Gongfu Cha





Saturday kicked off the first class in a series on appreciating tea. Ben Youngbaer took us through several teas today in a bamboo floored yoga studio while the snow came down outside.



Changtai Group Sheng Puer (2006)
Li Shan Oolong (2014)
Shui Mi Xiang Oolong (2013)
Nepal Imperial Black (2014)
Shou Zhuan Puer (2005)


Each tea is measured out in hand-carved scoops and steeped briefly many times.  As the steeping continues, the flavors evolve, and the color and aroma change as well.



While drinking, we were told the legend of Bodhidharma and the first tea plants. Bodhidharma had been meditating in a cave for seven of a planned nine years, when suddenly he woke up after falling asleep. Furious that he had fallen asleep with only two years left, he cut off his eyelids and threw them in the dirt. From them, tiny plants sprouted: the first tea plants. 

Ben also told us of a purported 2,000 year old tea tree in China, and the important differences between young and old plants. Young plants might make a drinker feel ungrounded, while older plants provide a more settled feeling.


Ben writes and drinks over at Chaxi Collective. Chaxi literally translates as "woven mat", but it also indicates the type of ceremony we participated in today. Thanks to Grateful Yoga for the beautiful place. See you next time!