Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Malaysia Tea Expo December 2017

I managed to make time to visit the Malaysia tea expo last week.  This tea expo was held at Viva Mall, Kuala Lumpur from 8 -12 Dec.

I was extremely happy to meet my Malaysian tea drinker friends and tea drinking groups.  It was something like a old class reunion; catching up with each other and comparing notes on our tea and recent purchases and having gift exchanges with each other.  

I was able to be an 'early bird' to the tea expo on opening day and I managed to snagged a few promotional items for early visitors to the fair.  You can see from pix 2 that I got a couple of 90s Sea Dyke Tie Guan Yin teabags and 2 old unused 80s tea bowls.  Teabags?  Yes!  And they are good. Old Chinese tea bags especially the Sea Dyke brands brew up an old medicinal tea taste and aroma which I simply adore.  I intend to give one of these boxes to my local teabag collector friend.  The 2 80s bowls was advertised as tea bowls.  They were, I recalled, more commonly used as rice bowls rather than tea bowls.  Chinese porcelain collectors will recognised the chop marks as from Jingdezhen.   A happy purchase.

I had the privilege to sample  teas while at the expo.  The new 1959 Xiaguan recipe tuo (250g) is blended with banzhang and yiwu tea leaves.  While at the Xiaguan booth, I was especially impressed with the 2007 iron cake that had a unique smooth sweetness which I liked.  I will add that iron cake to my shopping list on my next trip.

I was also invited to sample the Taetea (aka Dayi) 2017 super premium Xuan Yuan Hao pu erh tea.  With a asking price more than US$300 per cake at the fair, I sensed this cake will be an investment/speculative cake, a 'bitcoin' cake if you can call it.  The Dayi manager told me that this cake had Banzhang material inside and the accompanied literature that came with this cake also indicated that there was a blend of old bulang tea leaves as well.

I received a early Christmas gift of a 1999 Xiaguan tuo from a Malaysian tea buddy. Thank you if you are reading this. And.....I bought a teapot tray before I left the fair.  The dark green jade colour was simply too pretty to pass up.  I could hear the tray calling out to me to buy it......must be the due to the new Star Wars movie coming out this weekend.  Light sabres and Chinese tea?  Happy Holidays to all my readers.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Fairness Cup

Gong Dao Bei, literally translated as fairness cup is used in Chinese tea sessions to pour out or distribute tea into teacups.  

If you have brewed a teapot /gaiwan of Chinese tea and you are to pour the tea into 4 or more teacups, you may have the issue that there may be uneven distribution of tea in terms of amount of tea and strength of the tea.  You may discover some cups had more/less tea and some cups look stronger /weaker than other cups.  It is especially tough to ensure an even pour out of the tea (as in the last pix) where each cup has the same colour in terms of strength of the tea.  It will take lots of practice to achieve that skill.  Thats where the fairness cup is useful in a tea session.

All you need to do is to empty your tea from a teapot/gaiwan into a fairness cup. This will ensure the tea when poured out from the fairness cup into tea cups are similar and 'fair' in terms of strength of the tea.  Gong dao bei is an essential accessory used in tea sampling session to ensure uniform taste per infusion when sampling a tea.  

I have a few fairness cups.  This 1st one was given to me while I had visited a tea farm in Taiwan many years back.  The 2nd pix show  an old unused dark red 'wan shou hu jiang' and a rice porcelain cup.  I believed their original use were as mini tea pitchers or milk jugs.  I do see such similar shaped jars used to dispense milk when I am drinking tea or coffee in a restaurant.  The 3rd pix are fairness cups made from glass.  One is a stylized cup, with an extended glass spout, that sits in a bamboo holder while the one on its right is a double glass walled version.  

One good idea is to use another Chinese teapot as a fairness cup.......or if you have a teapot with a broken lid, keep that topless teapot as a gong dao bei.  In Guangzhou, I saw a new teapot being seasoned by using it as a fairness cup.  

My wife is eyeing to use one of my porcelain fairness cups as a gravy cup for our year end turkey dinner.