Tuesday, February 26, 2013

China Tea Book, China Tea

Of all the things I do, I love reading the most.  I love to learn new things, love stories about different cultures and people, really love mysteries, and learning about tea.

My latest book is absolutely stunning visually.  Luo Jialin  in his The China Tea Book, has truly wonderufl photos of tea gardens, tea rooms, mountains, forest, rivers and a few people.  There is not a great deal of history or the mechanics of tea manufacture and there are only a few teas discussed in detail.  I am not sure if these are personal favorites or one of the many lists of 10 Best Teas of China.  It doesn't matter.  He discusses briefly not only how they are made, but what spiritual significnce each has, as well as how and when to drink them, according to time of day and time of year.  Somehow, it is a very peaceful book that takes me away to a calm and gentle world.

The second half of the book delves more deeply into the spiritual and aesthetic senses of tea.  I haven't read that far yet, but I'll get back to you.

My only quibble is that fairly often a paragraph is repeated twice in succession.  I think the editors need to sharpen their skills a bit.  I am finding that many books have just huge errors in them, as less careful editing is done, often mechanically. 

Today's tea comes from China, specifically Yunnan.  It comes to me from a tea swap and is Yunnan Imperial from the Wabi-Sabi shop in Taos, New Mexico.  The dry leaves have no particular scent, just fresh tea (Not to be sneezed at).  There is some gold dust in the packet and golden tips on the leaves, which are relatively small.  I brew it my standard 3.5 minutes for teas new to me.

It brews up into a lovely smelling golden brown brew.  There is a hint of wine barrel and one of floral to the aroma.  It is brisk and full bodied, with some spice and some floral, but no chocolate.  Drat, I do like cocoa in my Yunnan.  Nevertheless, it is a decent cup of tea.

This is in the very tiny village of Dickshied, Germany looking across a valley to Hilgenroth.  In the Great Palatine Migration of 1710-12, some of my grandparents left these villages to sail down the Rhine to the "promised land" of the British Colonies in America.  They soon broke with the Brits, who treated them like slaves, and moved from the Hudson River Valley to the frontier of Schoharie Valley (New York State) where they could own their own land and prosper.

No comments: