Friday, August 12, 2011

Korean Tea Classics Book Club- Dong Cha Song- Hymn In Praise of Korean Tea- 9

"In his letter requesting tea, Master Dasan said (that the best times to drink tea were): "When the flowers begin to open early in the morning, when clouds float white in a clear sky, on waking after a daytime doze, when bright moonlight is reflected in a clear stream.""

Feel free to join the online book club at anytime by simply purchasing Korean Tea Classics. Dong Cha Song is 17 stanzas in length, we will go through each stanza week by week. Jump in and join the discussion as you please.



AdamMY said...

A few things I noticed about this section. The touch upon blending stock from multiple years, which I do not know if it is still routinely done in China or Korea, but I know certain traditional Japanese Tea houses such as Ippodo, blend teas from multiple years to try and create a consistent tasting blend from year to year to year. I had always wondered exactly where that process came from, but it appears it is quite an old practice.

One section that struck me as odd, is in one section it talks about a person picking tea during a thunderstorm. In an earlier book, wasn't it quite specific on when tea should be picked, and during a rain was a big "don't do!"?

Matt said...


The two things you touched on really stood out:

Regarding Sun Qiao picking tea in a thunderstorm...

As you mentioned, it does seem to contrast what was previously said about when to pick tea- don't pick it before it is going to rain. Tea picked in overly humid (wet) conditions is very very hard to process. With this in mind perhaps this passage is alluding to Sun Qiao's tea processing skill- that he is so skilled that he defies nature and can make some of the best tea even in the worst conditions.

Picking tea in a thunderstorm is very very dangerous, especially on the rugged cliffs of Wuyi! This passage may also be referring to the great lengths (commitment, time, effort) at which Sun Qiao would go to make a tea.

Regarding the mixing of old tea and new tea...

Japanese matcha is the only tea nowadays that does this- thanks for mentioning that. One once heard of a puerh producer also doing this sort of thing, but it is more of a rarity.

The mixing of tea is likely also referring to the construction work that was just completed on the main temple. i.e. the new materials rejuvenated the old temple to make it as new once again.

It could also be referring to the age and vitality of the probably older monk, Fanying, who when "mixed" in conversation with a much younger Su Dong po, feels refreshed and rejuvenated once again (one has no real clue what their ages are it just seems likely given the exchange).


Matt said...


Notes on Stanza 9:

It is mentioned that water should be used from the same area where the tea is grown and produced. Special springs are recommended with certain types of tea.