I was recently catching up on my blog reading and read the rest of Corax’s series on his trip to Taiwan and China. In particular one post struck me. It was actually one paragraph in that post that stood out amongst all of the other fascinating tea information:
Ms Yu’s tiny daughter, perhaps three years old, ran into the room, hurled herself into her mother’s arms, chattered away in Chinese, and then set about brewing an infusion of the tea herself. I marveled as she expertly manipulated the gaiwan (her mother handling the kettle of hot water), poured the tea into the sharing pitcher, and then poured out several cups of the tea, including one for herself. Ms Yu asked her if she knew what this tea was: ‘Da Hong Pao!’ said the little girl with emphasis, and everyone laughed. She watched me with huge dark eyes, then ran out of the room, returning with a tiny packet of fisted wu long cha. ‘Tie Guan Yin,’ she announced with a smile, and pressed it into my hand. Could I have been any more charmed? And: is this the fifth generation of the same family’s tea work, getting an early start?
How many three-year-olds in North America know the difference between Da Hong Pao (大红袍) and Tie Guan Yin (Simplified: 铁观音; Traditional: 鐵觀音)? How many could actually brew tea, let along perform gongfucha for guests? I continue to be amazed at how integrated tea is in most world cultures, and how little we’re aware of it here.