The Way of Tea (Cha Dao) by 吳崇祺
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Questions about Cloudwalker Specialty Teas Online
Who are you?
We are a new company that was fortunate to make the acquaintance of a revered tea master in Taiwan. We are now a registered business in Ontario, Canada. It is through our relationship with a particular Chinese tea master in Taiwan (who wishes to remain un-named) that we decided to make highly specialized Chinese teas available outside of Asia. For more information about us, see our story page.
Where can I contact you?
We can be reached via email: email@example.com
Regular Post: Cloudwalker Teas, 1441 Rosser Ave, Burnaby, BC, V5C 5C9, Canada
Are your teas organic?
At Cloudwalker, we view pesticides as pollutants to your body. Therefore, we select only tea that has been grown and processed without the use of pesticides and other unnecessary chemicals.
Are your teas fair trade?
The chi energy of each tea is influenced by every person it comes into contact with. Therefore, it makes sense to choose teas that have come into contact only with people whom enjoy their involvement in the ancient art of tea production and appreciation. To enjoy their work they must be treated fairly. Many of our teas are chosen from specific family operated tea plantations. As world tea prices continue to rise for specialty teas, these families are seeing even more profit! Many of these Chinese families have been growing and producing tea for hundreds of years, if not longer and view it as a sacred duty, a tradition that has been passed down for generations. The energy they infuse into the tea leaves is as important as the leaves themselves. We, and they, wish for no "ill will" to enter our tea. For more information see our page dedicated to our tea story.
How much is shipping?
Currently we offer shipping via regular post (through Canada Post) and express shipping through Canada Post's XPRESSPOST shipping option. We ship worldwide. For a detailed list of shipping rates and estimated transit times please see our shipping page. We are also aware that shipping is cheaper to the USA than Canada, even though we are based in Canada. We do not know why this is, but we work with the rates Canada Post presents us.
What is your returns policy?
Because our teas are consumable and our teaware breakable, all sales are final. But we do offer replacement teaware when broken in transit, on condition, and we will replace unsatisfactory tea, on condition. Please see our returns page for a more comprehensive explanation.
What kind of terms of product use are there?
Questions About Tea
What is cha dao?
Cha dao literally translates as "the way of tea." Dating to ancient times in China, there are those who believe that drinking truly sacred teas is one of the ways to enlightenment. By drinking these teas, particularly through a chinese methodology such as gong fu cha, it is possible to reach deeper and deeper states of meditation. Dedication to tea drinking is believed to lead to the door to enlightenment. It is however, up to the tea drinker to open the door, which ultimately leads to a reunification with the divine or the realization of nirvana (depending on your definition of enlightenment).
Along with flavour and aroma, the scientifically elusive chi (sometimes spelled 'qi') energy is one of the characteristics we look closely for when we are selecting our teas to bring to you based on the traditions of the Chinese tea masters. The energy of a tea is enhanced or detracted from based on the energy of the people it comes into contact with. Therefore, we attempt to choose the teas with the best "chain of handling" for their excellent chi. Many believe the quality of the tea you buy is as much about the merchant from whom you buy it!
Drinking tea and meditating in China and Taiwan is a practice that has existed there for several thousand years. The chi energy inherent in tea works with the body's own energy to bring about a meditative state and leave the drinker calm and refreshed.
What is gong fu cha?
Gong fu cha is one of the Chinese methodologies or rituals for tea appreciation. It originated from Fujian province in China and was adapted and refined in Taiwan. The gong fu of any action is to seek to perfect that action knowing that perfection is reserved for the divine. Cha is tea. The gong fu of tea is to seek to pour the perfect cup of tea, aware that this is impossible, but to strive for perfection none-the-less.
Where can I find more information about gong fu cha, cha chi or cha dao?
You can visit our blog or contact us directly with your questions. Our blog is open to comments and continues to be a work in progress as we add more information to it for your reading enjoyment and to help enhance your own tea drinking experience.
What is the difference between ‘sheng’ and ‘shou’ pu erh tea?
Both shou and sheng pu erh teas come from the tea leaf variety camellia sinensis. ‘Sheng’ has several translations that describe it accurately. A sheng pu erh tea is at once raw, uncooked, and living. This means the pu erh tea leaves have gone through a process of fermentation, oxidization and packing, but at no point have the leaves been cooked to give them the characteristic ‘earthy’ flavour pu erh tea is known for. Sheng pu erh tea is best left to age for at least five years (depending on the grade of the tea) after packaging and ideally more, before drinking. It is through this time that the tea is able to ‘grow’ its chi from when it was initially packaged.
Shou pu erh tea goes through a cooking stage before it is compacted into bricks or cakes. It is this ‘cooking’ that gives the tea its flavour, rather than age. This also means the tea is ready to be drunk upon manufacture since it will not usually age well. The chi of shou pu erh is usually not very strong either. This method of making pu erh tea is a relatively recent phenomenon, which developed out of a growing demand for pu erh tea both in- and outside of China. The aged teas were very rare after the Cultural Revolution in China (they had been targeted for destruction as a symbol of imperialism), and so cooking pu erh teas helped to reach a bigger market for those who did not care for the chi properties but still wanted their pu erh tea. This process has continued today as the demand for pu erh tea worldwide increases, particularly since the middle class in China continues to grow so dramatically year after year.
If pu erh tea is picked in China, why is it better to age it in Taiwan?
With very few exceptions, good pu erh tea is picked, processed and packaged in Yunnan province in China. However, proper aging requires just the right climatic conditions. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have proven repeatedly excellent for the aging of sheng pu erh tea. Because these teas are so rare outside of Asia, it is unknown if there are other locations with the right climatic conditions to do so. What is known, is that there are regions within China that are awful, because they are too dry or too wet or too cold to age tea properly. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam offer just the right blend of heat and humidity over the course of any given year for the aging process. Some say that a tea aged in Taiwan will age ‘four times faster’ than a tea aged in the heart of Canada or the continental United States.
What is an oolong tea?
Oolong teas are also from the tealeaf camellia sinensis. At Cloudwalker, we pride ourself on offering some of the finest oolong teas in the world. Sometimes spelled "wulong" it can be directly translated as the "black dragon tea." In order to make an oolong, the leaves are dried and oxidized. It is the degree of oxidation (usually between 10% and 70%) that dictates whether an oolong tea is best explored fresh or aged. The fresh teas are lightly oxidized while the aged tealeaves are more fully oxidized. At Cloudwalker, our fresh oolong is sourced each new picking season. And our aged oolongs are all picked and aged in taiwan to ensure the qualityo f the aging process. Taiwan is known throughout Asia as one of the best places to age good tea because of its climate. Cloudwalker's oolong teas are all picked and processed by hand on small family run tea plantations at very high altitud.
I’ve heard a lot about the health benefits of green tea; do pu erh and oolong teas offer the same benefits?
All tea leaves that come from the camellia sinensis tea plant (including green, white, pu erh, oolong and cliff teas) share the same health benefits. Where they differ is only in their processing. The Chinese have been extolling the health benefits of drinking tea for hundreds of years and only recently have western scientists begun to explore these benefits. Health Canada recently approved the sale of tea for the following health reasons:
"(a)ll types of tea infusions [black, green and oolong] are recognized as a source of antioxidants for the maintenance of good health. Tea is approved for increasing (mental) alertness. Tea is further accredited as helping to maintain and/or support cardiovascular health".
Where is Formosa?
Isla Formosa was the name for present day Taiwan, Republic of China during the time of the Dutch and Portuguese occupation several hundred years ago. Formosa is the name occasionally used to describe the island by romantics, scholars and even the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau from time to time.
What is yin and yang?
More properly, the yin-yang of any thing or action are the two mutually correlating complementary opposites. The Chinese actually do not use the conjunction ‘and’ between yin-yang because the philosophy of yin-yang is a single phenomenon. The light and the dark; the soft and the loud; the female and male, the yin and the yang (respectively) become one. Together yin-yang creates a harmony, or unity of opposites.
What is the ‘hui gan’ of the tea?
‘Hui gan’ refers to the ‘finish’ of the tea on the tongue and throat. The ideal hui gan leaves a slightly ‘gluey’ consistency on the palate, that is rich and loamy in flavour long after you have swallowed the last drop of the actual tea.