Monday, February 18, 2008

The Qi to Good Tea

If ones wishes to drink tea that dances throughout ones body, touching one deeply, one must be mindful of the qi. One must be mindful in preparation. Only the best fresh mountain water should be selected if possible. The water in the mountains is fresh, exuberant, and calm, like a new born baby discoving the world moments after arriving. The freshness of water is important if these characteristics wish to be retained. If water is left sitting for too long it's qi becomes stagnant.

The water should be stored in an appropriate holding container- this too effects the qi. Earthenware storage containers work well for storage because they emulate the natural enviroment of water. The water also takes on the characteristics of the vessel. If it is stored in plastic it will take on some artificial processed characteristics of plastic and if it is stored in clay it will inevitably take on some of its natural and motherly characteristics.

Water should be boiled quickly. This ensures that its energy is alerted. If it is boiled too long its qi can be slightly exhausted or released back to the world as steam screaming out of the kettle spout. Qi is best maintained when the kettle is always topped up with fresh water instead of continuously reheating the remaining water.

One must also be mindful during consumption if they hope to enjoy the full qualities and benefits of tea. When one infuses tea with hot water a chemical reaction takes place. This important fact is often overlooked by tea drinkers. The reaction releases enzymes stored in the leaf as the qi of the water playfully but passionately interacts with the qi of the leaf and creates something that is more than just the sum of its parts.

The resulting liquor now has its own energy, its own qi. If it is to be captured in its full splendor it must be consumed immediately as energy from the resulting infusion quickly disperses. The longer the liquor sits at room temperature before it is consumed the more the qi and other helpful elements such as the antioxadant catechins dissipate. Studies by Mi-Kyung Lee and Young-Seo Park from Mokpo National University in Korea (Changes in Flavonols Content and Sensory Qualities in Green Tea Extracts as Influenced by Infusion Temperatures and Its Time & Taste Changes in Taste Quality and Catechin Content in Tea Extracts According to Elapsed Time and Ambiant Temperature ) have demonstrated that as tea sits at room temperature the good bitterness, astringency, and sweetness in the flavor of tea decreases along with its catechin content. They recommend that tea be consumed immediately after its infusion.

Don't hesitate, drink up, and enjoy.


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