Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tao Of Chinese Tea

“Tao of Chinese Tea” is written by Ling Yun (Grace).  Published in 2009, this book is produced under the Reader’s Digest Association Inc. 

This beautifully illustrated book introduces the reader to the classic stories of tea, the various types of popular chinese teas, teapots and accessories, golden rules of selecting good teas and storage of tea.

The author Ling Yun is recognized as a teamaster in China.  She also possesses a master’s degree in Economics from Peking University and owns a studio called “House of Lingyun” teaching Chinese culture such as tea, calligraphy and Chinese opera.

I found the book informative and well written.  There are step by step(in photo format) guides on the different styles of brewing Chinese tea. 

One section of the book deals with the selection of a good zisha (clay) teapot (see pix 3).  The author asserts that there are 3 requirements of a good teapot:

a) the spout, mouth and handle should all touch the surface of the table if turned upside down.

b) the water pours out smoothly without leaks.

c)  fill up the teapot with water and cover it with lid.  Block up the pot mouth and turn the pot upside down.  Then keep the pot upside sown, hold the lid while unblocking the mouth.  It’s also a sign of a good pot if water doesn’t come out.

It is the 3rd point that caused me certain consternation.  It would be difficult (may not be allowed) if I want to do this test on a teapot before purchase. I am even more fearful if the lid falls off and caused a breakage.  I think I understand the logic of the 3rd prerequisite, that is, to ensure the lid is well formed and exact causing a vacuum when the teapot is turned upside down.  It is my opinion that many teapot sellers will not allow such tests in their shops.    I have conducted this experiment on my teapot but only with a teapot over a deep pail of water.  I am happy to announce I own a teapot, which has passed all the 3 requirements.

I find this book very good and informative.  A recommended read. 

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