[Video] Many tea friends who visited chaya teahouse marvel at the size of the tea cups we use to serve tea here and wonder how one holds the cup. Now, these tasting cups are designed to be small so as to slow you down. Despite being small, one can drink quite a lot of tea while whiling the time away with good company at chaya teahouse.
Tag Archives: tea ceremony
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!
In Chapter 6 of Lu Yu’s Cha Jing, he wrote about the mythical ShengNong said to have crystal stomach so he could see tea cure 72 poisonous herbs at once in own belly! He describes fascinating issues about tea including history and typology. Tea was sometimes drunk with dried ginger, cinnamon and scutellaria in China far back as 2nd century AD. He said we drink alcohol to remove stress/sadness, but tea for a clear head and he advised to not use water source that’s too fast flowing or stagnant agmonst various things.
Nine of us gathered with our own tea-sets in a silent & serene tea-sharing circle round the Kyoto Garden’s stunning lake. I spent a restorative, meditative 45 min at Holland Park enjoying a simple ritual of sharing tea with eight amazing people! Rain stayed away and the sun came out for last Sunday’s 1st open-air medTEAtation in beautiful Kyoto Garden Holland Park! The ducks, squirrels and tourists were curious & bemused as we sat in the park to brew our teas for medTEAtation. Holland Park medTEAtation went so smoothly, all were delighted, & we came back to Chaya Teahouse for more tea & chitchat.
Profile of tea artisan Pei Wang, at teanamu chaya teahouse, explaining how he has made the sensual gong fu cha tea ritual central to his lifestyle. Brewing tea is pressing a pause button in a stressful life, taking a few minutes to be in the present, attend to the tea leaves ‘dancing’ in their tea pot and enjoy the calm, focused, meditative state that we need for social, emotional, physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Pei takes the tea ritual out into unlikely, busy, spaces: an unusual tea event in Trafalgar Square promoting mindfulness. Teanamu chaya teahouse is in Notting Hill, London (www.teanamu.com).
Peranakans are a mix of Malay & Chinese. I love their 12-day weddings, ‘nonya’ food & gorgeous costumes! For days before a peranakan wedding, rice flours are made, veg chopped, sambal fried. All the women folk get involved! Bridesmaids on the peranakan wedding night serve pig trotters, roast pork, pig’s kidney, heart, liver & tripe. Peranakan newlyweds ritually kneel & bow before their elders serving them a sweet ‘tea’ of Chinese red dates, longans etc. A Nonya bride must be serious, not show her excitement, while the groom’s friends try to force her to laugh! Recipe for Bak Wan Kepiting (crab and pork ball soup), a must have for traditional Peranakan wedding night.
Tea since Ming era integral to weddings: bride & groom ‘respectfully offer tea’ to guests/elders & perform 3 symbolic tea rituals (‘sancha’). Bride & groom eat date/lotusseed soup in setting-tea ritual to ‘stick together’ their hearts & drink ‘hehuan cha’ for life of conjugal bliss. On 3rd day of marriage new couple serve tea to wife’s parents & receive gifts including a cockerel and hen as pets (plus tea & jewellery!) Candied winter melon, candied persimmon or dried longans signify sweet, mellifluous marriage & red fruits are auspicious at weddings. Dropped teacups at wedding are very inauspicious. Good matchmaker immediately says luo di kai hua (hit the ground and blossom) to make it ok!
Chachan Yiwei 茶禅一味 (tea zen one flavour) is the motto of teahouses like teanamu Chaya, now open Sat/Sun 12-6. At our new Chaya teahouse, we’re using the Gongfu Cha ritual – it lends a Zen quality to our tea drinking. Fill the tea cup, empty the mind and getting out of your own way. Restoring the natural function of mindfulness, imagining swaying bamboo in a gentle breeze, tea-drinking for the soul! ‘Let our tea cup be an extension of our hand’: a touch of Zen mindfulness.