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What is 意境 (Yi Jing)

What is 意境, Chinese PinYin is yì jìng. What does it mean?  It is not difficult to understand the meaning by the direct translation of each character:

  • 意 (yi) means intention, meaning;
  • 境 (jing) means state, condition, level

However, when you put these two Chinese characters together, even Chinese will puzzle and reply “it’s about the holistic description of inspiration or feeling”.  When even Chinese have problem to give a very analytical explanation, you can then imaging the difficulty for foreigners who would like to learn the meaning of these two words without straight forwards and clear explanation?

Chinese is a inspirational graphic language, there are lot of expressions imply inspirational thinking or imagination which require repeatedly non-stop reflections from daily living.

Simple Head Massage

Autumn is a beautiful, romantic yet unpredictable season in a year because in Autumn we will experience a ‘long-planned’ energy mobilization and we never know what will happen later in a day. However, we will live through the energy change that drivves the dispersal of wind and clouds, the day is getting shorter, the discoloration of plants and trees while fruitfulness in the fields. The migratory birds to the warm south and fly high, great changes happen in the Nature that sweeps across the land with the change of energy in the heaven and the earth to cold.

The change of Yin – energy in heaven, earth and environment would stimulate the retaliated Yang – energy to rise in our body. People with low immunity resistance or sensitive to the change of energy might experience lots of discomfort, i.e. lungs infection, caughing, dehydration, headache in this season.

How to enhance the immunity system and tosolve the cause of headache , frankly speaking we need to hand these medical matters to more professional medical experts for their facts-based dignosis and suggestions. However,we do can consider to practice some easy and cost-free steps in actions to improve our daily health.

copyrighted Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association, Tel: +32494506899

Lesson for parents




不管我们有多爱孩子,但是孩子不是我们的财产; 是我们生命的延续,但是他们有他们的世界去开创,有自己的路要走,有他们的天空需要他们展翅翱翔。

Filial Piety

From an ancient Chinese idom we learned the utmost kindness begins with filial piety。 百善孝为先 (bǎi shàn xiào wéi xiān)

The sustainable leadereship style is in question if one does know its meaning, actually the reason is quite simple:

How can you expect someone who honestly loyal and respectful if s/he does not even show the same attitude to respect her/his own moral ‘responsibility” to her/his parents?

How can you expect someone know how to behave as a team member if s/he does not even has a brother or sister? or does not know the respect to her/his elder brothers/sisters and kindness to her/his younger brothers/sisters?

Positive Energy in Life

Am I still interested to find a job even at the age of 67?
Well, the answer definitely is YES
Why not? I am still pretty healthy in body and mind, I still full of positive energy in life and I appreciate every opportunity to share knowledge and experience in life.

However, I do have clear direction in coaching and consultancy; because

The greatest satisfaction is not about what I can achieve but watching what others can achieve with ease, peace and happiness.

Mei Lan hsiao

When I help others, it gives me a chance to help myself; sharing experience and knowledge with others help me to deepen my own learning and reflections.

There is nothing more important than maintaining positive and healthy eneregy in body, mind and emotionally. Continue learning and sharing are the best remedies in the healthy lifestyle. All of these are easy to obtain, Free of Charge !

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.

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

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

Your Cusomers deserve the best

Ivo and I had an afternoon tea at the nearby Cafe this week. Their homemade desserts were really tasty, unfortunately the overall score was dragging down by the loose leaf white tea they served.

I truly believe it is their intention to offer good quality food / drink and fine experience to their customers, and somehow they have mislead by their tea vendor about the quality.

I hope the sample and note that I offered to them today help them to know how to distinguish quality in tea.

My husband and I really love your homemade desserts that you serve in the Café. From your menu, I understand you want to offer quality and fine experience to your customers that you offer loose leaf tea.  Unfortunately, my evaluation from the white tea that you offer was very disappointed.

Here I offer you a small bag of authentic pure quality white tea from FuDing, Fujian, China.  Hopefully, it helps you to distinguish the differences between pure authentic quality vs. aromatic incorrect quality from the taste of flavors and taste.

On your menu you mentioned White tea from China, authentic picked by monkey, with fine green tea flavors , I hope the pure natural flavors and tastes from the Shou Mei that I gave you today and the following basic information here help you to make better judgement in the tea selection in the future:

  • Monkeys don’t pick tea
    • Indeed, there are different types of monkey in China and monkeys are very active and smart; but monkey can’t manage the tea picking operation and are not being trained to pick tea, not even those smart monkeys in China.
  • The basic notion of flavors and taste from white tea are very differ from green tea
  • Good quality teas, the color should be clear, clean and transparent
  • The last thing that it is hard to expect unpleasant astringency and bitterness from white tea

Based on the unpleasant astringency and bitterness, I even question if that tea was truly from China.

When we think or speak about quality, I am sure you are endorsing the fundamental moral principles of honesty and business ethics as I. For pure quality tea, the quality does not limited to vivid aroma or the color of dried leaves, but more on brilliant color, natural gentle flavors and delicious sweet & fine taste.

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