Making Room for Tea

Once Upon an Afternoon

Not sure about you guys but working from home can make the work-life balance a bit difficult. 有時我想全日喝茶和看電影,因為我要做工作,所以我會首先將工作做完。然而當我休息時,感到枱是很零亂。This makes things a little cumbersome since I have to move stuff around.

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3 perspectives on the amount of tea for a Gaiwan

Can you guess the tea?

I think it’s important to preface that this isn’t talking about 功夫茶/工夫茶 specifically since after all, there are many different ways of brewing tea with the gaiwan whether they’ve been documented in museums or elsewhere。Rather, this piece is focusing on three different viewpoints on the amount of tea per 100g of water you should use for this particular brewing vessel. These perspectives come from tea veterans/teaheads/tea-hobbyist (however you wanna call it) and one certified tea master by the Mainland that I’ve talked to during my time in Hong Kong between 2019-2020.

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The Idea of Authenticitea

Drinking for an Oolong Time
Drinking for an Oolong Time

Get it? Puns aside, I was inspired by the recent interview Shunan Teng of Tea Drunk had with Big Coffee Newsroom. She makes really good points about how tea is viewed in America and how these perceptions, alongside an over-emphasis on Chinese cultural traditions can isolate or detract people from tea if they don’t know or understand them <see reference 1>. The first thing that came to my mind when I read this is that ‘otherness’ comes in when contextualising tea within cultures beyond America, such as Chinese, British and so forth. This is not bad per se since obviously, these cultures can intersect and so often do but sometimes, notions of what is the ‘proper way’ to make and enjoy tea can creep its head within tea circles through such comparisons. Again, while this can be harmless in concept, it doesn’t help much with tea education as it emphasises rigid ideas of tradition and authenticity. I suspect one of the main reasons behind this may come down to the differing stances on the way Chinese tea should be brewed. To break this down, I will focus an enduring topic on two of the most dominant brewing styles for Chinese tea, “Gongfu Brewing vs. Western Brewing”, by taking a step (albeit brief) into Chinese tea within the context of both historical and contemporary China alongside tea in a global context.

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On Tasting Tea

單叢: I like your haircut! 單樅: Thanks, I just got it today!

I’ve gotten a few questions on how I taste tea, specifically how to pinpoint the flavours of a tea. I think like lots of people, I sourced a bunch of information from veteran tea drinkers, tea masters, took notes and decided to put them to the test. Some methods I agreed with, some didn’t work for me.

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