Friday, November 26, 2010

Section 4. Storing Tea

"It must never be exposed to wind, for it easily becomes cold; if put too close to a fire, it soon goes yellow."

from Cha Sin Jeon- A Chronicle of the Spirit of Tea, a copy of Zhang Poyuan Chalu recorded by Cho Ui, translated in Korea Tea Classics

Those who do not have a copy of Korean Tea Classics do please follow along and participate by referencing a different English translation available here from The Leaf.

This tea classic will be covered one section a week which will go on for 24 weeks. Feel free to jump in with your commentary at anytime.



Matt said...


Notes on section 4:

This quote is referring to the energetic exchange that improperly stored tea can incur. Traditionally in Asia, wind is thought of as a pathogen. It is often paired with or carries the cold pathogen. Cold is thought to be especially harmful to digestion. This quote is essentially saying that if you improperly store tea it might change energetically to a tea that hurts the stomach and digestive process.

Fire or heat is also though of as a pathogen. It is often paired with or carries the dry pathogen. In this case fire causes dryness which dries out the tea leaves and turns them yellow. The meaning of yellow tea leaves was discussed in the commentary of Section 3 see this link:

"If tea is overdone it is yellow. Yellow is the colour of Earth, it is neutral in nature, it neither rises nor descends. If tea is overprocessed it will lack the essence of wood, the energetics of green. It will fail to raise, its yang energy will be depleted. Instead it will be neutral."

This quote is essentially saying that if you impropery store tea it might change energentically to a tea that is dry and its essence lost.

This quote is speaking of both yin (cold) pathogens and yang (heat) pathogens that can negatively influence the energetics of improperly stored tea.


Rebekah said...

-- Food for thought, reading this section just after your earlier post about Japanese green teas. These jars would have been porous clay or porcelain? No plastic, no metal, sigh.

Matt said...


Hahaha... no metal, no plastic.

One imagined it would be glazed earthenware, not too porous, rustic looking with husks of bamboo visible, an old scorched brick on top. But considering the time period this was written in China, it could have easily been porcelain.


Anonymous said...

Three days elapse for the tea to recover its quality. What does it mean “recover its quality”? Energetic meaning? Are three days enough? Or, on the contrary, aren't leaves loosing qi when they stay three days as-is after the first drying?

Why has the brick to be “heated in the fire”?

(I will soon have to apologize and bow low before my pu er cakes I try to store at home. Not the ideal conditions. Better brew them and be happy!)

Matt said...

Julien ÉLIE,

"What does it mean “recover its quality”? Energetic meaning? Are three days enough?"

After production tea often acquires the characteristics of the fire, it is said you can "taste the fire". This is remedied by letting the newly produced tea rest for a period of days. Often tea just off production will taste rubbery, smokey, sharp, not as nuanced, ect. Some people prefer this taste as it often closely tied to the rhythms of making tea. Energetically the tea's nature also changes before it stabilizes. Naturally tea restores its essence if given time.

"Why has the brick to be “heated in the fire”?"

A long time ago they didn't understand completely about bacteria and mould. This procedure of heating the brick in the fire then cooling it has to do with sterilizing it and making sure all the moisture is removed before it is placed over bamboo.

Good questions.