Tea meeting

I had tea today with the owner of the blog Mount Awakening Aroma in Columbus, OH, a rather unlikely location for a meeting of two Chinese men drinking some tea.

The two Chinese men were not alone, as there were others who joined in the drinking. We went outdoors, to a park nearby, and sat down and had tea in a picnic area, complete with a shade and a usable (but unused today) barbeque.

Making tea for a lot of people pose unique challenges. There were a total of 13 people at the meeting today. I thought we were getting maybe 5, so I brought with me my black pot, which would work well with 5-6 people using small cups. 13 people, however, completely changed that.

The Hermit of Mount Awakening, however, was better prepared, and brought along one of those 300 ml pots that are well suited for such large gatherings. We first had a Taiwanese gaoshan oolong, from Nantou. Those teas work well in these circumstances, pleasing all at the table and being rather easy to appreciate. The pot performed admirably, although the table was so long as to require passing of the fairness cup from one to another, because it was impossible to pour otherwise (these are basically park benches, you see…)

I tried to make tea using my black pot, with the biyuzhu that I brought along. It worked out better than I imagined, since the tea rebrews very well, so I was able to get three combo steeps of three infusions (i.e. pour infusions 1, 2, 3 into fairness cup, distribute, repeat). Then we had to move on to something else, and I was using my pot more for my personal drinking and for my neighbours while we had a lull in the tea making – mostly between water boiling for use.

Two more teas were made — a rather nice competition tea from Dongding, fired appropriately and thus removed of any trace of grassy notes, and then another Taiwanese gaoshan oolong, not fired as much and thus, in contrast, has much grassy character. There’s a reason, I think, why oolongs used to be much higher fired than they are generally today. I think I like it the way it was.

It’s always nice drinking tea out. I should learn how to better make tea for a larger crowd. I think being mostly a solitary drinker recently has really made me less adept at doing it for many people — it was ok when I was getting lots of practice at Maliandao, but not so much now. Sigh, even these things can get rusty.


Comments

Tea meeting — 4 Comments

  1. I drink tea most of the time solely. However, today I made tea for two family members without sipping a cup by myself. It made me uncomfortable not knowing if the tea is tasting good. I should practice this more before I even think about making gongfu cha for more than 5 persons.

  2. I’m so surprised to see you get this post out quicker than I do! Haha! Here we know how difficult to satisfy a large group — especially when most of participants are freshmen tea drinkers! I just wrote up my note and posted it on my Sina blog – in Chinese but with many pictures for a better illustration. Please take a look (http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4ed895c401009a3o.html). All of us appreciate your visit — my students said that they had a wonderful opportunity to witness a serious but friendly tea ceremony with you — me too. The 20 year old aged Oolong was impressive! As well as your classical styled teapot. I guess we did a good job! and look forward to meeting you next time.

  3. Robert: Indeed, not knowing how the tea tastes to somebody else is often a big problem. As Sherabch points out, this is especially problematic with newer drinkers. What you often feel is “normal” tea might taste very strange to them — either because you’re showing them a new genre (imagine first time young puerh drinkers) or when you brewed something just right for yourself — but far too strong for your friend who usually only drinks teabag greens.

    Sherabch: Thanks for having me again, and you do a much better job of writing it up (and letting the pics speak) than I do 🙂

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