Taking the time…


Us Westerners are a nation told that faster is better. We also see food and drink as a quick action with a single objective. I like Asian culture because it’s about slowing down and taking the time to sit and appreciate your surroundings; Worrying too much about the future can make the present pass by unacknowledged.

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The Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday. On the 15th of the lunar calendar, the moon will be most full and bright. The celebration includes spending time with your family and appreciating your togetherness. They do anything as long as it’s together. In families where a member cannot make it home for the event, they will often send letters and poems expressing their love and appreciation for the family members even though they are not physically together.

Now on to my favorite part: dessert and tea! Moon cakes are a very sweet traditional, wheat flower based pastry. After food, especially sweets, I find the best compliment is a light floral oolong. Oolong tea helps with digestion as well as being a natural palate cleanser (which is needed after consuming sweets!) Buddha’s Favor Oolong is most defiantly one of these teas. Light, floral, and refreshing, this Tieguanyin is a very calming and satisfying tea perfect for special occasions

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In keeping with tradition it is important how you brew the tea. Most of us know that you add a little tea and steep for several minutes. This is a good way to extract everything out of the leaf into a large amount of water but as I mentioned teatime is nothing to rush and that’s where “Gong Fu Cha”** comes in. It translates to “making tea with skill” the idea is to use a large amount of leaf in a small vessel for smaller amounts of time. The huge advantage is that you can sit and enjoy the tea brewed fresh each time but brewing this way helps bring out all of the subtle flavors within the leaf. A huge joy among tea enthusiasts is tasting how the flavors change throughout many infusions. Some would think the flavors would weaken after being used over and over but good tea stays vibrant for many infusions.

**General Gong Fu brewing measurements: 4g of leaf (roughly 4 teaspoons but varies by tea) per 100ml of water. Brewing for about 30 seconds per steep, adding 10 or so seconds for each additional infusion. Quality oolong like Buddhas Favor can easily be enjoyed between 6-8 infusions!

By Jeffrey Cleary @unyteaguy

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