teanamu chaya teahouse wishes you a prosperous, peaceful and meditative new lunar year of the steady horse with a new year painting from a Japanese Tea Master and a haiku.
Tag Archives: tea adventures
A fabulous evening of Beijing and Kunqu Opera, & an exhibition of the costumes, inspired me to learn about ‘tea garments’. In Chinese opera costume symbolism an embroidered phoenix represents the Empress, peonies mean beauty, waves & clouds mean a character’s important. ‘Clown’ or ‘fool’ characters in Chinese opera get the accompaniment of drums, clapper, gongs & cymbals just for them. The ‘cha yi’ or ‘tea garment’, usually blue, was worn by clowns & innkeepers in Chinese opera, with at least two main designs. In the Water Margin, Lin Chong, head of the Imperial Army, suffered betrayal, exile, a snowstorm, then attempts on his life. Tea garment-wearing characters are usually ugly but amusing; a blob of white paint over their eyes and nose symbolises quick wittedness or else ‘nature’.
A 16th century poem about teas in Fujian written by Zhou LiangGong containing a lively description of changes in Fujian tea attitudes, production and appreciation since the Song Dynasty. The 6th line of the poem can be seen inscribed on an old clay tea stand at chaya teahouse.
Last weekend we celebrated the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of Chaya Teahouse by bringing back the same menu we served when we opened our doors. We take our inspiration from the Japanese ‘ichi go ichi e‘ (一期一会) : ‘Treasure each encounter, for it will not recur!’ We try to create a pleasant calming interlude whose memory our tea friends will treasure.
‘Distinguished Leaves’ by Britain’s Tea Poet Elizabeth Darcy Jones simply oozes charm and is very British! She writes ‘poetea’. Her verses are jewel-like: a gorgeous, original gift! ‘Distinguished Leaves’ imagines 37 teas as characters with their own personalities. With a foreword by Nigel Havers! These tea poems are sensual, witty, clever, musical, charming, quirky, and graceful. For Elizabeth Darcy Jones we created Tea Poet’s Tisane, Organic Emperor Pu Erh 2008 vintage with whole rosebuds. Hear her read from ‘Distinguished Leaves’ at Chaya Teahouse, 2pm on Sunday 11 March!
We’re grateful for a thrilling 2011 at teanamu. We launched Chaya Teahouse – filled at weekends with friends taking pleasure in fine, properly brewed tea, pâtisserie & dim sum – ‘medteatation’ circles & tea poetry books by Elizabeth Darcy Jones & Lorraine Mariner, & created Tea Poet’s Tisane for Elizabeth. We plan new teas in 2012, menus, events, classes, a newsletter, even a study trip to China!
One Victorian traveller brought rhododendrons, jasmine, azaleas, peonies, magnolias, kumquat (and tea) from the far east. The story of tea thief Robert Fortune, a botanist who served the British Empire by snatching tea to India. Robert Fortune (the Scot who stole tea from China) travelled in Chinese dress (& pigtail) to avoid unwelcome attention. How tea thrived in India/SriLanka only after Robert Fortune stole 20,000 teaplants and all the secret knowhow. Download Robert Fortune’s book ‘Journey to the Tea Countries of China’ free of charge.