Saturday, August 15, 2020

2012 Jingmai - Yunnan De Yu Tea Factory


I decided to drink one of my 'odds and ends' tea today.   These are the tea that I had bought in small quantities when I visit a shop when I am overseas.  There are many occasions when I had sampled tea at a teashop (2-3 samples) and I would tend to buy something from the shop before I leave.  There is usually no buying obligation for me to make a purchase when I sample tea at a shop.....but when I sit through a couple of samples, I would tend to buy a little tea from them.  Most of the times, I was undecided on making a purchase (especially for the newer produced tea).

I got these cakes at the Hong Kong tea fair in 2012 and I had sampled a few pu erh teas at this De Yu tea factory booth.  I decided to purchase 2 cakes of this Jingmai tea and even got the owner signed on the wrapper of the cake. I even remembered  passing one of the tea cakes to Prof Lawrence, the famous tea celebrity blogger of Tea Addict when I met him at the tea fair.

Time flies. Yes, I wish I was now flying to Hong Kong and China to have tea with friends and visiting tea shops and tea fairs.  The recent pandemic has really put a dent on my travels.  Many post offices worldwide still continue to issue 'severe delay' notices for international mail.  I had sent out a couple of boxes in June and it had taken more than 2 months for the parcels to reach my overseas friends.  Many of us enjoy buying stuff online from overseas but waiting for the orders taking 2-3 months to be delivered would be quite challenging and frustrating for both for the buyer and seller.  I will be mailing out tea via registered international air mail, but please be prepared to wait more than 8 weeks for your box to reach you.   

Back to this tea.  I decided to use a travel tea brewing gaiwan set to have a session of this pu erh.  This  8 year old tea is really good.  The arrival is slightly bitter and herbal, but the long faint oily and sweet aftertaste is very satisfying.  Mouthwatering and very smooth.  Very good workhorse as this tea brewed up a dark amber coloured beverage for more than a dozen infusions.  Impressive.  Sigh...I wish I got more of this tea.  

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Tea In Chinese Culture

As a Chinese tea drinker, you would have realised that tea is brewed and drank differently especially when in Europe or America.  Milk and sugar are not used in Chinese tea.  Tea bags are a less common sight as well in a Chinese eateries.  As I am in Singapore, I enjoy the various versions of tea offered in my country. I savour the Indian Masala tea where milk and spices are added to the tea, and you get a sweet, spicy and milky addictive that I normally have a second cup after I finished the first.

Tea in Chinese culture.  Oolong, pu erh, dan chong and long ching are some of the common teas drank by Chinese tea drinkers.  Many drink tea daily, during and after meals, in the office and at home.

Chinese tea is used in rituals and even religious ceremonies as well.

In religious ceremonies, cups of Chinese tea are place on altars and offered to Gods (taoism) or ancestors. You may have even seen these offerings when you visit a Chinese temple as well

In wedding ceremonies,, Chinese tea is offered by the wedding couple to elders of the family.  Drinking the tea symbolises the acceptance and in return the elders will give the couple a 'red packet' (gold or money) as a blessing as well.  

Pix shows an unused 90s wedding Chinese tea set.  The dragon and phoenix motifs represent the groom and bride respectively. Sweet red dates tea are usually selected as the tea of choice when tea is offered to elders of the family.