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Puerh Tea Ceremony(Puer and JS Pottery: between Lovers and Close Friends)

I love to drink tea, enjoying the peace that tea brings me, and thinking about life that tea inspires in me.

My Grandpa liked to drink Da Wan tea, and my father even ate rice in tea soup. With all of those sweet memories, I chose to major in tea science. Although I did not work in any tea company after graduation, tea has always accompanied me and comforted me like a close friend. During the past ten years, I also made a lot of friends through tea. One of my tea friends once told me, “You know what? It was tea that saved me from my rebellious life when I was a teenager.” Such stories encouraged me again and again, guiding me to be a tea person, influencing more people drinking tea.

Among all the tea wares, Jianshui purple pottery is the best one for pu’er tea. It originated in the ancient town of Lin An in the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties. Jianshui pottery is known for its hardness, brightness, elegance, beautiful sound, and unique decorative calligraphy. It is high in iron content, delicate, making pu’er tea mellower and sweeter by softening the water , reducing bitterness and astringency

I especially love Jingmai pu’er tea because of its taste and pleasant impression. Jing Mai, in Dai minority language, means “New City”. The tea mountains of Jing Mai are located near the Lancang River. It has a very long history in tea. There is a saying that Ban Zhang pu’er is the king, Yi Wu is the queen, and Jing Mai is the princess. Within my understanding, Jing Mai pu’er is soft and flowery, just like a princess.

There are six factors that influence the taste of tea. They are: the person, the tea, the tea ware, the water, the environment, and the skill. Among which, tea wares are called the father, and the water is the mother. You are able to show the tea’s true taste only if you know its character well and know how to promote it. Today I would like to be a matchmaker for Jing Mai tea and Jianshui tea wares, and witness their romance grow and grow.

After the first brew, Jing Mai tea begins to bloom in the tea pot. It reminds me of an ancient beauty, who looks up gently at the hero she admires. Then she dances heartily to show her appreciation of being adored and understood by her hero. I wonder who you are thinking of at this very moment. Your lover? Maybe a close friend?

Only quality fresh tea leaves, superb processing, and proper storage will achieve the tasty pu’er tea. There are necessity and chance. Sometimes accident may also result in a mellow pu’er tea, so it goes in life. We must be serious in life, but know that we should also take it easy, even in difficult situations.

“Please don’t laugh at the way that we always treat tea as a great beauty.” I would like to be a lovely lady as pu’er tea, bringing happiness and peace to people around me, all the while turning mellower and mellower over time.

It is a most pleasant thing to drink cups of pu’er tea together with the family, and enjoy the harmonious atmosphere. We shall all store some pu’er tea so that we can recall our life together with friends in later years while sharing the tea. Vocabulary: 1 大碗茶[dà wǎn chá]: tea in a big bowl, was widespread in BeiJing. It is also common in ChengDu and Chong Qing city.

2 建水紫陶[jiàn shuǐ zǐ táo]: Jian Shui Purple Pottery

Jian Shui purple clay, one of the most famous four potteries, can be dated back to the late Song dynasty and became famous in the Qing dynasty. They are the perfect masterpieces combining both teaware and calligraphy, representing the unique traditional folk art of Yunnan's Jianshui county. Most of the works are purple, while Jian Shui pottery takes advantage of five-color clay which are red, yellow, purple, cyan, and white. The whole process is done by hand and takes nearly a whole month. The special skills include painting on the pottery (泥上作画), carving and decoration (阴刻阳填), disordered calligraphy (残贴), glazeless polish(无釉磨光), etc. These processes result in the finest of Jian Shui pottery, known by the beautiful name of South Yunnan Red Jade.

3 景迈[jǐng mài]: JingMai mountain located in south-western Yunnan, near the border of Burma, is the largest ancient tea park among the twelve famous tea mountains, coordinates: N 22° 10′ 26″ E 100° 28′ 49″. These ancient tea plantations are mainly distributed in the mountain area around 1250-1550 meters above sea-level, and are concentrated in three areas: Manggeng-Mengben ancient tea plantations, Jingmai Dapingzhang-Nuogang ancient tea plantations and Mangjing ancient tea plantations, the highest elevation reaches 1662 meters (Nuogang Mountain) and the lowest 1100 meters (Nanlang Valley). In a total area of more than 10 thousand MUs(1870 hectares), there are about 1.13 million ancient tea trees, among which the oldest tea tree has a history of 1400 years. Less than 10% of the tea trees are aged 500-1000 years, about 30% are 300-499 years old, and the average age of the tea trees in the entire biocenosis is about 200 years. The nominated area is not only the largest and the best-preserved ancient tea plantation area of the region, but also the largest ancient cultivated arbor tea plantation of the world. Over more than one thousand years, native people have built a close and friendly interaction with the ancient tea plantations based on the discovery, cultivation and utilization of tea, thus forming a charming mountain settlement landscape and rich regional ethnic culture. Because of this, the Chinese government in 2013 applied for the "Ancient Tea Plantations of Jingmai Mountain" to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and this has passed the initial process, undergoing further steps.

4 戏作小诗君无笑,从来佳茗似佳人[xì zuò xiǎo shī jun1 wù xiào, cóng lái jiā míng sì jiā rén]: From one of the famous tea poems which characterises tea as a beauty, written by the well-known poet named Su Dong Po in the Song dynasty.

(Mabol@Kunming, Dec, 30, 2015)

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