Monday, December 1, 2008

More Tea please!

The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration - all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup - ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. ~Lu Tung, "Tea-Drinking"

My fascination for Tea begun in the early years of my life. The reason about this magnetism on the subject of Tea is not in relation to the healthy benefits that I may get hold of but the inspiration in the Art of Tea making and Tea appreciation itself....

I remember my Mom used to brew some herbal plants like Guava leaves (
Psidium guajava L.) , Mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana L.) peel or bark of trees to treat an upset stomach or to aid digestion and all other medicinal value it may give. . . I was a kid then... and drinking that concoction makes me more sick than healed. . . . Gee! it was like drinking a liquid close to a poison because of its bitter taste. . . but it was in the making of that Herbal Tea when I then started to appreciate its value. The steam that comes out from the pot, putting the leaves in it up to the pouring of that golden colored liquid plus the fine aroma that could set your mood into meditation. . .It is poetry in motion!... It is Art.

Four years ago, I found this book about Tea in a coffee shop in
Cebu and it opens my knowledge about Tea's, a Pandora's box of Tea chronicles!...

Legend has it that, Tea was accidentally discovered in China ar
ound 2737 B.C. by a servant when a tea leaf blew at a cup of a hot water. That time water was always boiled for hygienic reasons, he then served it to his master Chinese Emperor Shen Nung and he too was enchanted by the refreshing taste and aroma of Tea and everyone followed. The beverage caused sensations around the world when the British colonized the Orient and introduced Tea to the rest of the world. It then became the worlds second most famous drink - next to water. Countless economies around the world spread out and tremendous forms of Art pieces sprout such as porcelain pots, Tea house's, garden, food, fireworks and gambling as well as literature emerged - all because of Tea.

The J
apanese has the world's strictest etiquette when it comes to Tea Ceremony......etc.. I was having an information overload and since then I became a Tea enthusiast.....

I go by at this small Tea
shop in Neil Road with a facade of perfectly preserved Peranakan Architecture....... I can't remember the name of the shop since it was written in Chinese characters..... I was greeted by an attendant who speaks nothing but Chinese....I don't understand a single word but the attendant keeps on talking like a chirping bird....but her face exudes a wide knowledge about Tea....and then she offered me a cup of hot Tea..Jasmine tea i guess....... Inside was a sanctuary of remarkably 40 different kind of Tea's from different parts of the world. The interior reminds me that of an old world Chinese dwelling that I've seen in films, with soft calm and soothing music in the background....

With all the things that I've seen inside there's one corner designated for the pictures of Queen Elizabeth II in one of her visits to Singapore.....she looks powerful just by sipping a cup of tea....Oh God!.... she visits that tea shop?!..I wondered who among other famous faces visited there......that place has carve a niche in the Lion city's history.
I feel so healthy just by looking all the merchandise.... overall? was pleasant experience very enchanting.

Aside from its benefits , Tea can make us feel highly develop and sophisticated....We can build alliances and bridge friendships and have fine and excellent conversations over a cup of Tea.......with that I'll end my story this afternoon with a cup of Tea.....more Tea please! (in fine British accent!).

Above: "Cupp'a Tea" Mat Watercolor 9 x 12" 2004 Angela P. Barbaso Collection
Middle and Below: Part of the series of drawings about Tea 11 x 14" Squid Ink