While in Taiwan, Alfredo, Elyse, Rie and I visited a tea planter named Rebeca Yu in Hsinchu. She has a lovely tea house in a beautiful little town (but I’ve forgotten the name of the town) with a gigantic Buddah statue. Her tea house has comfortable places for people to sit and enjoy tea, and, a variety of traditional musical instruments in various locations of the tea house. Just walking through her tea house, there were so many things to look at that brought pleasure to our eyes and out of the bustle of town–into a quiet, special place.
Rebeca produces several different types of tea, and she steeped a green (made that same day) and a very fragrant Oriental Beauty for us to enjoy. She exudes the calm, quiet connection with tea as she prepares it which got us all kind of calm and quiet (funny how that happens). She didn’t talk much but quietly said “the tea will tell you how to steep it…” As we sat there waiting for the steep (and I think it was during the green tea steep) she would lift the lid of the gaiwan, look at the tea and say “not yet”. This tea was steeped far longer than I would have expected, but it was wonderful.
I loved this! How often we go on automatic pilot when steeping tea. There is rarely a consistent one “right way” to steep a tea, and importantly, it reminds us to pay attention to the leaf and to look at the delicacy of the leaves before pouring hot water over it.
Being present with the tea—a wonderful gift tea offers us.