Monday, February 04, 2013

An Oolong Tea Tasting for my Senpai

Stephanie sharing tea info

One of the things that has been a surprise as I've begun to study chanoyou - and a good surprise - is the extent to which I would become part of a community.  I had no idea how much my fellow students would contribute to my learning.  I'm the "youngest" student these days, in terms of years in study.  My Senpai, the students senior to me, play an active role in my learning.  I get the amazing gift of observing their lessons.  They provide instruction to me in how to behave overall and what to do in the prep area.  They are patient with me when I make mistakes and they encourage me to keep going.  They share stories of their own ah-ha moments.  They generously share all of this and so much more.  As a thank you, I hosted an oolong tea tasting yesterday.  I thought my Senpai might enjoy an afternoon sampling teas from another part of Asia.

David preparing to brew
My partner in this endeavor was David, of PDX TEA.  We met at his shop, a wonderful space full of windows and tea wares.  We shared the presentation of the teas and I thought we made a great team!  It's a real joy to work fluidly with another person. 
Unrolled Buddha Hand tea leaf - look at that giant!

We sampled 5 teas:
- Baozhong, lightly oxidized (from Floating Leaves)
- Buddha Hand, lightly oxidized and lightly roasted (from Floating Leaves)
- Bai Hao, aka Oriental Beauty, highly oxidized (from Imperial Tea Court)
- Tie Guan Yin, light oxidation and deep roast  (from PDX TEA)
- Aged Miaoli, part oxidation, medium roast, aged 15-20 years (from PDX TEA)

I love having personal relationships with my tea vendors!  Shiuwen of Floating Leaves helped me select which teas to feature in this event.  Roy of Imperial Tea Court provided detailed information on the Bai Hao, including pronunciation guidance for the Hsinchu Province  ;-).  David of PDX TEA not only offered the use of his space, but shared his wisdom and brewing skills. 

A busy tea brewing table!

Tea is so amazing.  There's a lifetime of study ahead!

Thanks to David for snapping the photos of me!


La Tea Dah said...

What a wonderful opportunity. This looks like a fun way to learn --- and David's tea shop is a delightful place for study!

I was recently gifted with Baozhong, lightly oxidized (from Floating Leaves). The friend who gave it to me is working right near the Floating Leaves tea shop and brought me two bags of tea from them because she knew I would enjoy them.

I am going to go make some --- right now!
Loved this post, Stephanie! Thanks!

Steph said...

Oh, you are a lucky woman La Tea Dah!

Angela McRae said...

So amazing indeed! And I had wondered what a "senpai" was (I thought it was a particular person), so it's nice to learn a new term. And that huge tea leaf -- mercy me!

jan e. said...

Great job, Steph and David. I love the generosity and passion of
tea people!! Portland tea people are coming of age.

relevanttealeaf said...

How awesome. You learn from your Senpai, but they learn new tea experiences from you apart from the chanoyou experience.

Marilyn said...

Stephanie and David: It looks like a special time of education and sharing. I wish I could have been a little mouse in the corner to have listened and learned from you.

Teafan said...

This looks like a very fun and educational day!

Shiuwen said...

It looks like so much fun! Wish I could be there....And thank you both for sharing the Oolongs.

David Galli said...

It was so much fun doing this event with you, Stephanie!

I'm up for another one any time. :)