Cubes Are Chill! – T Ching


The tinkling sound of ice cubes dancing inside a glass of refreshing iced tea is music to my ears. It reminds me of how the delicious, mouthwatering delights of summer will soon be here. Are you ready to be creaTEAve with your ice?

Ice cubes are chill and that’s a fact. Being creative with your ice cubes adds flavor, color, and class to your beverages. Imagine a tall glass of iced tea beautifully infused with delicate edible flowers frozen in ice. Perhaps you love a hint of mint in your tea? That’s easy! Simply add mint leaves to your ice cube trays before filling and freezing. Or make a colorful statement on a hot summer day with frozen, pureed fruits, or smoothie cubes, as I call them. Mango, cantaloupe, lemon, or ginger––whatever you fancy––will enhance your next iced tea! You can even use pieces of fruit, such as strawberry or blueberries, to freeze into cubes.

Silicon Ice cube trays work best, and bigger-sized cubes will melt slower. To make edible flower, herb, or fruit ice cubes, consider the following:

• Step 1: Place an edible flower, herb, or piece of fruit face down into the bottom of each silicone cube.
• Step 2: Fill the cube 1/4 full with distilled water and freeze.
• Once frozen, repeat Step 1 and 2, and continue repeating these steps until the tray is filled to each cube’s top line.

Pansies, chamomile, lavender, roses, mint, and basil are fantastic edible flower and herb choices. And, using distilled water and freezing in intervals ensures the most crystal-clear ice cube possible.

• For pureed cubes, simply pour the pureed fruit of your choice into the silicone cube tray(s) and freeze.

Even though we still have snow, it’s ‘ice’ to dream of summer while sipping on iced tea!

Interested in individually designed tea reviews? Weaving compelling visual stories for social media is a passion of mine. I love creating immersive illustrated reviews that awaken people to tea and culture. If you desire an illustrated review to engage your followers, please contact me.

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Images provided by author.



The Teatrap Rap: By Students, For Students


Guest contribution by Lauren Geschel.

My name is Lauren Geschel and I have been an educator in Philadelphia for 16 years: A high school English teacher, a debate coach, a soccer coach, an Outward Bound facilitator. Teaching has always been an integral part of my life.

I have also always been a tea drinker, and this past summer, after being annoyed by having nowhere to put my teabag, came up with an invention called the “Teatrap”- which is basically a recyclable receptacle that attaches to one’s take-out tea container and gives the tea drinker a place to store the teabag (for later use or disposal). I told my students about my invention, and lo and behold, one of my students wrote something called the “Teatrap Rap” about my product.

So impressed with their creativity, we decided to tape a rap video with equipment we received from a grant. Students helped to create, edit, and starred in the following production:

A percentage of my profits goes towards an organization that funds extra-curricular after-school activities for students in Philadelphia. For the past several years, I have worked closely with ASAP (After-School Activities Partnerships) as a debate coach for their Summer Debate Academy, and as a coach in their Philadelphia Debate League. ASAP is so important because they are a non-profit who supports funding debate, Scrabble, drama, and chess programs for kids throughout the city. They are even helping to fundraise to send my two students to Nationals, who qualified to compete this year in Public Forum debate!

So far, I have created a prototype, sold them at conventions, filed for a patent pending and opened up the LLC “The Catcher in the Tea”. Right now, I am doing a Kickstarter in order to get my business up and running, so I can finish my patent and so I can create a sustainable, non-disposable silicone Teatrap. Check out my Kickstarter and my website for more information.

Support me, Teatraps, and the youth of Philadelphia!



Blast From the Past: The Myth of Clouds and Mist


I love Chinese tea stories. They always contain mystical elements. Recently, I discovered a Chinese green tea called “Clouds and Mist” or “Yunwu.” It tastes completely different from any green tea I have ever tasted. Yes, it has vegetal notes, but a sweet melon finish. This mist_laketea grows on mountains surrounded by clouds and mist. The damp air keep the tea leaves moist. The clouds block any direct sunlight, allowing the leaves to develop slowly. More chlorophyll builds up in the leaves, giving the brew with sweet notes. I am sure several poems have been written about this tea. In fact, I found an interesting story about this tea in James Norwood Pratt’s New Tea Lover’s Treasury, which I have summarized below. It starts off like a joke.

A Taoist recluse and a Buddhist monk walked into a tea firm in China, proclaiming they had the best quality Clouds and Mist green tea leaves. The tea firm manager invited the two holy men to brew their teas for comparison. The monk boiled water, pouring it into a large bowl with green leaves with white fir. Covering the bowl with a lid, he waited as long as it took incense to completely burn. When he lifted the lid a white mist rose three feet above the bowl, leaving a pleasant subtle aroma. The monk served the tea to the manager and others present, receiving high praise.

Then the Taoist prepared his special tea leaves in a bowl. When he lifted the lid, a cloud of white mist rose from the bowl, turning into the form of a lovely girl. At first, her figure expanded and then contracted before dissipating.  The monk realized he had lost the contest. He petulantly said: “This strange phenomenon by no means signifies that his tea is of higher quality than mine. It is just a trick accomplished by Taoist magic.” The Taoist laughed; brushing his sleeves to show contempt, he walked away. The monk took his tea and left. The poor manager was left dazed, confused, and tealess.

When I brew Clouds and Mist, I do see a lovely white steam. However, I must keep looking for the pretty girl.

Image Source

This article by Tiffany Williams was originally posted in March 2013.



Blast From the Past: The Myth of Clouds and Mist


I love Chinese tea stories. They always contain mystical elements. Recently, I discovered a Chinese green tea called “Clouds and Mist” or “Yunwu.” It tastes completely different from any green tea I have ever tasted. Yes, it has vegetal notes, but a sweet melon finish. This mist_laketea grows on mountains surrounded by clouds and mist. The damp air keep the tea leaves moist. The clouds block any direct sunlight, allowing the leaves to develop slowly. More chlorophyll builds up in the leaves, giving the brew with sweet notes. I am sure several poems have been written about this tea. In fact, I found an interesting story about this tea in James Norwood Pratt’s New Tea Lover’s Treasury, which I have summarized below. It starts off like a joke.

A Taoist recluse and a Buddhist monk walked into a tea firm in China, proclaiming they had the best quality Clouds and Mist green tea leaves. The tea firm manager invited the two holy men to brew their teas for comparison. The monk boiled water, pouring it into a large bowl with green leaves with white fir. Covering the bowl with a lid, he waited as long as it took incense to completely burn. When he lifted the lid a white mist rose three feet above the bowl, leaving a pleasant subtle aroma. The monk served the tea to the manager and others present, receiving high praise.

Then the Taoist prepared his special tea leaves in a bowl. When he lifted the lid, a cloud of white mist rose from the bowl, turning into the form of a lovely girl. At first, her figure expanded and then contracted before dissipating.  The monk realized he had lost the contest. He petulantly said: “This strange phenomenon by no means signifies that his tea is of higher quality than mine. It is just a trick accomplished by Taoist magic.” The Taoist laughed; brushing his sleeves to show contempt, he walked away. The monk took his tea and left. The poor manager was left dazed, confused, and tealess.

When I brew Clouds and Mist, I do see a lovely white steam. However, I must keep looking for the pretty girl.

Image Source

This article by Tiffany Williams was originally posted in March 2013.



China Tea Fairs – T Ching


China is not only the origin of tea but is the largest tea producer, consumer, and marketer in the world. Where the Western, tea-consuming countries like the US have one or maybe two dedicated tea trade shows, China has dozens. Some are regional, some are national, and some are targeted to the international market. Some have dozens of exhibitors with hundreds of attendees while others have more than 1000 vendors with tens of thousands of visitors spanning a full week’s time or more. The Shenzhen-based Huajuchen Industrial Co. produces 18 different tea-related trade shows around China.

One of the fastest growing international tea fairs is in the coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian province. Xiamen Jinhongxin Exhibition Co. puts on the China Xiamen International Tea Fair. Since its inception seven years ago, the show has expanded from four days to five; from two halls and 16,000 square meters to eight halls and 63,000 square meters; from 221 exhibitors to over 1,000 and from 43,656 attendees to 86,000 (not including thousands on the last day which was open to the general public). In fact, the event has grown so large that this year they are adding a second show in the spring in addition to the original one in October.

The Hong Kong International Tea Fair and concurrent Tea Competition has been attracting tea producers, buyers, and experts for the past 9 years. For over 100 years, Hong Kong has served as a hub for tea trading between China and the rest of the world, and it remains a vital trading port. In 2017 there were more than 15,000 visitors and 225 exhibitors from around the world.

The International Tea Cuppers Club participated in both of the Xiamen and Hong Kong fairs and hosted its annual international Cup Warming tea tasting presentation for the 5th year in Hong Kong and 6th year in Xiamen. As in the past, producers and experts from many origin countries were invited to introduce their land’s tea culture and allow the attendees to taste examples of either teas that are exemplary of their kind or teas that are unusual and not easily available without deep connections. The events at both fairs were very well attended as usual and we welcomed several special presenters, many of which were winners of various tea competitions.

For both events, ITCC Director Dan Robertson MC’ed the Cup Warmings. In Hong Kong, represented regions included several areas within China, Sri Lanka, India, USA, and Japan. The selection of teas that were sampled was very diverse. The China speakers were introduced by Huang Shuwei who set the stage for a fermented tea from Ya An in Sichuan province, a green tea from Emerail tea company in Guizhou, and a new green tea by Jacky Mingyue Xiu of Xingguo Yixingyuan Tea Co. called Fang Tai Mei – White Jade (first place green tea winner in the HK competition). Another competition 1st place winner was also presented, a specially made black tea by Lumbini tea estate in Sri Lanka. From India was a tasty example of the ubiquitous Masala Chai. From the US, Stacy Robertson introduced a green tea from the Great Mississippi Tea Company. All attendees were surprised to learn that there was tea production in the US and were eager to taste the tea which was specially made for the presentation. Asuka Inc.–a producer from Japan–introduced an especially nice Gyokuro which was thick and rich with umami flavor. Special thanks to QZ Zhang who did a magnificent job of translating.

In Xiamen, an equally broad group of presenters and teas were to be found. With translations provided by Hydron Gao, ITCC Vice-Director for China, attendees were treated to a number of first-time experiences, not the least of which was an introduction to Argentina teas and a tasting of a benchmark black tea brought by tea farmer and ITCC member Roberto Swier. Another first was a chance to taste freshly made Japanese Mat Cha. Dan and a representative of a Japanese tea company were furiously whipping up bowls of Mat Cha as the presenter spoke about the different kinds of teas and their origins. A wonderful white tea from Nepal was also featured along with information about Nepal tea production and regions. We were very fortunate to again have a chance to sample Jacky Xiu’s Fang Tai Mei – White Jade (which had also taken 2nd place in the Global Tea Championship). Mr. Anshuman Kanoria from Balaji Agro International Tea Company in India introduced teas from his country and we tasted a smooth but flavorful tea from Sikkim’s Temi tea estate. For a change of pace, Dan introduced Himalayan Ice, a special tea which was infused in cold water for ten hours prior to serving. He also brought along a black tea that was made by the Great Mississippi Tea Co so the US was represented as well. While not Camelia Sinensis, one of the most popular “teas” in Russia is Ivan Cha and it was a pleasure to learn about this historic beverage from Alexander Khlynov. Audience members asked many questions and seemed quite interested in all the regions. The entire program just fit within the 90-minute time slot but easily could have lasted for another hour. Thanks again to all the presenters and the organizers of the tea fairs. We look forward to connecting with many of our members again this year and are pleased to announce plans to attend the tea fair in Shenzhen. Any tea lovers who are in the area, please plan to stop in and enjoy learning and tasting. Contact ITCC for a current schedule of the tea fairs we will be at as well as tea tasting programs and events hosted by our members worldwide.

Images provided by author



Spring Cocktails Every Tea Lover Should Know


Guest contribution by Olivia Jones

A cold beverage in the backyard oasis is one of the defining childhood images when it comes to memories of spring and summer. It is also one of those memories we tend to emulate in our adult age with some inventive new drinks. If you want to learn how creative these drinks can get, test your taste buds with these spring cocktails every tea lover should know.

Ginger Tea

The combined taste of ginger and peppermint is the very definition of chilly. This is why ginger tea is so widely popular among the adult cocktail drinkers. With a bit of sweet syrup and a pinch of cognac, you’ll have one of the best cocktails around. This one’s best served on a hot spring day, possibly in the country, after an arduous physical activity. In those circumstances, it will taste as the very nectar of the gods.

Gunpowder gimlet

To tea purists, combining green tea with gin sounds like a sin, and it’s hard to disagree – only a sin can taste so good. Gunpowder gimlet is exactly that – gin combined with green tea, with an optional twist of lemon and a few drops of citrusy syrup to boot. It is an amazing refreshment after a business meeting, or a good tension breaker before a meeting, for that matter. It all depends on the amount of gin added to the glass.

Irish tea punch

Now that we are on the topic of green tea, we cannot miss mentioning Irish tea punch, a perfect beverage for cocktail tea lovers on Saint Patrick’s Day – one of the most beloved spring celebrations. If, on March 17, you want to get buzzed with your friends without going overboard, mix some Irish whiskey with green tea and add some honey, ice cubes and a few leaves of peppermint to the bowl.

Jalisco High Tea

When you combine tequila with lemon tea, you get the beloved Jalisco High Tea, a party favorite. Try pairing it with food bites, which are an established concept of renowned experts in mixology from NYC where cocktail catering service is just as important as the food, and you’ll have yourself a fiesta for the ages. Invite all your friends!

Kentucky tea

Have yourself a taste of springtime Americana with Kentucky tea. This one requires a very specific type of preparation, but the result can be out of this world – immediately after you’ve put the bag of mint tea in the glass filled with hot water, add a pinch of bourbon along with eucalyptus syrup and several twists of lemon. If you are crafty, you can carve up a few slices of lemon bark and put it in.

Sweet tea vodka

There are countless iced tea cocktails, some with weird names, others a bit more obvious, but the name of this one says it all – if you are in the mood for a taste of Russia in your ice tea, pour a few fingers worth of this ultra-strong spirit into a tall glass. Then you can add sweet tea, some mint leaves and half a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade. If you have a bottle of ice-cold club soda at your hand’s reach, you’ll certainly have one vibrant cocktail in front of you.

Summer peach tea

Summer peach tea is the final word of spiked spring teas. It is ideal in every way – both as a refreshment and a frisky cocktail to give you a buzz. The fruity texture of peaches combines perfectly with whiskey or schnapps, depending on your preference. If you add only a bit of alcohol to this mix, it will be the exact sort of a drink you are looking for at the end of the day.

These spiked refreshments are a perfect opportunity to combine afternoon tea time with a wild cocktail hour. This way, you can enjoy the gentle warmth of the spring sunset as you sip your favorite tea cocktail. Just make sure they are kept out of reach of the unassuming kids, and you are all good.

Images provided by author.



Pop-Up Dining – T Ching


Chef Flynn McGarry just opened his first permanent restaurant in NYC. He named the establishment “Gem” which is his mother’s first name spelled backward. A documentary chronicling his culinary journey debut at Sundance last month. It was in 2012 when I first learned about Chef Flynn’s Los Angeles pop-up Eureka – a venture he started at the age of 11. Chef Flynn is 19 years old.

Most pop-up and dining clubs do not disclose venues until after guests register and fulfill payment obligation. The events could be held adjacent to a lake or ranch, far away from the city, as some endeavor to promote the farm-to-table movement. These clubs are not conventiclers, of course not. I just prefer my dining experience with as little “unknown” as possible. For many years pop-up dining was too adventurous for me.

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) was the reason I attended my first event last September; the city’s tremendous gentrification project ought to re-focus on assisting the homeless. At an old apartment equipped with a state-of-art kitchen, Chef Angelica of Corinth House served her vegan Fancy Brunch to 40 guests who dined in a communal setting. After savoring caramelized carrot soup, kale salad, and southern plate with tofu scramble, Hoppin’ John, and hushpuppies, the attendees received freshly brewed Taiwanese milk oolong, also known as Jin Xuan Tea (金萱茶), paired with rice pudding. The two numbers associated with Jin Xuan are 12 and 27, #12 being the official Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES).

It is best not to attend a pop-up alone. I was glad that my friend Jane joined me for my very first event.



The Biggest Cup of Tea Ever


Guest Contribution By: Cheshire Freeman

Hello, my fellow tea lovers, onlookers, and anyone who just needs something other than football or opinions on Facebook to quietly read while you enjoy your favorite steeped piece of heaven. Today I will be “T Ching” you a lesson in history!

245 years ago here in America, the forefathers–first of the immigrants to this country–dressed up as Mohawk American Indians and made the biggest cup of tea EVER.

They were led by a man who is now best known because of beer (figures, doesn’t it?): Mr. Samuel Adams. He gathered his rebel team of beer drinkers known as the Sons of Liberty, who had decided that the monopoly being formed by the India Trading Company and the British Government was oppressive and tyrannical. An all too common and familiar scenario anymore.

When the three ships carrying all that soothing enjoyable tea arrived, the sixty plus men showed up at the Boston Harbor (in an orderly and peaceful protest, I’m sure) and asked the governor–a man by the name of Thomas Hutchinson–if they would mind kindly sending the tea back to the Queen. Because, well, they were rebels and beer drinkers. So when the nice governor told them “no”, Mr. Adams and his boys raided the ships and tossed every crate of tea they found into the harbor.

The grand total cost of the tea came to just under 20,000 British pounds, so adding in the exchange rate and 200 years of inflation, you can imagine the cost today. At that point, America didn’t even have their own currency yet!

In fact, this cup (harbor) of tea caused a landslide of events that included falling under martial law by the British over the colonies, and finally forced a bunch of beer-drinking rebels to create the Continental Congress and the rest, as they say, is history!

I feel it necessary to share this little nugget of the past with you because whatever your political affiliations, immigrant status, or heck: Even if you live in a country that still makes tea by the cupful (rather than harbor-ful), you might feel that we’re doomed to repeat the past. Our leaders didn’t study history, and religious and radical oppression is still a problem in today’s world. Take a lesson and a little pride that we were all immigrants at some point if you go far enough back, and each of us has a rebel in our hearts that can laugh triumphantly as you violently throw your tea bag or strainer into your cup; and forget for just a minute about any situation that might oppress you. Because even little acts can change your world in a big way.

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Cheshire Freeman is a freelance illustration artist and personality.
Cheshire’s Looking Glass Art Gallery Facebook Page



Need To Lose Weight? Try Drinking More Tea


Guest post by Lucy Wyndham

If you want to boost your metabolism, watch your weight drop away, and improve your health & wellbeing – the answer might be easier than you think. One simple, painless, and inexpensive change to your lifestyle could be transformative: Just try replacing your sugary soft drink habit with tea and see what happens.

In the East they have been drinking varieties of tea for thousands of years; we are late to the party and are only now waking up to its many benefits. Tea drinking has been associated with lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes thanks to the antioxidants known as flavonoids that it contains.  Tea also helps with weight loss, improved cholesterol levels, and mental agility. What’s not to like?

Given the backdrop of deteriorating health in the US and many Western countries, we would do well to look East for some wisdom. We are getting plenty of things wrong in terms of lifestyle choices – primarily a poor diet and lack of exercise. This is contributing to the obesity epidemic and countless other health problems.

Your beverage can be causing weight gain

Consumption of sugary sodas and fruit juices is a particular issue with many Americans apparently addicted to soda.  A staggering 56% of young adults in the US admit to drinking soda daily and these drinks are the largest source of sugar consumption among children and adolescents. Two in three adults and one in three children in America are now classified as overweight or obese with sodas contributing in a major way to this weight epidemic.

How to be effortlessly slim

What we need to do is exercise more, eat better and consider taking supplements to ensure optimum nutrition. Drinking tea is an extremely easy way to make a positive change and take a step towards a slimmer, healthier you. Whether you choose to drink black, green, or white tea; you’ll be benefiting from the antioxidant properties of the flavonoids found in tea. These antioxidants can cause temporary thermogenesis: A metabolic process that speeds up the metabolism and increases fat burning. (Supplements that accelerate this process are available.)

Purists may choose to research the culture and history of Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies and – for the full zen experience – even indulge in some elegant teaware. But even those who keep things simple and brew up in a standard mug will reap the benefits. It’s as easy as one, two, TEA.

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Blast From the Past: Legends on the Origins of Tea From China, Japan, and Korea


China, Japan, and Korea are all three big tea-consuming countries and, as such, each has its own legends concerning how tea originated.  Take a look.

China’s Legend

It is said in China that the first person to discover tea was Shen Nong (2700 BC), the father of agriculture and herbal medicine.  In an ancient Chinese medical book, called The Divine Farmer’s Herb-Root Classic, written during the Han Dynasty, it is said that Shen Nong tasted 100 plants in one day, consuming 72 different types of poison in the process; tea leaves were used to remove the toxins from his body.  Two other interesting versions of this story have also been documented.

In ancient times, people knew little about plants.  To determine which plants were edible, poisonous, or medicinal, Shen Nong tasted various kinds of plants every day.  Fortunately, Shen Nong had a transparent belly, making it possible for him to observe the reactions in his stomach caused by the plants he had eaten.  When he tasted tea leaves, he found that the tea leaves passed through his stomach and intestines, checking for poisons in the stomach and cleaning the intestines.  Shen Nong referred to these leaves as Cha, which has the same pronunciation as “checking the poisons” and became the plant’s current name (tea).

Another story, slightly different from the transparent belly story, is more reasonable.  It is said that Shen Nong took a rest under a tree after a long walk and lit a fire to boil water.  Some tree leaves fell into the boiling water.  Shen Nong drank the water and became energetic and refreshed.  After tasting 100 plants the previous day, Shen Nong believed that he had found a medicine that “tastes bitter.  Drinking it, one can think quicker, sleep less, move lighter, and see clearer.”

The tales about Shen Nong discovering tea usually mention the medical functions of the plant.  To understand these legends, in my opinion, Shen Nong should not be regarded as one person.  Rather, Shen Nong should represent all people from time immemorial whose knowledge of nature was limited and who fought with nature for their survival.  For this post, I did some studies and found that my opinion was supported by recent research, proving that Shen Nong was not one person, but a tribe leader position.  However, I also think that the character of Shen Nong was not only a group of leaders but all tribespeople.

Japan’s Legend

Japanese academics have admitted that Japanese tea came from China, but in Japan, the popular tale claims that the Bodhidharma discovered tea.  It is said that the Bodhidharma was sitting in meditation for seven years before he became too tired to stay awake.  He then sliced off his eyelids to prevent sleep and threw them on the ground, where they became tea trees.  After picking some of the tea leaves and chewing them, he felt energetic, and he concluded that the tea helped him to stay awake.  This is the Japanese story of the origin of tea.

The Chinese love it because the story is interesting, and it seems to take place in the Shaolin temple, the place where the Bodhidharma practiced sitting in meditation for seven years.  The Japanese love it too, and say the Bodhidharma died in Japan.  Indians love it because the origin of tea seems to be related to India.  Everybody loves this tale because it is fantastic and makes the connection between tea and meditation.

Korea’s Legend

Korea has also admitted that tea originated in China.  In the Korean tea ceremony, the five elements signify a sacrificial rite in the memory of the saint of tea, Yandi Shen Nong.  This is different from China, where the saint of tea is Luyu from the Tang Dynasty.  From this sacrificial rite, we can see that Koreans also view Shen Nong as the discoverer of tea.

Typically, the origin of tea in Korea is attributed to monks who studied in China or came from China.  However, a certain legend is popular in Korea.  It is said that King Suro was one of six princes born from eggs that descended from the sky.  King Suro married Heo Hwang-ok, a princess from the Indian country of Ayuta.  When they married, she brought a boat full of her dowry, which included tea seeds.

From my perspective, this legend can be seen as an indication that early Koreans considered kings to be descended from heaven, and all of their virtues attributed to the king or the royalty.  This is a characteristic of Confucianism – to be loyal to royalty.

What Can We Learn From These Tea Legends?

China’s legend about Shen Nong discovering tea is based on practical thought.  Actually, it makes sense from a scientific point of view.  People living in ancient times searched for food to survive and for medicine when they were sick; thus, it makes sense for people to invoke tea’s detoxifying and healthful functions.  In fact, tea was first used as an herbal medicine and then as a worship sacrifice.  It was later eaten like a soup and finally became a complete drink during the Wei Dynasty (220-264), according to records.  However, this legend lacks imagination compared to that of the Japanese legend.

Japan’s legend about the Bodhidharma slicing off his eyelids, which then grow into tea trees, is fantastic and thought-provoking.  I believe that the intensity of the Bodhidharma’s search for the truth, exemplified by his willingness to slice off his own eyelids, would impress anyone.  This legend is indicative of Japanese determination and ambition in searching for the truth.

Although Korea’s legend of Princess Ho Hwang-ok bringing tea to Korea from India also lacks imagination, it demonstrates a loyalty for royalty beyond that for common folk.

These three tea legends represent three national characteristics.  The Chinese tend to be pragmatic and practical.  The Japanese admire spirit and resolution.  The Koreans seem to be impacted by the ethics of a type of Confucianism different from the pure Confucianism from Kongzi, but the Song and Ming Dynasty’s Confucian idealist philosophy combined with its own culture.

While tea legends provide a way to trace different national characteristics, these characteristics have played important roles in the development of tea and determine its current status.

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This article was originally published in March 2012.