Yesterday I participated in a Chinese Tea Ceremony in the tradition of the Ming Dynasty style. This is my fourth or fifth time taking part in such an event. During the ceremony, Tea Master Sifu Ken Lo, brewed for the participants handpicked, rare whole leaf teas of an exquisite quality, served in the Kung Fu (High Skill) method with Yixing tea-ware. Aside of the teas, the event included Master Lo reading his own original poetry and exhibiting his calligraphy and other works of art.
Although I have enjoyed these ceremonies right from the first one I attended, I found in yesterday’s event that I have been acquiring a more refined taste for these high-quality teas. I remember participating in my first tea ceremony, a couple of years ago; Master Lo had asked the attendees to describe the teas’ unique flavors and scents. I recall being impressed with some of the participants’ ability to articulate what I was not yet able to perceive. Yesterday’s event was, for me, a very different experience. Flavors and scents exploded in my brain’s receptors, creating a sense that I can only compare with a Northern Lights like aura.
Much like with exquisite wines, special types of cheese, superb paintings, music, and just about anything of high artistry in life, an acquired taste is not always a given; in some, if not most fields, it takes time and practice. There may be no big insight in this statement, yet, for me, a person who never considered himself a foodie or someone that appreciates much in the way of the food, it was a different experience. It might go to show how critical are practice and repetition, especially with a good instructor, when refining skills is at hand. In this day and age it is a fact so easily forgotten. We are the ready-made generation, the information-age millennium, where one can obtain, or so it seems, just about anything he or she wishes instantly online. Yet there is no substitute, nor shortcuts, for real mastery.
Learned from: an experience at a Chinese Tea Ceremony