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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.

What Can Tea Do For You

This is what Lu Xun, a famous Chinese writer, essayist, poet, and literary critic writer in the early 19th century, said about what can tea do for us:

Drinking tea helps to improve IQ, EQ and sense of happiness in life almost by 86.4%.

In other words, a critical thinker as Lu Xun also confirmed what we can profit from drinking tea based on his personal mexperience. Drinking tea not only helps to improve health conditions by serving the needs for healthy lifestyle; a tea time also means we are giving ourselves a quality moment to enjoy the tranquility and calmness with a cup of tea that helps to elaborate the level of thinking and feeling in more peaceful and joyful manners without being impulsed.

But Lu Xun left us a silent smile to the question : Where to purchase the good quality tea.

©copyrighted Mei Lan Hsiao, 16/11/2019

Human, The Heart of Heaven and Earth

There is time from the Heaven to stimulate the growth of the Nature

There are plenty of minerals in Earth to neurite the growth of the Nature

Only those People who are wise know how to adapt and mange the Nature.

The interpretation of the meaning of universal based on the humane values by great Confucian scholar in Ming Dynasty, Chen Lai of Li Ji (禮記, 禮運篇), he wrote “Human, the heart of heaven and earth; the beginning of five elements”.

Can his interpretation be applied to understand problems that we are facing today in the world? The answer definitely is positive.  When we examine the cause of those global warming chaos that we are facing today from the Nature and in the world, it all points directly to the source of decayed hearts – Greediness﹑Insanity﹑Idiotic; Jalousie﹑Hates and Desires.  

If the heart beholds respect, believes in the greater good, then Buddha is in his/her heart, why bother to search from far?  If we could treat the Nature and people with kindness and beholds greater love in our heart, then love is in everywhere.

If we could open our mind to embrace universal humane values and without differentiative minds, we all respect morals and willing to follow the boundary of laws and orders, in this case, there will be peace in the family and society, then eventually we can think of peace in the world.

The removal of the devil from heart can only be dealt with by finding peace in heart, by controlling egoism and shaping behaviors. Starting from self but not expecting from others.

Those people say they know but can’t act based on what they know are actually not knowing.

The greatest stupidity in the world is driven by egoism and selfishness.

When we look at the mirror everyday what and who do we see? 

Before pointing finger towards others, perhaps should first examine the self that the other three fingers are pointing at. Therefore, before trying to correct other people’s wrong doing, we should first examine if we also made the same mistakes; before preaching good manners and morals, should first ask ourselves if we have been acting according to morals with good manners, to who, when, where and how. Still today, I remember what my late father said to me repeatedly in my upbringing:

You can connect with the best teacher from within if you could examine own deeds at least three times a day.

Most flowers are gone, the grass is getting rusty dried, trees are getting bold and the wind breeze is getting colder, the re-examination of those old moral learning in this cold greyish afternoon keeps my heart warm.  Even though I am more than ten thousand miles away from my birthplace for many years, but the family rules and Chinese traditional moral teachings are always crystal clear as Autumn moon in heart.  People probably will forget me one day, but I will never forget who I am, and I will continuously walk on the path that I chose cheerfully.

copyrighted Mei Lan Hsiao, 15/11/2019

Chinese Tea Ceremony

Tea and tea culture began from China thousands year ago. When tea entered different countries via the first ancient Grand Silk Road in Han Dynasty to the West and another connection to the East, Korea and Japan, tea integrated in different cultures and influenced the change of lifestyle nicely without impulsing.

Image result for 點茶法

In the 12th century, Japanese Zen monk Eisai  brought tea seeds and the whisking method Chinese tea ceremony that they learnt in the process of learning Buddhism in the Buddhist temple on Tian Tai Shan in Zhejiang Province back to Japan. The Cha Dao culture has further refined in Japan, the steamed green and whisking method tea ceremony are well preserved and refined further under the Japanese cultural discipline for being perfect.

Meantime in China migrations and expansions of tea plantation continued and more tea types gradually created. With the introduction of more fine quality teas, from steamed-green to wok-fired green and more varieties were born and more various tea types were introduced. Chinese tea ceremony methods gradually changed to loose leaves with gaiwan or small-teapot brewing. What remains same in Chinese culture from all those exciting changes are :

  • The “Dao” in Daoism is more than Daoist philosophy or limited to specific forms of exercise, it meant an on-going learning process and one has to his/her own responsibility to find his/her path to move forwards in life.
  • Chinese culture is closely linked with the teaching and wisdom from Confucianism, Daoism and Chinese Buddhism. Indeed there are plenty of temples in China, but what’s important in life is not about religion but is about
  • How to discipline and strength the inner-self
  • How to live by facing self
  • How to maintain a peaceful, respectful and harmony relationships in 360 degree, from family, working and society.
Image result for 煎茶法

In tea, there is I, there is s/he, most importantly there are Us.

Tea reveals wisdom in life, the flavors and tastes in tea reflect the various unexpected things to happen in life. Tea is as life; life is as tea.

For thousands of year the meaning of Chinese tea ceremony maintains the same in Chinese culture that influence the Chinese lifestyle:

  • Fun and fine quality pleasure to enjoy in life
  • Tea is about taking time to enjoy a moment of peace and tranquility
  • Fine and warm friendship that interchange in silence by showing respect each others and self

So far, China is still the homeland for 6+1 tea types. Therefore there are different forms of process to present in the Chinese tea ceremony, despite differences, it again covers ONLY all aspects to enjoy:

  • Create a pleasant physical environmental ambiance
  • Prepare your mind
  • Evaluating the quality of tea
    • The color from tea leaves (dried and wet) and tea liquor
    • The natural and multiple layer of notes in flavors
    • The charming multiple layers of transformation from the taste and after taste
    • The number of brewing indicate the quality and strength
  • Respectful attitude and good manners in the serving, receiving and tasting tea
Image result for 煎茶法

Making a cup of tea is easy, simply let’s have a cup of tea!

Zen is You, is How You Live

People like to talk about Zen, often many people think Zen is an exclusive philosophy of Buddhism, or meditation means zen…… there are many different interpretations, but actually what is Zen?

I was first enlightened in the year of 1984 or early 1985 by the wisdom in Zen, two particular experiences helped me to open my mind and brought me, a Catholics to become a Chinese Buddhism Zen practitioner.

Instead of telling you what Zen is or isn’t, let me tell you my stories:

Tea, a cup of fine tea

When talking about tea, often people like to compare which tea is better than the other tea by tea type, country by country, region by region, by altitude or even by the aging…… But actually which criteria define the basic quality differences in tea and what does a cup of tea do with your health?

In short, tea is more than a cup of delicious and healthy beverage; it reveals how do you care about your health and how well you know what and how to manage your energy in this fast changing and stressful reality today.

The answer to a cup of fine tea should be explored in the follow fundamental question areas:

  1. How much do you really know about tea?
  2. Are you really following tea or lead by preconceived decisions?
  3. Which processes are important to you to think about how to sustain health through tea?
  4. Do you know what and how to select tea before brewing tea in the cup?
  5. How well can you manage the tea brewing?
  6. Do you know what and how to consume tea per day?
  7. Last but no least, is tea just limited to a cup of tea?

Of course, there are typical parameters to define a fine cup of tea, but through the tranquility, purity and clarity in tea, we can deepen the learning in life.

I will be more than happy to share my experience and learning with tea lovers in the Berlin Tea Festival ( ) on 23/11/2019.

Looking forwards to having a cup of tea with you in Berlin.

Tea Enlightenmemt

I am an innocent tea learner, more than 5 decades I learned tea based on the actural tasting experience from each brewing and tastes from authentic flavors and tastes, but not relying on reading or pre-conceived knowledge or preassumed creative ideas.

My learning is still on going today with innocent attitude and a opened mind.

How many visual attractions from tea ceremony performance are really about tea and for tea?

Many tea competitions actually have nothing to do with tea but are more like competitions of personal egoism.

Tea judging is an indepth and yet pragmatic learning process of being able to identify the balance in flavors and tastes, that requires genuine objective attitude, know-how and experience from listening to tea, meeting tea, tasting tea and knowing tea. When we judge tea, we will be, too, judged by tea.

#egoism #learningfromtea #wisdomintea #lifetimelearning #listeningtotea #meetingtea #tastingtea #knowingtea #teacompetition #teajudging

Learning in Life

Life can be simple and yet it is much more complex than what we could imaging when we were young and confident. At the first, we thought we knew everything and we were ready for all challenges, then the life gave us priceless lessons, some are good and some are painful, that we probably only knew some dots that we thought we know but without the full picture.

The clock is clicking, soon we realize we can not stop the time in life, but we can decide how to live by accepting and tolerating。

We can not redo what have already passed just like we can not rewarm he flavors and tastes of tea when the tea gets old. Fine quality tea offers fine natueal and complex flavours and tastes, it is better to enjoy it in time when still is warm。Because you can never have the same flavours and tastes after it gets old。

In life, we want plenty but actually what we really need are few. We probably have many acquaintances but only few friends.

Understanding from others are not something you can expect without efforts from self。

Respect is not what you can demand without showing respect to others and self first。 Respect is not something you can demand but have to think how to win without impulsiveness.

Inner peace is a process that one must learns how to manage him/herself from within。

The life journey is as brewing a cup of tea, there are many possibilities that each has to learn how to manage through life-time learning.

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.

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.

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