Teaworld took place in Brussels (aka the heart of Europe) and it was a gathering of teas around the world. This year was the first year it was organised so it didn't cover lots of ground but it still was an excellent event. I arrived there about 1 hour too early because I only had 1 train to Brussels. While I was waiting Stéphane walked into me, it was a great honour for me meeting him. I always have great respect for people who are passionate about the things they do and he is one of these persons, one of these persons where you know he knows what he is talking about. After waiting (they offered me to wait inside but I prefer the fresh air, I just love the wind).
When I entered I received this little teacup which look pretty nice. There wasn't much to see yet so I strolled around a little bit so I would have an idea of all the different countries represented there. On my stroll I met this Taiwanese woman who married a Belgian guy and they have some kind of little teahouse in Antwerp. She was very energetic and full of passion. She served me some tea and we had a great talk, she said I should come visit her in Antwerp. It's very cool that there is someone nearby who is willing to teach me, it's a great oppertunity to learn! She mainly has these traditional roasted oolongs. I never tried much (heavily) oolongs before but I must say they were delicious and full bodied with these lovely accents of nuts and charcoal. Like in whisky's (Think Islay whisky but even more sprinbanks, these are round,sweet whisky's with this little hint of smokiness) I kind of prefer these above the more light oxidized, flowery teas. Ofcourse, I like all oolongs teas and it depends so much on which mood I find myself in.
Most of the time I spend at Stéphanes place, mainly just watching him making tea and asking him for advice. He is not a man of many words, maybe even a little bit shy but the things he says are wise. The biggest advice he gave me and which I really appreciate is that I should stay away from teapots for now. I feel really happy that he said that because they are just so complex I didn't know what to do with them. At the same time I am a little bit sad because I bought this new teapot (which I bought a little bit too impulsive maybe because of my enthousiasm). He reminded me to stay calm and that I should take it more easy, not run ahead of things which I tend to do a lot. Tea is indeed about looking into yourself, perceiving things you normally don't notice, paying attention and change. Thanks to tea you are able to discover yourself a little bit more.
Later that day I went to listen to Teaparker, he brought this very special cups and a Da Yu Ling from this year at around 2500m of altitude. In the beginning of this presentation he asked us these questions, something about that you feel one with the tea, peaceful inside etc.... I don't exactly remember but I know that I wasn't able to answers those questions yet, maybe I never will so I didn't raise my hand. The people who were allowed to drink the Da Yu Ling from these special cups. Again I think I had to see this as a lesson... a lesson in being patient, to appreciat the small things first. After his lecture I had a little talk with him and also a picture which I'll hopefully receive soon. It was a great experience meeting him, probably one of the wisest men I'll ever meet.
At Stéphane's place I also met this Belgian woman with whom I talked with for 2 days straight. She was extremely friendly and helpful, she showed me many books and I could see how passioante she was. Also I met there this big Pu'er lover from the Netherlands who thaught me a lot aswel. It was an incredible day, I met lots of people and I learned so much!
The next day I participated with these Japanese teaceremony and I had a talk with some of the Japanese people. Especially the old lady was very friendly towards me, maybe because I opened the door for her the other day. At the end of the event they took a picture of me with all of the Japanese, it was very touching.
I also went to some lectures of the Taiwanese woman and Stéphane, both of them very interesting. I could listen to them for hours!
Now I should tell a little bit about some teas I tried. The Taiwanese lady had this excellent traditional roasted oolong (but I forgot which one) which I just loved. It was sweet, full bodied, hints of roasting... just an excellent oolong to drink in Autumn. The other 2 were from Stéphane. The first day he made this tea from an old Pu'er teaplant but the leafs were harvested when they were still small. It was fully oxidized from Mojiang, Yunnan. The first thing I smelled when I received a cup was the sweet, chocolately taste. From the moment I smelled that I knew I was going to buy it...so I did. I'll probably review this tea later on. The other one I found pretty special was the 2012 Spring Top Luanze Oolong from Ali Shan from the 1600m plantation. The taste reminded me of the peel from white grapes, it was very much like drinking wine. Very fruity with this little bitterness which keeps you longing for more and more.
I've got to stop writing now because my housemates are asking me to join for a walk, can't say no to that. Sorry for this long blog without pictures, I'll make it up to you readers next time ;)
EDIT: I finally received the pictures from mr.Ohtani. Thank you very much for sending them!
|Me and mr.Ohtani|
|Here you were able to write a message about the Japanese tea ceremony|
|Me (looking somewhere else accidently) and all of the Japanese people|
|Teaparker and me!|
|Smelling a 2012 Da Yu Ling|