Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer tea classes

I'm not sure I've skipped a full month of blogging before, but it happened this July! If you follow me on Instagram or FB, you have seen that I wasn't totally absent from the web. It was a month of vacation, but, at the same time, I was also busy teaching tea. I did 3 classes in Alsace and 2 in London. That were 2 in German, 2 in English and 1 in French!

With Teddy, here, I tried to summarize the 4 days of Porcelain Exhibition event at the Tea Institute in Penn State within 4 hours! (That's because Teddy was attending university overseas and couldn't come to the April event).

Time wouldn't stand still, though, and the afternoon flew away very quickly!
We finished the class with this impressive spring 2017 raw wild puerh, brewed rather lightly in my silver teapot. It felt so pure, so good!

For my class in French, I asked one of my student to bring the best gushu puerh he had purchased this year. We felt it was nice, but my cake tasted even better. It seemed light at first, but the power of the tea's aftertaste slowly increased to everyone's amazement and delight.

We also did an interesting comparison. We started by brewing this tea in a porcelain gaiwan, then in my silver teapot and also in an Yixing zhuni teapot. The silver made the tea particularly clean, pure and hot. The porcelain was more muted. And the Yixing didn't have the same high, clear note of silver, but its taste was thicker, longer. One preferred the zhuni and 2 the silver teapot.
This class lasted a full day. We spent most of it indoors, because that's were you are less distracted. But we enjoyed also enjoyed some English tea time in the garden at 4! This was a good opportunity to remind my students of the principles of brewing in a large teapot.
I'm back in Taiwan now, but the classes continue! The temperatures are 10 degrees Celcius higher than Europe (or more). So, I chose 2 blue chabu to give us a cooling mood!

Today, my student is Antonio, from Spain. This is his first tea class, so we start with the most popular and basic Taiwan Oolong: Si Ji Chun! In this case, it's a Dong Pian version, harvested in January of 2017 when the weather in the low elevations of Mingjian most resembles that of high mountains (warm day and cool nights). This is when this tea is at its best.
We brewed the same tea together, with the same tea ware, same water... I went first and Antonio tried to imitate me. His leaves didn't open up as well my mine, though. This requires more practice on his part. But he learned an important lesson by comparing his brew with mine: the difference between the 2 is telling and much more obvious then he would have imagined.
He'll pay much more attention to how he pours his boiling water in the gaiwan from now on! Then we brewed the same leaves of SiJiChun Dong, but roasted this time. The comparison of these 2 teas allowed Antonio to better understand the impact of the roasting on Oolong.
We finished the class with this Hongxin Baozhong to contast the cultivar and process and cultivar with the SiJiChun. This cultivar is much more refined in aroma and longer in aftertaste.
Here again, we saw that proper brewing is what opens up the leaves the most so that the aromas can be well released. Otherwise, you only get a fraction of what the tea can offer.
Thanks to all of you who could attend these classes this summer! I'm looking forward to my next event this Tuesday!

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