Here you will find. . .
Inspiration ~ Information and an Introduction
Tea as More than a Beverage!
We hope you will share and join us as we journey
the world of Chado . . . the way of tea
The Ancient Villages of Dali are home to many distinctive ethic groups. In this autonomous region Bai People have lived and created traditional folk crafts since the 3rd Century in China. These skills are as basic to daily life a tea is, 3 course tea in particular, with it’s symbolic messages yet another Bai traditional which continues today!
Tie-dyed batik is created today primarily in the hands of older, more patient ladies. The level of detail is truly amazing! I will never look a batik in the same way again.
Schools created within simple courtyards teach younger girls the skill of creating first thread then art with embroidery techniques only the sharpest eyes can complete. This craft is done by girls “when they can” between working on the family farms and caring for children. Each women sees this as a powerful way to gain some level of independence with a certain level of grace. One piece created by a very proud, Yu Ling Li, took about 2.5 months to complete proved irresistible to me and will be a treasured piece in our family for many years to come!
After visiting both it was Time for Tea
What a treat we had when we were invited into this beautiful Bai couple’s home for first a home prepared meal from their garden and then 3 course tea!
The meal was simple, clean and delicious and then our REAL TREAT. . .
Watching, tasting, learning all about 3 Course Tea.
It all starts with careful care in preparing the fire, heating the water just right and setting each piece of tea ware exactly as it should be.
First Course: Roasting tea leaves to a amber color, rich toasted fragrance and bitter taste. They are then added to boiling water with the meaning served up to you that . . .
In this life there is suffering before there is pleasure.
Second Course: More water added to this same bowl now with brown sugar, nuts and seeds added. Again served to us in a small cup along with. . .
Before we can enjoy sweet there needs to be sweat.
Third Course: Same bowl, more water added to previous ingredients and now some honey, ginger, and Peppers are added, served in a small cup. . .
As we age we need to strive to maintain a placid frame of mind.
This traditional, thought process and ritual of serving to guests and sharing with families has been occurring in Bai People’s home since the Ming Dynasty and yet remains very appropriate today.
With some sadness we leave this peaceful courtyard and charming hosts as we head to the Village Market Place.
Here tea is shown, sampled and sold not as a luxury or special pleasure but rather as a need as basic to life as food.
A Short Drive and what seems like Centuries away we arrive in New Town Dali
The streets are lovely, clean and door after door is yet another tea shop. Each one has something slightly different, a special way to prepare or simply the company of the owner to set them apart from the rows and rows of competitive stores all on the same street, yet everyone seems to make a good living and most are full of people exploring the latest, newest or oldest treasure they are seeking.
Amazingly many also have the owner enjoying a cigarette using a huge water pipe as he prepares your tea.
I seriously could not believe there is no foul smell or smoke lingering in the shop.
Not my idea of pleasure but clearly better than a traditional cigarette and apparently a tradition in Yunnan dating back before anyone can remember.
Our Day concludes enjoying an amazing cultural performance back in the Village!
We begin our journey in business class on Air China. This is an Star Alliance partner with United, the carrier we most often use, but this time the schedule with Air China and the connections we needed to make was going to save us considerable time and so we opted to book both international and all of our domestic flights on Air China. Unfortunately the particular plane making the SFO to PEK route was part passage and part cargo plane. The seats which appeared to recline actually require your feet to be tucked under the seat in front and never elevated above your shin making for a long and uncomfortable flight. The domestic flights were fine, none over 2 hours and those were all first class, however the return was even worse than going. It started with Air China cancelling the flight from Hangzhou to Beijing which meant we could not make our international connection on the scheduled day. They said “due to weather” however other airlines were making the route, they in fact attempted to put us on one only to realize we would not have enough time to collect baggage and recheck on their international flight, so we spent 2 days and nights in the airports of first Hangzhou and then Beijing. They did move us from business to first class, however this time the plane was also a cargo/passenger and this one so OLD first class did not recline more than an easy chair and it was over 100 degrees in the cabin for the first 2 or 3 hours and never did cool down to the point of wanting to use the blankets. We were in the upstairs section however downstairs was nearly as hot. To add to the unpleasant circumstances, I swear there was smoking occurring in the cockpit, when I asked the flight attendant she immediately said “oh NO smoking is not allowed, let me check” she never again returned to our seats to update us. Until such time as the planes are updated and I can be SURE we are not flying a cargo plane on this 11-12 hour flight, we will stick with a less appealing schedule and stay with United. OK so much for the airline review – on to the Tea Journey!
We land in Beijing with 3 hours to make a connection to Kunming which ended up to be 2 hours late and so we arrived in Kuming at 2:00 AM. Nice NEW airport, however HUGE and not totally finished so once there we needed to walk from gate 69 (I THINK the very last gate) to the exit which took 45 minutes. There we had a car and guide waiting patiently to whisk us to the hotel where we would check in, spend 8 hours before checking out to take yet another flight to Dali where the real journey was to begin.
It was raining on and off and the sky gave you a feeling of being so small as we explored this gorgeous Buddhist Temple. Notice the magical blue sky just above the middle of the Temple.
In the photo above you are seeing three pagodas which are survivors of 1200 years of earthquakes and wars, now a sublime symbol of the City of Dali!
I love long hallways like this one and the ceiling with its very detailed painting reminds me of the care people use to take. There were lots of these all over this complex consisting of several buildings, halls of worship and sub-Temples.
Now it is Tea Time! We visited the Puer Yun Ling Wholesale Market teashop and enjoyed many tastings including an amazing Black Lychee Rose
that is crafted like a fine Jasmine using Rose petals and Lychee fruit to naturally scent the leaf, which is grown in the high mountains at 10k feet.
This occurs over seven days of repeating the process and the finished tea is simply lovely.
YES we managed to tuck some in our suitcase to share!
Oh yes that pretty smiling girl is the owners niece and her English name is
Shinderella wonder if she means Cinderella? She was a princess!
Stay Fit Demonstration at World Tea Expo 2012 in Las Vegas.
Tea Docent Nez and Janet of Isabella Catalog discuss the benefits of Stay Fit Green Tea Powder and sample the non dairy ice cream made fresh on the convention floor.
Click here to get Stay Fit and start adding green tea to your diet.
Tea Growing Regions of Japan.
Tea is grown almost everywhere in Japan Commercially and privately. The Tea Docents have traveled extensively throughout Japan and have always managed to come across a tea field or two. What is presented on this video is some of the well known regions that supply the international tea market. We are most excited when we find small artisan tea farmers with exceptional skill.
Stay Fit Green Tea Powder is powdered organic Sencha and Persimmon from Japan. No sugar added like other green tea powder.
This recipe uses Organic Oat Milk with Vanilla (Pacific Brand).
1 Qt of oat milk to 4 sticks of Stay Fit Green Tea Powder.
Pour the oat milk in to a mixing bowl and add the contents of 4 Stay Fit Green Tea Powder. Mix or blend the mixture until no clumps are visible. Pour the content into an ice cream maker and about 20 minutes later, enjoy the healthy alternative to other green tea ice cream products. Remember that it has no dairy products so it will be more like a sherbert. Add fruits to compliment the dish.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can just put the mixture in the freezer and dish it out like an Icee.
Tea Harvesting in Japan.
See the various ways in which Japanese Green tea is harvested. From the traditional to the most sophisticated technologically advanced harvester in the world. So advanced that you punch in the farm code and it knows how much it needs to cut. It can drive itself in a straight line. They even let me help harvest.
Wagashi – Japanese Green Tea Cakes.
This video was created by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture to share its love of all things tea with the world.
Japanese Green Tea.
This video was created by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture to share its love of tea with the world.
An interesting video by the WSJ on comparing good vintage wine and tea.
The climate, the region, processing technique, aging, all play an important role and producing an outstanding product it be tea or wine. I’ve always said tea to Asian culture is like wine to western culture.