It is probably no surprise when I say my day starts and ends with tea, from the moment I groggily shuffle from the bedroom to my tea room til I shuffle back again, my kettle is on and tea is flowing. It is also no surprise that I have very specific ways of making my tea and enjoying it, and here is a brief look at how I go about it.
My absolute favorite method of tea preparation is gongfu cha, granted I do enjoy other methods (Ostfriesen Tee is much loved, as is Senchado) but as soon as I drifted from a more Western style of using a big teapot and dainty cups to gongfu cha, I really never looked back.
"As soon as I drifted from the Western style to gongfu cha, I really never looked back."
I started out very methodical, measuring all my tea, using a timer, being very precise with my water temperature, but as time went on I found that these things distracted me and became more freeform in my tea brewing. I eyeball tea amount (doing it long enough, you get a really good feel for how much is enough) watch the leaves to find the best time to pour, and play around with water temperature a lot more. I feel that I get more out of my tea this way, both in sensory appreciation and peacefulness.
Now, I always loved collecting teaware, but this transition to Gongfu Cha as the primary way I make tea has...caused a few minor problems. The first and probably the most obvious one is my now rather enormous collection of teaware, gaiwans and Yixing teapots are a passion, but my heart belongs completely to teacups. One of my great joys is visiting thrift stores and bringing home vintage, handmade, or just random teacups. This is, of course, only a problem because I am running out of space to put it all. The other problem this dragon's horde of teaware creates is too much variety. I tend to spend the time it takes my kettle to heat up (and then some) waffling over the perfect combination of cup, teapot/gaiwan, cha hai, and other random tools. When I am just drinking for myself I am a little more flexible, but when I am taking pictures for a blog post I get very particular.
"I tend to spend the time it takes my kettle to heat up waffling over the perfect combination of cup, teapot/gaiwan, cha hai, and other random tools."
One part of my collection that is a bit out of the ordinary is my taste in tea pets. True, I do have the classic Ruyao and Yixing sculptures in traditional Chinese motifs, but the majority are my own creations. I love decorating my tea tray with miniatures (think the kind used in games like Warhammer) I painted, usually monsters or undead, but also representations of characters I have played in games.
"I love decorating my tea tray with miniatures I painted, usually monsters or undead."
Several of my creations have gone on to live on fellow tea lover's tea trays, and I hope to have more go out in the world in the future. It is always fun to see them peeking out from behind my teaware when I am editing photos. They also inspire me, since my tea tray shares its space with my painting desk, or it could be the tea I am drinking while painting that inspires me!
Written by Amanda, Independent Blogger at My Thoughts Are Like Butterflies Tea Blog.