The very first tea house that really caught my attention and brought me a very great image about tea, was the Best Tea House in Richmond, BC, Canada. They are the successive first Canadian branch store of the famous 茶藝樂園, in Hong Kong, being Vesper Chan as the owner, the shop became famous due to new storage method called dry storage. It allows the tea to breathe and let the aging process slow down, but the essence of the tea is kept strong. He used this method for the renowned Aged Raw Pu-Erh Cake, 88 Green. I first visited his store in Vancouver around Nov. 2013, with my family, and eventually led me to take some courses。
On March 13, 2017, I started to take the tea courses offered there. Taught by Mr.Fung, the resident tea master. I took all three levels, and those are Beginner level, Intermediate, and Advanced. There are four sessions of an hour and a half each, for all three levels. I learned a lot, both experience and knowledge wise. One of the knowledges that I learned was the types of water quality, water temperature, and the pouring methods. I learned to differentiate the six different tea species, and the characteristic, processing methods, etc. I also learned the knowledge of the different Pu-Erh factories, some famous recipes, and how Vesper Chan created the new storage method, the dry storage. The dry storage method is keeping all the cakes, or loose tea in a very clean, dry, cool environment.
Through the course of 1 week, I experienced some very personal, special feelings that I think came from my inner self, and that arose from inside of me, not externally. Yes, this happened externally, but the feeling or my personal connection happened in the inside. Before the course, I believed that tea is wonderful, but limited and I didn’t really think about how personal it can be. During the course and after, I learned and knew why tea is so amazing, and this is because it doesn't have an official format, or rules. It’s very easy to find a connection to everyone, and understood by everyone. Young, to the very old, we all can appreciate tea. It does not require you to speak many languages, and could be a son apologizing to their parents, and serving them a cup of tea, would be without any language. However, it really expresses an emotion, a request of forgiveness, and love for the parents. Serving tea is a courtesy, a gesture of human emotions, feelings, and an expression of thought through action. Isn’t this beautiful? A connection that could be created without form of words, but an action. It could be for any reason, any request, any occasion. This is why tea is beautiful, because the tea is always available, however, for every person, the taste is different, the opinion is different and can personally be friends with the tea. I always look for how the tea makes me feel, and how the tea and I could relate, and have a connection be on my list. This is how a tea becomes one of my favorite teas. Its unique due to the fact that every person could interpret it differently, through their individual knowledge and experience, the opinions could be totally the opposite. Tea isn’t only a drink, it's a individual connection. With uniqueness and classical nature, I hope you can experience and one day relate the same, and have a new method of communication between you and the tea.