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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Birth of Guitian's Tea Club

Finally, it happened, and yet successfully and delightfully! I have planned this since last year. Until my dear friend couldn't wait for it any longer, he came over to me, and said, here is the place for you, start it now. Yes, I didn't know what I was waiting for. He is right, if I never give myself a space, there is always a tomorrow, tomorrow.
No excuse any more.

Drinking a lot of tea with an empty stomach could upset the stomach, so the ceremony started with some fresh lychee fruit, sesame balls, red bean cakes and other snacks.


I carefully selected three types of dark tea, and each one has different character. The first one was the Ice Mountain green Puer
cake. The big fat buds and leaves were  compressed consistently with very evident layers. The aroma was surprisingly floral and
more floral than any other puer teas we all experienced. The delicate bright golden color of tea soup lifted our mind up. Here
comes the first sip of the first infusion, it was like a delicate young lady enjoy dancing with her new silk dress. It was flower, subtle, clean, bright, fresh, and delightful. It was a taste of the floating
leaves in a serene clean stream surround by mountains full of flowers. Personally, I love the aftertaste most. The refined sweet aftertaste was gently stimulating my entire mouth, from the mid of my tongue to two sides of my cheek and extended to my throat. After the 3rd infusion, my guests complimented that it was getting more and smoother. When the 4th infusion started, the dancing delicate young lady became a mature educated lady, the complexity of tea was expressing in each sip and sniff. The bitter sweet taste was like the lady went through a lot of tough times, and afterward she overcame the difficulties, the sweetness arrived. After 7 times of infusion, the tea still presented very well balanced. And yet, the beautiful fat consistent wet infused tea leaves were like a pleasant
song in my heart, it tempted me to want to touch and feel the wet leaves by my fingers. So I invited all of us to sense the softness, tenderness and elasticity of the tea leaves.



Second one was a special block of Fuzhan 茯砖-one of a the famous dark teas in China. This particular Fuzhun is in gratitude and memory from the Hunan tea industry to the author of Hunan Dark Tea. This book is the first and the only one book which specifically introduced the full content of Hunan dark tea. The author is a very well known tea master in South of China, is also my tea professor in the Hunan Agricultural University. This special tea has a very limited amount in Chinese market. The best thing to show my respect and
gratitude to my professor is to keep the tea for another 30-50 years and even pass it to my next generation. And, I am very bad about it, because I could not wait any longer. I could not wait to share it with tea lovers. Here it is! The tea was very well compressed.
Breaking the tea was a part of The fun process of making tea art which I do enjoy, like cutting the food before cooking it, it is a part of art. The tea got a unique steamed lotus leaf with a hint of ripe rice flavor. I was trying to explain that it smelled like Zongzi 粽
子 which is a Cantonese lotus leaf rice dumpling. My guests didn't know what Zongzi was and they described it is leafy and earthy. The tea is from 2008 with a mid-body and has a unique distinctive flavor, the complexity of it was hard to describe. After the fourth infusion, the tea became more pronounced, the mouth-feel was more balanced, more smooth, and the aftertaste was more refined as well. And yet, I heard more happy and satisfied gentle voices from my guests. That was a very good sign to me.
 

The third tea was a 1992 aged ripe puer cake. It sent me to a clean ancient rainforest with wild dry flowers and dry fruits. It started as a rich smooth mouth-feel right at the first infusion which is pretty impressive. The typical puer tea generally starts to have this character after or on the 3rd infusion. The aroma of deep earth and complete around silky mouth-feel are my biggest pleasure for this puer. I felt like as if I were lying on many inches of dry falling leaves from ancient trees on the ground in a far away forest and communicating with the mother of Earth. The mellowness of tea absorbed us, it mellowed our bodies and minds. We were melting with tea, with friendship, with nature and peace. We were drinking, we were laughing, and we were celebrating our lives, our joy, and our relationships...


I was so much enjoying seeing the relaxed joyful faces from my guests. To me, seeing people appreciate tea grants me a great pleasure and the value of tea, art and myself. I decided to share my favorite Big Red Robe with them although it wasn't the plan. I was so happy about my decision. It was a perfect ending and conclusion of this ceremony with our purified minds. The aroma was amazingly vivid and the length of bouquet was incredibly long, especially when I used my new tall pitcher. The pitcher kept the dark chocolate fruity fragrance for more than half hour. We were enjoying sniffing the joy of tea aroma therapy and sipping each drop of bliss and harmony.

I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
"Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall my buried life, and Paris in the Spring.
I feel immeasurable at peace, and find the world 
To be wonderful and youthful, after all."
                                                   —T.S.Elliot
  


Drink tea and nourish life; 
with the first sip, joy;
with the second sip, satisfaction,
 with the third sip, peace.






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Seattle, WA, United States
I grew up with tea, and it continues to fill my life with so much beauty and discovery, pleasure, peace and friends. It is always leading me toward a greater understanding of culture, nature, myself and others. It is my hope to use this space to share the joy of tea and tea culture with you.