If I go about trying to answer the really tough questions about tea, the endeavor will eventually fall flat, simply because I will lose the ability or drive to come up with these questions. I mean what do people really want to know about tea? Most people want to know a little bit and then say they know about tea. That is fine too. No judgment. I have opinions which I overvalue, so I am even trying to let go of these.
But if we are going to get to the nitty gritty, I feel that we are really talking about elevating an experience. Because that is all really gong fu tea or making tea in a certain style that has an element of evaluating the tea. It is a way of making tea and there is so much to be said about it. There are many important stories about where it is from and “what the rules are.” There are rules, but there are many schools. And the school will lay out the rules, and the rules will change, as your understanding progresses. This is a process of learning. The important part is to be able to experience a really awesome infusion of oolong or puer, piping hot, in a little sipping cup that holds roughly 30 ml of tea.
I honestly have to suggest this to everyone in the entire world, though the world would suffer a massive shortage of high quality oolong, because there just isn’t that much of it. We might have to start stockpiling now, but it would be worth it.
Experiencing tea in this way, after a few times, it has a serious impact on the way that a person experiences tea. Experiencing tea is still my favorite part of the gong fu cha session. Making it is fun, the ritual is relaxing and focusing, almost as if priming the body for the upcoming tea experience. It is so cool that the mind has an idea of what the flavor is, and that with brewing in this style it is possible to zero in and coax a tea to express certain characteristics that it would not otherwise be attainable using other brew methods. It’s almost that a gong fu tea practitioner is more of a chef in that they know exactly what they are trying to achieve or exceed at achieving before they begin. The idea precedes the creation and then the creation echoes back and informs the idea. Know your tea and you will soon be creating and recreating a symphony of flavor as well as a positive digestive experience. This is how tea leads to wisdom clearing the cobwebs and giving the body a chance to heal its intuitive pathways. The path of tea is an inward journey. In fact, tea is a great metaphor for a journey to the depths of our soul.