Honoring tea and the art behind serving it
Photography by Brian Fitzsimmons
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When you propose a meetup with someone–whether it’s an interview, first date, or catching up with an old friend–what do you suggest? It’s typically narrowed down to coffee or alcohol. Coffee shops have the ambience perfect for morning or daytime congregations, while bars are popular for evening and late night encounters. And wine and beer are ideal offerings for home hangouts.
However, too much espresso will have your heart ready to bust out of your chest, and too much booze will guarantee a debilitating hangover (at the very least). The alternative: tea.
Drinks and social interaction are deeply entwined in the human psyche, and the have long honored this dynamic with gong fu cha.
Gong fu cha is the art of steeping tea with skill and attention. Although it has qualities of a ceremonial performance, gong fu cha is a discipline. The gestures and interaction with the tea look ritualistic, but everything has a distinct purpose. There is symbolism in the process, but it’s secondary to the practical purpose of making tea well.
“In tea culture, the emphasis is less on how the tea tastes and smells and more on the way it makes you feel. The energy of the tea—they call it the chi,” explains So Ha Fan, owner of West China Tea Company. He hosts nightly tastings at The Tea Spot, a cozy 200-square-foot hideaway nestled behind Spider House.
More tea please…keep reading!