Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tea Readings: Straight from the book!

A notable contributor to the world of tea is Okakura Kakuzō (February 14, 1862 – September 2, 1913). He was a Japanese scholar recognized for his involvement in the development of the arts and culture scene in Japan. Okakura Kakuzō is well known as the author of The Book of Tea, which teaches the central role tea plays in everyday Japanese life.


Okakura Kakuzō


Here are just some of the beautiful, and some very deep, words by Okakura Kakuzō from The Book of Tea:


“Tea is more than an idealization of the form of drinking; it is a religion of the art of life.”

“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.”

“A man without tea in him is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”

“Tea is a work of art and needs a master hand to bring out its noblest qualities. We have good and bad teas, as we have good and bad paintings -
- generally the latter.”

“Like Art, Tea has its periods and its schools. Its evolution may be roughly divided into three main stages: the Boiled Tea, the Whipped Tea, and the Steeped Tea.”

“In the liquid amber within the ivory porcelain, the initiated may touch the sweet reticence of Confucius, the piquancy of Laotse, and the ethereal aroma of Sakyamuni himself.”

“In Japan, I took part in a tea ceremony. You go into a small room, tea is served, and that's it really, except that everything is done with so much ritual and ceremony that a banal daily event is transformed into a moment of communion with the universe.”

“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”

“There is no single recipe for making the perfect tea, as there are no rules for producing a Titian or a Sesson. Each preparation of the leaves has its individuality, its special affinity with water and heat, its own method of telling a story. The truly beautiful must always be in it.”

“Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”



~ Okakura Kakuzō




Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chai Wares: Neat knits for your teapots!

I’ve come across some really interesting decorative items for teapots I just had to share with everyone. You may have seen them. They are teapot cozies. What are they exactly? Well, think of them as little sweaters to cover teapots. Now why would a piping hot teapot need a sweater? For a couple of reasons I’ve been told: They help to keep your hands from getting burned by the heat penetrating from the teapot, and, they look pretty darned cute! I’m leaning more to the cuteness factor on this one. 

Here are just some of the ones I think are really neat, and I gotta say, there are some super talented people out there!


A purple something.


Woof!


A snail's pace.


Bunny.


Crowning glory!


A flower pot!


Home sweet home!


Hoot!


In the jungle!


Just dessert!


Lovely lady!


Little lad!


Mouse.


Hello Officer!


Paddington Bear.


Pineapple.


Sly fox!


What a buzz!





Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Cuppa: Take a leap and fall for tea!

A few posts back, I shared a tale of forbidden love. Lovers jumping to their deaths into a waterfall all because of their different social classes. I also mentioned that tea plants grow around the site the waterfall is located at. Lovers’ Leap is the name of the tea, and it is what’s in my cuppa for tasting!

Right off the top, I really liked this tea. I’m so glad I managed to find it available at a local tea shop. A bit pricey, but, Lovers’ Leap is a fine tea, and worth trying at least once. 



Leapin' leaves!

A fresh, sweet, grassy, aroma was released upon opening the package. The dry leaves are charcoal in colour and have a wiry appearance. I prepared the tea using 1 teaspoon for each cup of hot water, and allowing the tea to infuse for about 5 minutes. A beautiful, reddish-golden colour was produced, that had the scent of honey. 

Lovely colour!

As suggested, Lovers’ Leap is best enjoyed on its own, and I agree. It’s far too light to be mingling with milk. I had several cups, and I found that allowing the tea to cool down a bit, tasted much better. It’s slightly astringent, and really does have that biscuit-like taste as claimed. I think shortbread cookies would pair so well with this tea.

I’m happy to have taken the plunge. Though my feet are firmly planted on the ground, I’m jumping with delight for Lovers’ Leap!




Saturday, October 8, 2016

Teaology 101: Today’s post is brought to you by the letter 'F'!

Up now, it’s time for 'F' words – ha, ha – in my tea dictionary. Check out all the previous letters:

A    B    C    D    E


Fannings: Refers to the size of very small leaf particles. Fannings are a grade larger than dust and may also be used in teabags.

Fermentation: This is a manufacturing process where fresh green tea leaves are used to make black teas and oolongs. Oxidation is actually a more accurate term, which refers to a chemical transformation of the tea leaves as they are exposed to air. This reaction produces teas are a darker, reddish-brown colour with their own unique scents and tastes.

Fibery: These are teas that contain excessive stalk.

Fibrous: Tea that includes pieces of stems. Much like fibery.

Fine: These are exceptionally good teas in their quality and flavour.

Firing: A step in manufacturing where the tea leaves are heated in order to stop the oxidation process and to dry the leaves, making the finished product suitable for packing, storing, and selling.

Flaky: These are poorly made pieces of tea leaves that are flat and uncurled.

Flat: The opposite of brisk, these are dull, lifeless tasting teas that lack astringency.

Flavour: A characteristic taste and aroma of fine teas, especially ones that are high grown.

Flowery: A tea grading term describing leaves with light or yellow tips or buds. The term may also refer to teas that have a sweet and floral taste.

Flowery Orange Pekoe: This is a tea grade that refers to large sized leaves containing a lot of tips.

Flush: This refers to the separate tea plucking seasons within a year where each harvest produces its own characteristics such as appearance, flavour, and aroma. The tea buds take approximately 40 days to blossom into a complete plant of new growth leaves.

Formosa: This is old name of Taiwan and may also refer to certain teas, typically oolongs.

Frivolous: These are teas that are rich in aroma, but lack in taste, thus, leaving the taster deflated.

Fruity: A poor taste caused by over-fermentation. In some teas, such as oolongs, this is a desired characteristic.

Full: A strong tea with good colour, and a lack of bitterness.

Fully-fired: This describes liquors with a slightly over-fired taste.