Tag Archives: brewing a good pot

Certification of a Devotee-Rong-Tsang Tsai

为茶界修道者颁证Certification of a Devotee

蔡荣章Rong-Tsang Tsai

20111019周三小方块 WEDNESDAY TEA CORNER

Why devotees, when we are discussing modern tea thoughts, you may ask. I am referring, of course, to tea brewing masters 1. They, as a matter of fact, are pursuing a path in the manner of devotees. These ‘devotees’ seek to perfect their brewing technique and equip themselves with ample knowledge about tea. When this is done, they will be able to not only enlighten themselves, but also the others, and spread the tea culture far and wide. As such, certification for tea brewing masters is granted in much the same way as that of the induction of devotees pursuing a spiritual path.

When it comes to pursuing certain paths, there are different types of devotees — tea brewers, members of a religious order and Buddhist monks included. They will be informed of certain restrictions and rules, and would be asked if they are willing to abide by such. If their answer to the masters or witnesses is a clear and bold affirmation, they will be formally accepted for the procedure leading to the certification or monastic ordination.

At the back of the ordination platform at the Jietai Si (Ordination Terrace Temple) in Beijiing where ceremony commemorating a devotee to full monkhood is taken place, there is a plaque with the expression “Shu Jing Jin Chuang2, which serves as a reminder that one must continue to be invigorated and energetic in one’s cause of devotion. Tea brewing masters must realize and practise specific mindset and code of behaviour.  They have to understand the importance of brewing a good pot of tea, because this is the way to expressing the art and thinking through tea; and only with this, people will be inducted into the world of beauty.  These brewing masters will have to practise brewing daily after obtaining the certification. This way, they will be able to immerse themselves, the surrounding and the people around in a world of great aesthetics.

I would like to share this tribute to tea brewers chanted as a curtain-raiser of the Certificate Presentation Ceremony:

Tea Brewing Master is a qualification,

And a responsibility.

They are entrusted to spread the tea culture worldwide.

Brewing the best possible pot of tea, they must,

And bring out the art and thinking through tea.

Brewing the best possible pot of tea, we must,

And let the others appreciate the beauty in tea,

While realizing life’s many lessons in a cup.

Brewing the best possible pot of tea, we must,

Because this is the way to enrich our culture.

And through a good pot of tea,

We will seek to raise the level of tea culture,

To give people the gift of health,

And to spread harmony and peace across land and oceans.

Today, I have passed the test and am named a Tea Brewing Master.

This goal will always come to my mind.

I will pursue the Way of Tea as the following motto in mind:

Brewing a good pot is the physical training of a Tea Brewer,

Brewing a good pot is the pursuit of the Way of Tea,

Brewing a good pot is the essence to experiencing the World of Tea.3

以下为文内之编码Coding in the text:

1 tea brewing masters 泡茶师

2 Shu Jing Jin Chuang“树精进幢”

3 Brewing a good pot is the physical training of a Tea Brewer,

Brewing a good pot is the pursuit of the Way of Tea,

Brewing a good pot is the essence to experiencing the World of Tea.

泡好茶是茶人体能的训练,

泡好茶是茶道追求的途径,

泡好茶是茶境感悟的本体。

 (Translator:Katherine Yip.2012.07.18)

 

(1177)

Brewing technique is far from being skin-deep-Rong-tsang Tsai

学会削皮才能吃到肉Brewing technique is far from being skin-deep

蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

 2001.06《茶艺》月刊社论The Editorial of “Tea Culture Monthly”

Tea gurus learn to brew tea in much the same way as musicians play piano or painters paint – they learn to master the very medium by which the Way of Tea, Music or Paintings is to be expressed. There is no way to get to the heart of these artistic pursuits if the people involved fail to acquire the basics. Furthermore, the artistic frame of mind is attached to the end results of the very act of tea brewing, piano playing or picture painting. A crude work of art will only create an artistic frame of mind that is equally unrefined.

 The Tea Brewers Assessment Examination 1, initiated in Taiwan, has since covered both sides of the Straits. For three decades as of May 2005, the examination has seen 345 tea brewers awarded with the qualification. Over time, these tea brewers, who began with the simple aim of being certified as a professional, have forged ahead to explore the vast world of tea culture. As seen in the recent monthly gatherings, they chant tea poems, study flower arrangement for tea presentation setting 2, delve into the aesthetics of tea advocated by Lu Yu, try and trace the origin of ‘Zen in Tea, Tea in Zen’3…. These are certainly not in the syllabus of the Tea Brewers Assessment Examination; neither are these follow-up tasks required. Such initiatives can only come from the tea brewers themselves – with the ability to brew a good pot, they have cultivated a habit of brewing and enjoying tea, and participating in activities related to the tea culture. This has further developed into a special feeling they have towards the beverage, which propels them to pursue tea on different fronts and at different levels; in most cases, they are rewarded with enlightened ideas. Without such innate bonding between the person and tea, any research assignment on tea culture given by the instructors at school will be mundane as in mere categorization of information; or detached as there is a lack of heartfelt enthusiasm.

Some people have criticized that the Tea Brewers Assessment Examination goes round and around at the level of tea brewing technique, which they describe as superficial. What they have failed to realize is that if one can’t play the piano (or for that matter, any kind of musical instrument) well, what is there to shape the musical frame of mind? If one can’t even paint well and master their lines and colours, what is there to express the artistic frame of mind? Some have gone to the extent of saying ‘the only thing matter is in the thinking and frame of mind when it comes to the Way of Tea’; or, ‘there is nothing else but that which showcase the charisma of a musician and a painter’. If this is the case, it is nothing short of crude and ludicrous.

To us, brewing a good pot4 is a physical training for tea gurus, not unlike the daily running athletes have to go through. Should this be considered skin-deep, my advice is, go get an orange – no one can get to the juicy pulp before peeling the skin!

 

以下为文內之编码Coding in the text:

1.Tea Brewers Assessment Examination泡茶师检定考试

2.flower arrangement for tea presentation setting茶席的插花

3.‘Zen in Tea, Tea in Zen’「茶禅一味」

4.brewing a good pot泡好茶

Introduction:

The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express.  Writings on the thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of languages used, remain scarce.   We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share the knowledge of tea alongside tea drinking.  This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of the academic terms of tea).

  (1056)

茶道术语3篇-The academic terms of the Way of Tea 蔡荣章-Rong-tsang Tsai

茶道术语-The academic terms of the Way of Tea

蔡荣章-Rong-tsang Tsai编著Editor

说明:将茶道专用术语整理、翻译及审定,是当前在学校或国际间推动茶文化工作时很重要的茶学材料。我们只是逐步完成初学茶道者所应用的部分,尚需继续完备。本茶道术语翻译及审定工作始于2010.01月,一直持续进行中。英文翻译:Katherine Yip

第1篇(20110412)

1. 茶人

Tea Gurus

2. 茶师

Tea Masters

3. 茶文化工作者

Facilitators of Tea Culture

4. 茶文化护主

Patrons of Tea Culture

5. 茶艺师

Tea Art Masters

6. 泡茶师

Tea Brewing Masters

7. 制茶师

Master Tea Maker

8. 评茶师

Tea Appraisers

9. 茶商

Tea Merchants

10. 茶农

Tea Farmers

11. 茶友

Tea Drinkers

12. 茶者 、好茶之人

Tea Aficionados

13. 品茗家

Tea Connoisseurs

14. 茶专家

Tea Experts

15. 爱茶人

Tea Lovers

16. 大茶人

Great Tea Guru

17. 茶道师

Master of the Way of Tea

18. 茶道大师

Great Master of the Way of Tea

19. 喝茶

Tea Drinking

20. 赏茶

Tea Appreciation

21. 评茶

Tea Appraisal

22. 品茶

Tea Savouring

第2篇(2011.05月-07月)

23. 泡好茶

brew a good pot

24. 茶汤

tea infusion、tea liquor

25. 茶道之美、茶道之境

the beauty and realm of the Way of Tea

26. 纯品茗的抽象之美

Pure Abstract Aestheticism in Tea Drinking

27. 纯茶道

the‘Pure’Way of Tea

28. 空寂之美

beauty in emptiness and solitude

29. 甘

mellow sweetness

30. 草庵茶席

‘thatched-hut tea ceremony setting’

31. 茶禅一味

‘oneness of Zen and Tea’

32. 精俭

conviction and simplicity, modesty and self-restraint

33. 空寂

emptiness and solitude

34. 清和

purity and harmony

35. 泡茶师箴言

Tea Brewing Masters’ Motto

36. 泡好茶是茶人体能之训练,茶道追求之途径,茶境感悟之本体。

Brewing a good pot is the physical training of a Tea Brewing Master, the pursuit of the Way of Tea, and the essence to experiencing the World of Tea.

37. 茶道

the Way of Tea

38. 道是方法.道是路.道是境界.道是目的.道是新生命的起点

The word‘Way’may refer to a method, a path, a state of being, a goal, and the starting point of a new life

3篇(2011.07-12月)

39. 泡茶

tea brewing

40. 茶会

tea gatherings

41. 流派

schools

42. 公告事项」

notification

43. 七大精神

seven principles

44. 无尊卑之分

an absence of hierarchy

45. 无报偿之心

no action of reciprocity is expected

46. 无好恶之心

setting aside personal preferences

47. 求精进之心

it is about getting better each time

48.「泡好茶」

brewing a good pot

48. 遵守公共约定

everything goes as agreed

49. 培养默契,体现群体律动之美

appreciating mutual-understanding and the beauty of collective rhythm

50. 茶具观摩与联谊

Tea ware appreciation and Socialization

51. 无流派与地域之分

there is no restriction as to the school or regional practice in brewing

52. 盖碗

lidded cups

53. 叶形茶

tea leaves

54. 粉末茶

powdered tea

55. 茶席

Tea Presentation Setting

56. 插花

flower arrangement

57. 焚香

burning of incense

58. 挂画

hanging scrolls

59. 点茶

tea brewing

60. 四艺

four arts of living

61.「把茶泡好」

Brewing a good pot

62.泡茶者

Tea Brewers

(1311)

On the Style of Tea Presentation Setting-Rong-tsang Tsai

茶席1风格的表现 On the Style of Tea Presentation Setting 1

蔡荣章-Rong-tsang Tsai

(2001.01《茶艺》月刊社论Published in “Tea Art”monthly magazine)

Is Chinese costume and Chinese music indispensable in a tea brewing demonstration? Is Chinese interior décor the norm for dressing up tea houses? These are some of the most frequently asked questions during our lectures on the Way of Tea. If modern tea culture is what we are promoting, then there is no standardization pertaining to the modern Chinese style. It is, instead, our wish to introduce the Way of Tea to the world. For this matter, geographic and ethnic flavours are not prerequisites. As such, we accept a modern approach to promoting the Way of Tea.

A fellow tea drinker 2 once raised the issue about tea presentation setting when we were planning a tea art exhibition: Are we to follow traditional Chinese style? Or do we have the freedom to use a modern way of presenting? What he meant by ‘traditional Chinese style’ would probably include typical Chinese interior décor and furniture, together with flower arrangement 3, burning of incense 4 and hanging scrolls 5, among others. Our answer to this is, it is not necessary. There is nothing to stop us from using a modern, even surreal, approach. The combination of the four arts of living7– namely flower arrangement, painting hanging, incense burning and tea brewing6 – are not something down in the rule book. Chinese costume, be it for the tea servers or team members of the organizer, is not compulsory. The most important point is, the tea presentation setting must have a self-fulfilled style, and attain a high level of artistic accomplishment. Of course, one has to fully understand the characteristics of the tea leaves to be presented. Tea is the protagonist in this and it will not be right if we just show off our skill in dressing up the space without paying attention to the tea. For that matter, costume and demeanor will have to be in harmony with the presentation.

There is no fixed rule about pairing –Chinese décor does not necessary call for Chinese paintings and calligraphy, or Chinese-style flower arrangement. The aim is to successfully create the style and reach the artistic level desired. Mixing and matching of styles that transcends temporal boundaries and geographic divides is acceptable, so long as it is done is an appropriate manner. However, from the artistic, cultural and historical points of view, we would like more than a combination of existing (including old and new) objects and style, and encourage brand new design and creation. Although the setting is supposed to be a unique combination, which in itself is a form of creation, it does not ‘add to our historical and cultural values’ the way a new design does.

By the same token, there is no restriction as to the method of brewing. As in a drama production, the perfect match of the stage setting, cast and script is the formula to success. Brewing a good pot 8 is the basic principle – we cannot simply put ambience on top of everything else, or leave everything to whims and fancies. As far as the space is concerned, the design must have a theme to hold everything together. What tea aficionados 9 are after is something beautiful and artistically-appreciated.

以下为文內之编码Coding in the text:

茶席1  Tea Presentation Setting 1

茶友2 tea drinker 2

插花3 flower arrangement 3

焚香4 burning of incense 4

挂画5 hanging scrolls 5

点茶6 tea brewing6

四艺7 four arts of living7

「把茶泡好」8 Brewing a good pot 8

茶者9 tea aficionados 9

Introduction:

The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express.  Writings on the thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of languages used, remain scarce.   We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share the knowledge of tea alongside tea drinking.  This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of the academic terms of tea).

 

  (1206)

The Three Concepts of Tea Brewing-Rong-tsang Tsai

泡茶三观念The Three Concepts of Tea Brewing

蔡荣章Rong-tsang Tsai

(2005.10刊于《说茶》,北京燕山出版社,Published in“About Tea” ISBN 7-5402-1663-8 )

A perpetual argument on tea brewing will be: is there a standard pertaining to the ‘condition’ of an infusion in relation to how it is being brewed?Will each brewing give infusion of different conditions? Could brewing techniques change the original quality of a certain tea? And the list goes on.  Besides, it is essential to define the ‘strength’ 1  of tea infusion 2, the proper attitude towards ‘brewing a good pot’ 3, and the difference between ‘savouring’ 4  and ‘appraising’ 5  tea.

1.  Are there standards regarding the ‘strength’ and ‘quality’ of the tea infusion?

The term ‘strength’ is general.   It refers to the ‘impact’ 6  of tea infusion in our mouth, regardless of its taste and quality. It should not be defined as the sum total of water-soluble substances 7 , for the fact that some of the components are more powerful and readily sensed – this is to say, the sum of water-soluble substances of a certain tea may not be as much as another; and yet, their impact could be the same. Meanwhile, strength is not the same as ‘stimulation’ 8 , as some teas impress with their pronounced bitterness and astringency 9 , while others capture our attention with their texture 10  or aromatic intensity 11 . As such, we will only define the ‘strength’ based on the ‘impact’ an infusion has in our mouth.  We will stay with this for the convenience of discussion on issues relating to different rounds of brewing.

Quality refers to the judgement of a tea as being good or bad – a judgement made on a calm, objective and scientific stance. Besides good components, quality also implies the right combination that gives rise to a taste well-received by most people and approved by experts. It is impossible to achieve consistent quality for each brewing – we can, however, achieve more or less the same strength by way of brewing techniques.

Given the same ‘batch’ of tea leaves, is there any standard pertaining to the tea infusion concerned? Will people have very different views as to the taste of the infusion from the same ‘batch’ of tea leaves?  Even if there is difference, it could only be relative.  How do we prove this?If we use the same ‘batch’ of tea leaves to brew tea of different strength with water of varying temperature, and offered these brews to a considerable sample of people, their preference would fall within a certain range.  If this sample of people has substantial knowledge of tea, the one or few cups with the highest preference represent what we call the standard.  There may not be only one single preference, but the preferences are always within a certain range. We do not rule out individual preferences; but we must attain the standard first before we try catering to unique personal taste.

Some people may say, the quality of tea is determined by the tea leaves; tea brewing can do very little to alter its intrinsic quality. This may be true with ‘tea products’ 12 , but not with tea brewing. Take for instance ‘premium tea’ 13  brewed during a competition – it may be utterly undrinkable.  Again, some may point out that given the same method of brewing, we will be able to distinguish between the good and bad among different cups of tea. This is true in the sense that tea appraisers could make still out the good from the bad with ultra strong infusion. And yet, what we are concerned here is not tea appraisal, but tea brewing.

The absence of standard pertaining to the strength and quality of tea infusion will imply that any way of brewing will do!

2.  Should we go for consistent strength for each brewing?

As we mentioned in the last section, standard strength refers to the best condition of the tea infusion for each brewing. The best condition is reflected by the preference of the majority of tea drinkers, and this can be simply expressed by the standard strength; as such, we should try maintaining the same consistency in between rounds of brewing.  Quality will diminish with each brewing, until the time we discard the brewed tea leaves and replace them with fresh ones.

Some may think that consistency is not essential, as infusion of different strength and style highlight various appeal of a certain tea. This may seem reasonable; but then again, is this not advocating ‘freehand’ brewing, that is, the lack of any standard practice? You may raise objection and say, should there not be more than one type of ‘strength’ or ‘style’ people prefer? This is correct, insofar as it falls within what we describe as the ‘standard strength’ – surely, it should not be a case of ‘to each his own liking’ or ‘being different for difference’s sake’.

The ‘pursuit of the best’ (not necessarily only one) is what we have been advocating and working towards. Life is multi-faceted; but it does not mean that we have to experience and realize each and every aspect. The same goes with tea brewing. What we should avoid is brewing a pot that is too strong, too weak or too bitter.  What we aspire to is brewing a good pot/cup in an effortless manner.

3.  What exactly does it mean by brewing a good pot?

It means that each brewing gives infusion that is of the best condition of the tea leaves at the time. In terms of quality, the fourth brewing will be inferior to the first or the second brewing; and yet, we should aim at the best condition at the time.

Often, we say that a skilful brewer could make tea worth more than its monetary value. For instance, using tea leaves of $ 100/catty, he will produce infusion that appears to be made with tea leaves of $ 150/catty.  By the same token, a poor brewer will not do justice to premium tea. Even if he makes tea with tea leaves of $ 200/catty, the infusion may be inferior to that made with tea leaves of $ 50/catty.  This goes to illustrate how important the brewing technique is, not that it can change the quality of tea leaves. Given the same technique, a person can brew a good pot/cup out of tea leaves worth of $ 50/catty or $ 100/catty; and yet, the infusion of the latter should be superior to the former.

The essence of brewing well is to brew the best possible tea with existing conditions, even if it is the fifth brewing, or with tea leaves that are distinctly bitter and astringent. Brewing well is also the foundation to the Way of Tea. We would not be able to appreciate the more subtle side of things, such as the artistic and spiritual aspects, if we fail to brew a good pot. It is with incessant practice that a tea aficionados could explore on a higher level and achieve more extensive realization in order to open up new fronts in pursuing the Way of Tea.

以下为文內之编码Coding in the text:

浓度1 strength 1

茶汤2 tea infusion 2

「泡好」茶3 brewing a good pot 3

品茗4 savouring tea 4

评茶5 appraising tea 5

打击6 ‘impact’ 6

水可溶物7 water-soluble substances 7

刺激性8 ‘stimulation’ 8

苦涩味9 bitterness and astringency 9

稠度10 texture 10

气味11 aromatic intensity 11

茶制品12 tea products 12

特等茶13 premium tea 13

 

Introduction:

The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express.  Writings on the thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of languages used, remain scarce.   We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share the knowledge of tea alongside tea drinking.  This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of the academic terms of tea).

 

  (1316)

The Pure Abstract Aestheticism in Tea Drinking-Rong-tsang Tsai

茶道上纯品茗的抽象之美-The Pure Abstract Aestheticism in Tea Drinking

蔡荣章-Rong-tsang Tsai

(2005.01《茶艺》月刊社论Published in “Tea Art”monthly magazine)

Definition of the Way of Tea1 can be narrowed down to the essential, namely the tea infusion2.  It is all in the infusion, if I may put it this way – its colour, aroma, flavour, nature and appeal epitomize the tea experience. This may be enhanced by the visual enjoyment of the tea-brewing process, and the sensual enjoyment of the brew itself.  Such is the world of tea in the realm of pure, abstract aesthetics.

Since the Way of Tea began to capture massive attention on both sides of the Strait of China and Taiwan in the wake of the 1980’s, we have been hammering home the importance of perfecting the technique in tea brewing, or simply, ‘brewing a good pot’3.  As it goes, tea brewing (and drinking) is the very foundation of the Way of Tea. Should this foundation fail to provide a strong foothold, what is built on it – including but not limited to the art and the thoughts – can at best be crude.

The problem with the idea above is that it may draw the conclusion, if not criticism, that brewing is merely the means to an end, and a medium through which the art and the thoughts are expressed.  As such, in the ‘Motto of a Tea Brewing Master’4, we have qualified the idea – that “Brewing a good pot is physical training for the tea brewer and a path to pursue the Way of Tea” – with the following: that tea brewing is “the essence to the understanding of the realm of tea in a physical manner”.

In actual fact, the beauty and realm of the Way of Tea5 can be appreciated by way of brewing and drinking. Nothing is required besides the tea, utensils, technique and experience; the setting, attire and music are all extras that we can do without.  If brewing (and whisking, in the case of matcha) is a reflection of both the aesthetics and the realm of tea in the visual form, then drinking is the realization of both in terms of aroma, taste and its nature.  Appreciating tea without being distracted by the external environment enables us to focus on what matters the most. This kind of pureness is what we describe as the ‘Pure Abstract Aestheticism in Tea Drinking’6.

This description, however, should not be taken at face value – the pureness is certainly not exclusive to the experience of drinking alone.  Brewing is not highlighted simply because it is perceived by some as more of an action anchored to the material world rather than an experience rooted in the abstract domain. However, the inclusion of brewing must be clearly communicated when we elaborate on the Way of Tea.

The same emphasis on pureness also applies to music.  Whereas ‘absolute’ music is born of pure delight in combining musical tones, and is thus free from association outside of itself; ‘programme’ music, in contrast, refers to its reference to some external ideas of non-musical sources, such as seasons, nature and fate. On the ground of pure abstract appreciation, ‘absolute’ music is preferred. As for the Way of Tea, there is a wide, wide world in the tea infusion alone. The tea ceremony and its setting would lead to another story.

When a delegation of Korean Tea Guru visited us on March 14, 2005, I raised the idea that the beauty and realm of the Way of Tea is all in the tea infusion.  Master Xuanfeng responded by describing this mode of thinking as the ‘Pure’ Way of Tea7.

—–

以下为文內之编码Coding in the text:

茶道1  the Way of Tea1

茶汤2 tea infusion2

把茶泡好 brewing a good pot3

泡茶师箴言4 Motto of a Tea Brewing Master4

茶道之美、茶道之境5 the beauty and realm of the Way of Tea5

纯品茗的抽象之美6  Pure Abstract Aestheticism in Tea Drinking6

纯茶道7 the ‘Pure’ Way of Tea7

Introduction:

The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express.  Writings on the thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of languages used, remain scarce.   We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share the knowledge of tea alongside tea drinking.  This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of the academic terms of tea). (1260)

What we mean by Brewing a Good Pot-Rong-tsang Tsai

泡好茶的涵义-What we mean by Brewing a Good Pot

蔡荣章-Rong-tsang Tsai

(2002.01《茶艺》月刊社论Published in “Tea Art”monthly magazine)

If I say, to get the most out of life you’ve got to drink good tea, listen to good music and wear good clothes, what do you think? Is this your cup of tea? To some, a little difference in the tea leaves will not make or break a cup, and clothes being branded or not does not affect its fundamental function of providing protection and warmth.  We look at this differently, though.

In the last chapter, the Tea Brewing Master’s1 Motto, we brought up the idea of brewing a good pot2.  You may wonder what that exactly means.  Would it mean brewing tea with masterful (good) technique, or brewing tea of premium (good) quality?  We think both apply; and yet, in the context of the Tea Brewing Master’s Motto, it may be more of the former – brewing a good pot is the physical training of a Tea Brewer, the pursuit of the Way of Tea, and the essence to experiencing the World of Tea.  However, when taking it out form this particular context, the understanding of it as ‘brewing tea of premium quality’ is also relevant.

Good tea, in general, refers to tea that is appealing in terms of colour, aroma and taste. Its tea infusion3 has a certain character that makes it a delight to drink. Tea drinker will be delighted by the pleasant feeling of satisfaction when they put their cups down.  This is translated into health-enhancing benefits, an edge over mediocre tea that promises very little other than being a thirst-quencher. On the scientific ground, the so-called good tea is rich in compounds which are simply better and more appreciated. The combination of these compounds makes it a delight and adds to its rich flavor and content. As such, the impact is so much more enjoyable both physically and psychologically.  This is similar to clothes – a fabulously-designed and well-tailored dress made of premium materials will work wonders on our physical well-being because of the feel-good elements it brings, as compared to a poorly-made dress of sub-standard fabric and sloppy tailoring.

The above proposition is a possible subject of ridicule on two grounds. First, what is the definition of ‘good’? Second, will this lead to extravagance?  To begin with, we must listen to experts as to how good the tea leaves or clothes are – this requires us to put aside our personal preference and prejudices.   For things that are ‘good’, they are usually higher-priced, and this calls for a balance between one’s own income and level of awareness.  It will not lead to extravagance as long as we do not go beyond our means.

—–

以下为文內之编码Coding in the text:

泡茶师 1 Tea Brewing Master1

泡好茶2 brewing a good pot2

茶汤3 tea infusion3

Introduction:

The aesthetics, character and the state of mind created are not to be undermined in the understanding and enjoyment of tea; and yet, they are the hardest to express.  Writings on the thoughts pertaining to tea, regardless of languages used, remain scarce.   We have attempted to express them in Chinese, with accompanying English translation(Translator:Katherine Yip.2010.01), to elaborate our thoughts as they are. What we want is to share the knowledge of tea alongside tea drinking.  This is, in our opinion, an important contemporary task in promoting the tea culture (Coding in the text is for cross-referencing of the academic terms of tea).

 

  (1166)