24 October 2008

This is the place where my tea thoughts will reside

I was born with what many friends have described as "an old soul," and I take an interest in subjects that deal with passion, appreciation, and which can add to the peace and joy in my life. Having been enchanted by tea for more than 10 years, Cha Dao has been my most enduring interest.

In my life with tea thus far, I've been fortunate enough to have had great mentors and tea friends. My dad's dear friend Mr. Chu gave me my first memories of fine oolong teas. Winnie Yu of Teance Teas in Berkeley played the most influential role in my development into a true tea lover. I worked with her when she opened her teahouse nearly 10 years ago, and she patiently helped me to build my foundation for tea knowledge. Shiuwen Tai of Floating Leaves Tea in Seattle has, for the last 2 years, been exceedingly generous with her time in teaching me so much about high mountain teas and Taiwanese tea culture.

Mr. Zhou and his wife have used their precious time to teach me to see beyond the realm of the five senses and to tap into the deeper philosophical and energetic levels of tea. Their aged Dong Ding is the finest example of that varietal that I have ever tasted. The Zhangs have been gracious and generous in teaching me about roasted oolongs, and my good fortune will continue this winter when they teach me to produce their seasonal product.

And to the many other tea friends and mentors that have - and continue to - help me find that perfect brew, this blog is my dedicated effort to share the insight that I have gained from all of you. It is my wish that the tea experience will bring fulfillment into the lives of all whom are blessed enough to explore its meaning.

Cha Dao, the way of tea appreciation, is not about whose tea is the best and which tea expert is the true master. It is the cultivation of the mind, spirit and the essence of existence by way of the exploration into the deeper meanings of the brew. To all of you whom chance (and Google) have bought to my blog, I hope you will share my desire to contribute to the appreciation of tea in a manner which is positive and uplifting.

I've had thousands of teas and have had phases where a particular tea was my favorite. Long Jing, Baozhong, Bi Luo Chun, Alishan high mtn tea, ginseng oolong, even dragon pearls - these have all had their turns. But Tieguanyin and Dong Ding are what gave me my first tea memories, and these two have endured as my old stand-bys. While I am happy to collect all tea knowledge, my musings will be rather oolong-centric. The variation is so great within the oolong tea category that multiple lifetimes would not be enough time for me to learn all about these teas.

Again, welcome to my site, stay for a while and relax. There's always time for a good cup of tea. As the first pot of tea moistens your lips and throat, the mundane world slips away around you. Allow yourself to become enchanted by the artistry of the leaves.

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