Qing Shan Ju Tea House, Beijing, China. November 18, 2011. This tea house is located at the East Gate of the Temple of Heaven. Part of our tour was to attend a tea ceremony in this place where they show you how to properly prepare and drink tea, teach you about the specific benefits of each tea and, the best part, let you taste the teas for free. (The catch, of course, is they will try and convince you to buy tea at the end of the ceremony. Since the one preparing our tea was so nice, we decided to buy one can of lychee tea which came with two peepee babies!)
I’ve only been a fan of tea a few months before I left because my mom suddenly wanted to eat in Teriyaki Boy all the time and we would always ask for the house tea. I know it just tastes like water with a little hint of something, but still it was pretty nice. I got even more used to it in HK, of course, since they serve free tea in almost all restaurants there. It’s also fascinating how I’ve seen my classmates bring their special tumblers with the container for the tea bag inside. I guess the market for tea drinkers is that significant. Haha. I’ve also seen tea served from different things: from a simple plastic pitcher, from actual teapots and my favorite: from a small bowl with the tea, then the waiter pours hot water into it then you have to cover it then quickly pour it into your teacup. It was challenging but was cool – seemed a pretty authentic way of drinking tea. So, with my growing appreciation for tea (also milk tea), I was pretty excited for this tea ceremony. (Plus, the fact that it’s free made it a lot more fun, unlike our friends Eric and Sander who paid 500 yuan for a tea ceremony.)
Tea Ceremony. I feel bad now for forgetting the name of our teacher. She was sooo nice. That’s good marketing skills people! So, she taught us how to drink tea. It sucks because I forgot most of it. I know we have a video for it but I can’t find it now. I just remember that the tea was in the taller cup first then poured into the small round one (please correct me if I’m wrong). What I can’t forget though is that after the tall cup is emptied, we were instructed to smell it then roll the thing on our faces for a quick hot massage. It may sound ridiculous but it felt pretty good. Then, you drink from the small circular cup; holding it with your three fingers, the ring finger supporting the bottom and the pink finger pointed upwards. Classic. Then you should finish the tea within three sips representing, health, something and longevity. My memory sucks, I’m sorry.
She also said that teas should be served from clay pots because the pots absorb the taste and makes teas in the future better tasting. She also showed us two cute things: a) peepee boy, a clay baby figuring which you immerse in cold water for a while, then you pull it out, pour boiling water on it then the baby pees b) this flower, which of course I forgot. It starts out as a green ball and then after immersing it in water, it opens up into a beautiful flower. (Seriously, they got good marketing strategies there!)
We got to taste four types of tea: a) Ginseng Oolong Tea which (according to their brochure) is good for memory, energy and kidney health b) Lychee Black Tea good for anemia and an upset stomach c) Jasmine Tea good for eyes and liver (stuffing Jasmine tea in pillows is also apparently good for headaches and sleeping problems and d) Fruit Tea which is good for digestion and which you could also just eat on its own (minus the water and everything).
Play. I loved this part of the tour. These are those things I really want to try out and experience. Aside from taking pictures and checking out the sights, I wanna do things like this. Like in the famous Move-Eat- Play videos (found in vimeo), my favorite really is Play. There’s so much to learn in this world. My favorite part was when he tried out glass blowing, pizza making and flamenco dancing (well, I think it was Flamenco.) I’m still trying to figure out how to travel and do those things at the same time, especially if you’re broke and have limited days in a certain place. Mmm. Suggestions? I hope you learned something, even just a little since I didn’t really get to explain the tea ceremony properly anyway. At least I tried. Hoho.
I think, life is a series of trade-offs.