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 What is a Tea House without a Tea Ceremony?

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Mama Bear
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Posts : 188
Join date : 2008-06-04
Location : Portland Oregon, USA

PostSubject: What is a Tea House without a Tea Ceremony?   Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:45 pm

Photo below from inside the Celestial Seasonings Tea tasting room in Colorado..what a fun tour. This panda is their coolest Tea box illustration ever!!



We learned so much on this last trip about tea, the preparation as well as the culture of drinking tea in China.


Since we will be meeting often in our Bamboo Tearoom I thought you might be interested in this wonderful article from the the Portal Market .com on how to prepare and properly drink Chinese tea as we did




How to conduct a tea ceremony is not difficult, however, the steps to assure the finest tasting tea is very exacting, and if done properly you can extract the finest flavor a tea has to offer.



The Teapot and Tea Cup Preparation:

Curing the teapot and cups is one essential step. When you receive your teapot and cups they have to be cured. The teapot is made from red clay, and to seal the inside of the teapot and the cups you first place loose tea in your teapot and fill it with boiling water and let it sit for three hours to a day. Some tea masters advise to do this for a week before the teapot and cups and pouring pitcher are fully cured. This technique seals the inside of the teapot. Oils from the tea leaves fill in all the tiny pours of the new clay teapot.

There are also washing bowls as shown in the photograph. Pour the hot tea that has been brewing for 5 minutes and fill the washing bowl with hot tea and let the tea cups also sit in the tea. Tweasers are shown here to turn the tea cups in the washing bowl. This technique also seals the tea cups with the resins of the tea. Once the teapot, tea cups, and pouring pitchewr have been cured the next step is to get ready for the ceremony.

The Tea Preparation:

From this point in the tea ceremony it is a matter of style on how best to arrange the room and the setting. There is a very exact way a tea room is built, but creating a warm and inviting atmosphere is equally acceptable, and for many cultures tea room do not even exist. Relaxing music is always welcom.

Prepare the boiling water, and with the tea tweasers carfully place the tea into the teapot until it is about a third full. Make sure the teapot and cups are now on the tea washing tray. Then pour the hot water into the teapot until it is overflowing and then place the lid on, and continue to pour the hot water over the teapot. This allows the entire teapot to be hot. If this is Pu-erh tea let it brew for three minutes and then pour the tea out into the wash bowl and repeat the process. This is to clean the tea of any fermented taste as a result of the Pu-erh tea being so old (6-35 years) depending on the quality. Pour the second brewed tea into the tea cups and pouring pitcher allowing the flavor of the tea to penetrate the tea cups and pouring pitcher. The third time, pour the boiling water into the teapot and cover. Place the tea strainer over the pouring pitcher. Wait three minutes for the tea to brew. Pour hot water into the pouring pitcher to assure it is hot, and pour that into the teacups. When the tea is ready empty the tea cups and pouring pitcher of te hot water, and then pour the tea into the pouring pitcher through the tea strainer and then pour the tea into the cups making sure to never fill a cup at a time, but by passing the tea over each cup so they fill equally. The strainer step can be omitted, but it assures the tea will be perfectly clean of any tea leaves and tea pieces.

The Ceremony Begins:

There are also, what are called, tea sniffing cups made from porcelain. You pour the tea into the sniffing cup, and then empty the sniffing cup and smell the aroma of the tea. This is not essential. The aroma of the tea is certainly what is sought after; much like a fine wine. When using the small tea cups never drink or gulp the tea, but instead sip the tea through the lips and teeth making a hissing sound. When brewing Pu-erh tea you can get as many as 10-20 infusions before the flavor leaves the tea. Drinking and sniffing the tea in this manner can take over an hour and many fine conversations will ensue. The sign of a tea master is to insure that each round of tea tastes exactly the same.

teatime

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