For experiencing a real Taiwanese style tea ceremony we went to Taichung (in chinese Taizhong) to a very famous tea house.
Up front we had a first look onto the city itself. Taichung is quite a bit bigger then hsinchu. You’ll find a lot of skyscrapers and big housings together with broad streets. Also it is quite green as there are a lot of parks for relaxing and leisure.
One can find there a very nice and big Confucius temple. It looks a bit the same as the one in Tainan but it seems a bit bigger.
It’s a nice place to wander around and lay back a bit. However as it is straight beside a main road it can be a bit nosy…
Pleased by the sunshine and warm weather we made our way to one of the many parks of Taichung. We went to the middle lake Taichung park. It is the city’s main park and just like the name indicates it has a lake in its middle.
It’s indeed a very nice park for wandering around, watching Taiwanese doing rowing so completely wrong that it’s funny again and enjoying the sun :).
After some time we tackled then the walk to the Tea house. It’s name is Wu Wei Tsao Tang.
You can miss it, really!. It pops out of the busy concrete city like an island in the sea. The tea house is really a little green oasis in this big grey street. The architect really took as an example a historical, traditional old teahouse and build a few of them, connected by wooden bridges in the middle of a little artificial lake.
This combination presents itself awfully beautiful and peaceful and you feel ready for drinking tea old fashion wise.
For doing this you get a box made out of bamboo which has a some bamboo bars on the top, so leftover or excess teawater can be poured into the box. Of course you get some tea and some water for it. Additionally there is a can with a funnel and a filter, coming together with the teapot.
The tea is then put into the teapot with a bamboo spatula, so that the bottom is well covered. The pot is filled with water and every tea water is immediately poured into the box. This first round is just for cleaning the tea. Then the pot is filled again and the water is poured through the filter into the can. The pot is filled again so that the tea can steep, while the cups are warmed up with the teawater in the can. Also this water is then put again away into the bamboo box.
Now its time to drink some tea. After one minute of steeping time the high cup is filled with the tea which has been poured out of the pot through the filter into the can.
Presented on a little bamboo tray both cups are given to each person. You put then the small but wider cup on top of the high cup and flip them. The tea flows out of the high cup which is then lifted to nose to enjoy the aroma and smell of the tea. You drink always the tea out of the small cup.
The procedure is now repeated several times, while increasing the steeping time always about 10-15 seconds.
The philosophy behind this very extensive procedure comes from the Taoism. On the one hand you really celebrate the tea itself and enjoy every tiny sip. On the other hand it is suppose to get yourself in a kind of meditating state. We remember the name of the tea house , Wu Wei Tsao Tang. Wu wei means freely translated something like doing something without doing it, or also doing something without any desire. coming from the Taoism this kind out action is the highest one can reach.
Indeed it is a really relaxing and peace bringing way of drinking tea, however the real point of doing something without doing it is something I haven’t understood yet :).
But still it is a very nice activity for a relaxing saturday :).