Friday, July 1, 2016

The Secret Ingredient In Tea

Really? Is there a secret ingredient?

There was a scene in the 1st movie of the animated cartoon, Kungfu Panda, where Mr Ping (Po's father) was about to reveal the secret ingredient of his noodle soup to his adopted panda son, Po.

Mr. Ping: “Po, I think it’s time I told you something I should have told you a long time ago….the secret ingredient of my secret ingredient soup….
The secret ingredient is... nothing!
Po: Huh?
Mr. Ping: You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient.
Po: Wait, wait... it's just plain old noodle soup? You don't add some kind of special sauce or something?
Mr. Ping: Don't have to. To make something special you just have to believe it's special.
[Po looks at the scroll again, and sees his reflection in it]
Po: There is no secret ingredient…

Wait a minute! What about my super old, patina filled yixing teapot? or my special glacier water? or my pure silver kettle? Aren't they a sort of 'secret ingredient'?

By the way, my American friends told me there was a 'secret ingredient' used in iced tea. They added…….baking soda. A generous pinch of it and apparently, makes the tea tastier and less bitter.

There is a 'secret ingredient' in brewing Chinese tea. It is time.  A common phrase used by my friends is 'I have no time'.  Everyone is given 24 hours a day and you cannot choose to have more or less time in a day.

To appreciate Chinese tea, it is my opinion you need to set aside some time to fully enjoy your tea session. You need time for
a) to know your tea - how the tea brews, to enjoy the taste and aroma, to enjoy how the tea affects you
b) to understand your tea ware - how your teapot pours (fast or slow), the finer details of your tea ware and to appreciate the effect your tea ware has on the tea.

I also enjoy tea for that quick getaway from the fast pace of life in living in a city. A few minutes of quietly sipping a cup of tea does make me smile after a day's work. What about you? Does brewing Chinese tea make you to slow down your hectic pace a little? Perhaps forcing you to be more careful or deliberate as not to cause an accident to your precious teapot?  Are your teacakes only kept as a hobby like a stamp collection (in mint condition, never opened and never drunk)?    Let me know, and if time permits, and share your story with me.

Time for a cup of tea.

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