to sustain and to revalidate trust is an on-going task for “BOTH” parties.
The cost of ‘fair trade’ and ‘organic tea’ labels are simply too expensive for me and those friends for years, who are either small individual tea farms and/or tea producers, can afford.  Instead of talking or putting the label, we simply put these fundamental believes and philosophies in actions.  Our common goals are
  • Promote and introduce the pure and good quality tea to the market
  • Help more people to have the right attitude about healthy life style, know how to brew tea correctly
  • Help more people to have the correct knowledge about how to distinguish quality
 
Honesty and trust are essence in business ethic, particularly in the tea world.

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