Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yang As “Smell“, Yin As “Taste“: Yin Yang Theory As An Indication of Chaqi

Yin is more taste. Yin is descending energy. Yin is more cool. Yin is inactivity.

Yang is more smell. Yang is ascending energy. Yang is more warm. Yang is activity. Because yang is active, it is related with qi.

The longer (and usually slower) tea leaves grow on the bush the more warmth, and therefore yang they acquire. This says much about the warmth generated from certain flushes and seasons. Also, it is common knowledge that the older the tea tree, the more yang it generates.

The process of oxidization also generates heat. Oxidization occurs naturally and at a slow (longer) pace in the aging of tea, this creates heat, yang, qi.

The natural process of aging teas such as puerh generates wonderful smells and odours. These odours are yang, heat, and an indication of chaqi.

Conversely, the chaqi of teas that don’t age well such as white, green, and red tea, is the strongest when they are the freshest. This also happens to be when they smell the most fragrant, contain the most yang and purest chaqi. As these teas age and oxidize they loose their fresh scent and their qi- the energy of these teas can no longer rise as strongly.

Tea that ages well such as puerh also goes through an initial phase of loosing its wonderful smell and qi.

For fresh puerh, the qi and odours are strong for the first few years after production but then seem to wave before becoming stronger again years later. Years later as puerh ages, it generates much heat, yang, qi, though the micro bacterial processes of aging. Because the changes that occur during aging takes place very slowly- it generates lots of qi. As chaqi is generated once again, its odour becomes quite strong.

This is how “smell” can be used as an indication of chaqi.

14 comments:

Asiatic Fox said...

Well, I'm not really into the Yin-Yang thing, but a few things you pointed out appear to be quite true.

You said that for teas like green, white, and red, their chaqi is strongest when they are fresh. Yesterday I had a fresh white tea (picked this spring) and man did I ever feel amazing afterwards.

I had a 2003 meng hai pu'erh this morning, and I didn't get much of a feeling out of it. Like you said, it starts strong, wavers a bit, and then comes back stronger. I think this pu'erh is probably in the wavering stage.

-Fox

Matt said...

Fox,

Yes, these ancient Chinese theories are not meant to be thought of as precise rules that are scientifically proven. But more of a general rule that can be applied when necessary.

It seems your 2003 puerh is in that waving stage, or "pipe cleaner" stage (coined by our friend MarshalN).

Peace

Bret said...

I think the term MarshalN used was "drain cleaner" which I took as being a referance to the affect that some of these young puerhs can have on your stomach.

Matt said...

Brett,

Oh yes. You're right- it is "drain cleaners".

For sure it is a reference to the harshness of young puerh as its raw energy attacks the middle jiao.

Peace

Brandon said...

Nice to make one's acquaintance Mr. Cha.
See you around soon, spring buds having strengthened in yang.

- Brandon
http://chahai.net

Matt said...

Brandon,

It was great drinking tea with you and the others, unfortunate that we had to part so soon. Hope to share conversation and tea with you soon.

Looking forward to seeing your shots of the get together.

Matt

aohxspaaaz said...

Can you tell me were I might find the awesome tea cups you have used in your blog,some of them a very stunning! I am in the states and have no idea were to start looking for them.thanks

Matt said...

aohxspaaaz,

These cups are only avaliable directly from Korea. Try contacting Cho Hak from Morning Crane Tea Blog
(http://morningcranetea.blogspot.com/ )
and Dawan, Chawan, Chassabal Or Teabowl
(http://dawan-chawan-chassabal.blogspot.com/ )

he may be able to source some for you. If you like a particular piece you see here on the blog and would like to know the artists name just ask. This will help give Cho Hak an idea of what you are looking for.

Peace

Matt said...

aohxspaaaz,

You should also check out these cups by Petr Novak- that are heavily inspired by the Korean style:

http://teadork.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-hand-made-tea-wares-by-petr-novak.html

Peace

aohxspaaaz said...

Thanks I will the one I really like is the little white stone one in the may 24th post of yours

Matt said...

aohxspaaaz,

This is one of the smallest sized cups that master potter Sel Young Jin creates. It is a white erabo style, "Dal Pang E" (snail foot) cup. It is featured in this post:

http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/sel-young-jins-phenomenal-rustic-erabo.html

Remember that all of his pieces are different with their own idiosyncrasies and some are quite pricy.

Good luck,

Let us know what happens just in case anyone else is interested.

Peace

aohxspaaaz said...

Thanks I contacted Cho and we shall see what comes of it I will keep you posted!!

aohxspaaaz said...

The Cup in todays post is another that I am interested in!!!

Matt said...

aohxspaaaz,

The artist is Lee Kang Hyo. This is typical size for a Korean tea cup- larger than Chinese gong fu cha cups but smaller than Japanese cups. It is buncheong style and has gained much of its beauty from ware.

Type "Lee Kang Hyo" in the search box on the top left hand corner of this blog and posts on some of his works will come up.

Peace