chinese kung fu tea ceremony

Thoughts On Tea: An Afternoon Tea Tasting

“There are seven matters related to the starting of a family’s life,
firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea.”
Chinese proverb

When I was young, I always saw my parents chatting with their friends with tea in their hands. I remember seeing loose tea leaves in different colors and shapes, soaked in freshly boiled water and flew on the top. Tea tasting always sounded like an indulgent process with my parents, I never understood it until I started to explore the process myself.

Lotus and tea ink painting

I use to drink wine and liquors when I socialize with friends through most of my 20’s, I  thought socializing needed excitement and stimulation, I never considered tea as a social beverage.  In 2019,  I visited back to my hometown Chengdu with my husband and his family.  My local friend Peter brought us to us to a tea spot in this city and guided us with the process of tea tasting.

chinese kung fu tea ceremony
Chinese kung fu tea ceremony at a tea shop in Chengdu

The tea we for tasting called: black dragon pearl. it is a rare tightly hand-rolled black tea from Yunan, China. Peter boiled some spring water and poured it over the dragon pearl, it started to expand its texture, the water changed to amber. Peter then discarded the water as he told us the first infusion is not for drinking. We only got to taste the tea when he poured more water for the second infusion. I was surprised by the delicate yet rich flavor, it was sweet,  smooth, soothing and intriguing. While everyone indulged Peter would refill the water again and again over multiple infusions and each time the tea tasted slightly different.

The tea tasting lasted for 3 hours. We literally spent 3 hours to taste the single type of tea and there was always a surprisng subtle change of each stage.  I realized how much I enjoy peaceful, calming conversations with an ultimate soothing vibe.

chinese tea tasting with friends
A peaceful and joyful afternoon tea tasting with friends and families

Now back in New York,  I’ve started to drink tea more often, sometimes by my self, sometimes with friends. Although I still enjoy cocktails from time to time,  I do not overdo it. My body and my mind are on a different stage, drinking tea to me is like a practice for inner peace, patience, and awareness. I am looking forward to learning more about the ritual of tea.

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