Tang dynasty tea

The rather relentless schedule of a new semester is making it hard to drink much tea, much less talk about it.

For class this Thursday, we’re talking about Tang dynasty tea, which means that I will at least give it an honest try to make it in class.  I’ve never done it before, nor has anybody else I know.  It’s a bit complicated, because if you read Lu Yu’s (sparse) instructions, there isn’t much to go on.  There are a lot of problems.  First is selection — what tea to use?  Nothing we have nowadays approximate what was produced back then.  The closest might be some sort of poorly sha-qinged green puerh.  Then, the roasting, which should be done on the spot but is again a difficult thing to negotiate.  After you roast, there is the mashing/grinding.  Obviously, I don’t have the proper grinder for tea — I need to find some silversmith to make me one, some day, somehow.

Even thinking about this, not to mention the salt that I might add to the water, really makes you appreciate how truly different tea was back in the day.  We’ve come a long, long way from Lu Yu.


Tang dynasty tea — 5 Comments

  1. Wow. What an identity, to make such a historical tea. Personally I couldn’t bring myself to do all that’s required with roasting and grinding. It’s enough for me to drink that historical raw Pu-erh. About adding salt, know that it is appropriate to get ahold of some unrefined sea salt not only for the sake of history but for your health if you’re going to drink tea with salt in it.

  2. I came here from your post on All Over Albany, and I have to ask, as a SUNY student in Albany: oh my goodness what class is this and may I take it, please? I’m truly serious. I’ll have to find your email and ask you privately about it, of course, but I’ve seen your blog before and would love to learn about tea from you.

    Of course, if I can’t, that’s fine. It’s still nice to meet a true tea lover here.

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