Thursday, March 8, 2018

Joyous Matters Approaching Peace

Anonymous, Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Court ladies and children playing during the Lantern Festival. Auspicious bat and prunus flowers. (Displayed at the National Palace Museum in Taipei).

Friday, March 2, 2018

Sunset Chaxi among the corals

I'm feeling the call of the sea and I'm moving closer to the water!
It's again my winter 2016 high mountain Oolong from QingJing, because it had felt so good the day before.
A large coral rock acts as my tea table. I place it in front of rocks that let me sit comfortably.
My qinghua jar depicts a similar idealized landscape with water and rocks.
The next picture shows how I'm able to brew tea outdoors for these pictures. I'm using a gas stove that is typical for camping here in Taiwan. I place it on my right hand side, so that I can grab the kettle easily, but also so that it won't be in front of my view. I wish I could bring a Nilu, but real fires are often forbidden and gas is much more practical.
There's pleasure in knowing you're in control of your brew!
The soft shine of the sun mirrors the delicacy of the tea.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tea on the beach

The first day in Kenting, the wind was a little bit too strong to brew tea on the beach. The weather report had predicted a cloudy day, but strong winds helped blow away the clouds. The beach was filled with sunshine. Luckily, I brought my thermos filled with my 1995 wild raw puerh brick. No matter how strong, this tea seems never bitter and tasted wonderful between 2 swims in the sea,
Later that day, I set up a full Chaxi on another beach. There, I used the dead corals and stray wood to create a display for my tea ware and to elevate it above the sand. I felt like a child building a sand castle for his toys!

I felt something special, because it's on this same spot that I had my first sunset Chaxi on a beach 7 years ago. Time flies! The difference is that I've gone wild. 7 years ago, I was reproducing my tea room Chaxi with the same Chabu on the beach. Now, I prefer to blend in and play with what nature offers. The goal remains the same as with a Chabu: finding harmony while staying simple.

The tea I'm brewing is my 2016 winter QingJing high mountain Oolong. I doubled or even tripled the dose I'd usually brew indoors. The result was intense, but not harsh because it's not too young anymore and because winter Oolongs are sweeter. This energy felt inside echoed the energy of this sunset on the beach. What a wonderful way to remember this moment!
My pocket knife on the wood adds an air of stranded seaman on a tropical island!
In this picture I switched to a young sheng puerh. (That's why the brew's color is orange instead of green). Both high mountain Oolong and raw puerh are good fits for tea on the beach, I've found over the years. But this time, the winter high mountain Oolong had the edge.

Friday, January 19, 2018