Ever since I became professionally involved with tea, I’ve had many people approach me to tell me their horror story of being pulled by the arm when they’ve visited China; being taken to a room where a Tea Master makes the tea, they receive a thimble of tea and are then charged “an arm and a leg” for the privilege.
Now I can sympathise with these stories because if you think about it, when us Brits make a make a cup of tea at home or in the office, we put the kettle on; go away to do something; wait for the click; return to the kettle; pop a teabag or tea leaves into a cup or teapot; make the tea, add milk and sugar if desired, before we head back to our work station, or desk at home. We will then continue to work without a thought for the cup of tea we have just made.
In a true Gong Fu Tea ceremony the participants are paying for the privilege of watching the Tea Master at work as he or she prepares each piece of tea ware, wakens the leaves, makes the tea, offers the tea to the onlookers and then the tea is sipped and enjoyed by each participant. The British tea-making ritual is therefore completely different to the Chinese Gong Fu Tea making ritual.
I have therefore adapted the Gong Fu Tea ceremony where I seek to explain each and every step and its significance to the whole Gong Fu Tea Appreciation experience. This is so that participants can fully appreciate what is being presented to them during the tea making ritual as well as the end result of sipping the tea. I also encourage the sharing participant’s thoughts and experiences of the tea with the others in the group in order to create a sense of communi-tea and mutal respect for the tea that has been presented in front of them. So as a nod to my Chinese and British upbringing, I decided to call my events, Chinese Gong Fu Tea ceremony with a dash of milk. Here is a short clip of my tea ceremony in action. Thanks to @iatebrisbane for taking the clip.
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