The perfect tea comes from countless waiting – wait to harvest, wait to stir fried tea, wait for the time to transform, wait for the completion of the gathering of tea, water, pot and people, releasing the flavor of the tea.
Brewing tea and drinking tea are in fact one word – “waiting”, waiting for the harvest of the tea leaves, waiting for sun withering, wait for mixing, waiting for stirring fried tea, waiting for the transferring of time, and waiting for the boiled water. Everything is the art of waiting. Growing up with grandpa making tea, Wang Junqin, the product development director at Wang De Chuan Tea Fine Chinese Tea, he will put out a full set of tea ware out, practicing from the beginning to the end in order to adjust the mood, whenever he feels restless.
“Tea people practice their mind through boiling water. It is the same rationale behind preparing the ink for people practice calligraphy.” He says.
What is the good tea? “You want to drink every day, acceptable price and you like is the good tea,” Head of the Tungting workstation at the Tea Research and Extension Station, Huang Zhengzong, you don’t have to limit yourself to the health benefits of polyphenols and amino acids, as long as it is good for your mood, its advantage is more than health effect.
“At first, it was treated as drug, now it becomes a type of drink. In the eighth century BC in China, tea enters into the upper classes and the hall of poem in an elegant style.” The Japanese esthetician Okakura of nineteenth century wrote the “book of tea” reveals the status of tea before tea was exported to Japan during Tang dynasty.
During the time Taiwan under Japanese rule, to meet the need of international demand, the governor office – General of Taiwan’s tea experiment field built in 1903, now was renamed as Tea Research and Extension Station, has written the developmental history of Taiwan tea industry.
During the prosperous era of tea, the “South Sugar and North Tea” has created the exporting record of making up the 60% of GDP in 50s. After the prosperous ear, now set the domestic demand as an example, which needs approximately 40 to 50 thousand tons. However, the annual production is only 10 to 30 thousand tons, which can only satisfy the fine drinking. “The rest, due to the rise of canned tea drinks, the additional 20 to 30 thousand demand in tea are relying on import.” Huang Zhengzong says.
Huang Zhengzong has bred NO. 18 Taiwan Tea (Ruby black tea), which has entered the market successfully. He mentions because of the geographic conditions of Taiwan, many mountainous regions with marine tropical climate, plus the different altitudes and location of planting tea, the tea produced has attached with “local flavor, the taste of the mountain”, therefore, partially fermented is the main feature of Taiwan tea. Also, the delicate making process of partially fermented tea can results different tea flavor and rhyme depend on the degree of oxidation. The most typical example is High Mountain Oolong Tea.
Spring Water, Summer Red, Autumn Flavor, Winter Breath
Although it says “spring tea and winter tea have the best quality, autumn tea follows, summer tea has the worst quality”, Huang Zhengzong, who has studies tea for more than 20 years, thinks the reason that spring tea tastes better, the secret is because of the tea, which is the tea soup. The winter tea because the tree live through winter, their own mechanisms to protect them against cold are automatically triggered. Therefore, the winter tea is rich in amino acids and nutrient, the flavor is better. However, because the flavor of autumn tea and summer tea, it is better to drink black tea. Through the four season, tea trees have multiple harvest dates every year. After transformed by tea processing steps, in his eyes, they all have their own characteristics, which is depended on the drinkers’ preference.
“Because different types of tea, every tea has its own appropriate time to drink.” Wang Junqin says, the spring tea that most people refer to are the tea made of the fresh tea leaves harvested in the spring. The six major categories of tea all have spring tea. However, because tea is the drinks for hobby. It is largely related to personal preference, physical condition, eating and drinking habits.”
Wang Junyi uses brewing Chaozhou Kungfu tea to adjust mood and train personality through the process of boiling water. He will also simply use mug to brew a cup of tea with handmade cotton tea bags, when he is thirsty but don’t want to drink water.
Potters Huang Jianan
Potters Huang Jianan uses rational research spirit, injecting the expression of emotional aesthetic.
Thin embryos of clay pot, training under high temperature.
Recently invited by Cultural Bureau of Taizhong to register as Potters, holds his personal exhibition early this year, Potters Huang Jianan has loved tea for a long time and claimed that he “drinks almost any tea”.
The long drinking tea history makes him with an engineering background concentrated in the research of tea and tea pot. Through endless experiment, he learnt that drinking green tea, such as High Mountain Oolong, should use the teapot mainly made of Japanese clay, which has the best performance. If it’s the old tea, the ratio of clay made from Miaoli, Taiwan is the best.
In term of the creation of pottery, he uses rational attitude, pursuing the completion of perceptual. Because he has get to know pottery in school and he also loves art, therefore after getting post-graduate degree in Chiao Tung University, majored in engineering, he has devoted to pottery for more than 20 years.
He says, “Tea drinking is perceptual. However, if you brew tea with normal teapot, it will let the tea presents the best flavor and value.” For example, heavily baked tea and old tea need to use teapot made of clay, which have many air holes. It can best release the flavor of old tea.
Tea culture cannot be divided from visual aesthetics. Huang Jianan use his personal preferred aesthetics of Song dynasty as reference, collect natural glaze, and he has focused on the study of firewood. Using Taiwan dragon eye wood, heating them above 128 degree. During the process, the naturally formed “ash” will fall on the body of teapot and have the effect of coloring naturally. Also, due to the location and angle of where the pot has been placed, the patter or crystal flower vary on the surface of the pot. This kind of improvise is an extreme test on both experience and judgment, similar as the dance between the air pressure and flame.
The challenge of making pottery with firewood is not just high temperature, what’s more it need to continuously firing for three days. Also, it need to accompany with the temperature and pressure at that time. “In a way, it is a training for patience. It is just like tea manufacturing cannot be replaced by machines completely. It is very much up to the weather.” Says Huang Jianan. Mixing Miaoli clay and Japanese clay, Huang Jianan uses high temperature firewood, the natural falling ash to color, letting every embryo looks different.
“Tea drinking is not wrestling, you only need to focus on brewing tea.” Huan Jianan has purposely made thin embryos of the teapots. You can imagine how high the failure rate would be when they meet high temperate firewood. With the strong intention of self-demand, he only made on teapot each day. He once did this for 3 months, making around 100 teapots, which all failed during the making process with firewood. Also, because the air pressure is too low, the temperature cannot be increased, a batch of pottery all lie flat and lost the energy under the temperature of 128 degree.
But he believe, making tea is a spirit, a culture. Rational training has supported his discover forward. “I believe the ultimate side of science is art.” Huang Jianan says, perceptual has to be based on rational, behind which you have to have enough knowledge to support. It will become the real art.
Head designer of Legend Lin Teaism, Chen Nianzhou
Chen Nianzhou, the head designer of Legend Lin Teaism, has been devoted to tea for 40 years, deciding to complete his dream of tea drinking in terms of “beautiful taste, color, flavor” by designing tea wares. His coral series of silver teapot, using the new method “Silver and gold wires on bronze”, which use to cause collectors to bid at the largest Chinese international auction company China Guardian Auction Co., Ltd.
Gold and silver teapot brews tea, not luxury
A rhododendron at the window seems like welcoming the guests, rosy inside the white, the good time of spring is filled in the room. Cats jumps on to the long tea table, and walks grace among a few of the cups and teapots, which seems like inviting guests to have a seat and sharing a good cup of tea.
Once you seated, you find this teapot is not normal, not cinnabar clay or purple sand. The whole body is made by metal. The shape of the teapot handle is not like common teapot, which is made of ebony wood. The shape is elegant and delicate. The orange pot button is carved into a small pumpkin, very cute.
The cat – “sis” jumped onto the tea table designed by Chen Nianzhou. Wandering between tea wares, it seems like inviting guests for tea.
Here is the home of Chen Nianzhou, head of the popular European Legend Lin Dance Theater, and Lin Lizhen, art director. Besides handling the group’s business, Chen Nianzhou is also the landscape architect. The tea tables and chairs, seated by hosts and guests, and the teapot in front, are all designed by him.
Chen Nianzhou says while brewing tea, “Water is the mother of tea, tea ware is the father of tea” If you want to drink good tea, you have to have good water first. Then, what is good water? He says, there is ancient saying that “Boiling water with gold and silver teapot will make the water better.” The tea book from Tang Dynasty “16 tea products” mentioned that tea ware should not abandon the use of silver and gold.
This is not talking about the Royal style in drinking tea. Chen Nianzhou says that choose the purity of 99.9% silver is because the silver hydronium can kill bacteria and soften the water, making it sweeter. And silver heat quickly, water contains silver hydronium is smaller than normal water molecules, which is faster penetrating tea leaves, relieving the flavor and taste of the tea.
While Chen Dannian was talking, he holds the handle of the teapot. His thumb slight pushes, turn the wrist slightly, the amber tea is poured into the tea sea. He turns the wrist again; the tea is completed back into the teapot without leaving a single drop. The spout is not “drooling” at all. “The most important thing for a teapot is its spout.” Chen Nianzhou could not help but shows some proud.
Making modern “new antique”
Even though the teapot is small, but he uses hydrodynamic design in spout, which makes the tea reflux smooth, stopping at any time. It will prevent the water leaking all over the table. Utilizing the ergonomic design and lever principle in design spout, even if the silver teapot is filled with tea, serving tea can still be effortlessly.
Additionally, the single handled teapot has a benefits. Tea fans can enjoy the color of teapot at the same time. Chen Nianzhou says with smile, without fingers covering the body of teapot, which is indeed “curved”. The teapot in front of the eye is small, just as the size of the palm. The outside of the teapot has been dyed black through vulcanization process. The slight reflection makes it looks like ancient silver ware, covered with a dense orange forging mark. Among them, there are several relatively big pot holes, which is the marks getting from the tempering, a total of 60 thousand tempering.
Chen Nianzhou says, the inspiration coming from the skin texture of the coral reefs’ cave. The led and the pot button is coming from the candlestick rock in the shape of nipple. Taiwan rose out of the sea due to the plate movement. There are many coral reefs terrain, using this he expresses his feeling of missing hometown.
Drinking a cup of Taiwan tea from the teapot, representing Taiwan’s coral reef. The taste is different, leaving good fragrant inside your mouth.
Next, Chen Nianzhou put out the gold teapot from the coral reef series. This time the pot bottom is not color stone, instead it is a barnacle-shaped hole allowing the inflow of water. The size of the hole is small, about one-fifteenth of the lid. He says because he doesn’t want to flavor of tea to spread.
From analysis and design, 3D modeling, material selection, forging, carving pot button, every teapot made by Legend Lin Teasim is purely handmade. Each one has different styles, which are all the hard work of Chen Nianzhou and his team. Chen Nianzhou likes to make metaphor of teapot making as making rocket. And his team is the NASA to him.
He looks at his work full of love: “Without devotion and believe, you cannot make other people feel moved.”
A small teapot, is not only the adults’ toys, but also the enjoyment of a quiet and peaceful life. But Chen Nianzhou hopes it will be the future antique that can be passed on for hundred generations, and the current “new antique”.
Three types of Taiwan tea recommendation
- Sanxia Bi Luo Chun
Under the Japanese rule, because Japanese all love to drink green tea. Sanxia was selected to plant tree to meet the need of Japan.
Wang Junqin says, because Sanxia is the region in North part of China with relatively high dimension. There is Northeast monsoon, once the weather getting cold, the plants know the first. Therefore, they can retain the most amino acids.
The fresh tea buds collected from the tree tea in Sanxia, to keep the freshness of the tea buds, they are blanched into tea without delay. Bi Luo Chun, originally manufactured in Suzhou, known as “scary fragrance”. The name was giving by Kangxi Emperor. Later, he decided to give it a more elegant name – “Sanxia Bu Luo Chun”.
- Alishan Oolong Tea
Inside the altitude of 1400 – 1600 meters, the Alishan tea area is surrounded by clouds and rain, with huge temperature difference between day and night and wide area to plant tree, is earliest place to plant tea on the high mountain area.
The planting patters in Taiwan is dominated by updating every 10 years, depending on the amount of harvesting, density and other condition.
However, Wang Junqin says, even though Taiwan prefer new method, as long as the cultivation methods are in line with nature, they can extend the updating time to every 30 to 40 years. It has more sustainable value.
- Muzha Zhengcong Tie Guan Yin
The flavor of Guan Yin means the special flavor of the mineral contained in the tea. Because the baked tea is less irritating to the stomach. This is because the more the tea is baked, the more the caffeine is lost. Additionally, the tea is cold, baking with charcoal can reduce the coldness.
Wang Junqin recommend Zhengcong Tie Guan Yin. Traditionally, not many people recommend Tie Guan Yin in summer. However, if you store Tie Guan Yin for a while, the taste of fire will gradually disappear. The taste will get older and stronger, which is suitable for spring.
The production location of Tie Guan Yin is located at the back of National Chengchi University, which emphasize the processing technique. It cannot be rushed. Therefore, the time needed for processing, baking is twice the time of other tea. The price is higher.