Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reflecting on Teas with Cha Qi – A Personal Experience

Natural and organic farms, wild tea trees that grow naturally in a biologically diverse environment that is thriving with life provides the source for quality tea leaves that possess good Cha Qi.

It can be argued that all teas have Cha Qi. However few teas have the strength of Cha Qi that can drive and inspire our bodies to the level of appreciation. The source of Cha Qi comes from nature. The strength of Cha Qi is dependent on the growing environment and the tea tree’s ability to take and absorb from the land and its surroundings. Therefore older and larger tea trees that possess deep and expansive roots and foliage will often produce leaves with stronger Cha Qi comparative to young tea bushes with smaller roots and foliage that have limited coverage and access to nutrients. After harvest the Cha Qi in the tea leaf is nurtured under careful processing and becomes refined and intensified with the passage of time. It is for this reason that the most powerful Cha Qi found in tea comes from the category of age tea.

 Description of the variations of Cha Qi felt from different types of old tea. - Text from the article An Elementary Introduction to the Qi of Tea by Gao You Cheng, The Art of Tea No.2

From my encounters the majority of teas that have provided me with the most memorable experiences with Cha Qi has been old tea that are 40+ years old and in many instances well beyond. These special old teas are not limited to puerh tea but also includes liu an, liu bao, fu brick, chong shi cha (aka worm tea) and various types of oolong tea. These well matured tea leaves have the capacity to lift my spirits, sharpen my senses, at times prompting random laughter spurred by moments of pure joy. Drinking these teas have provided me with blissful contentment whilst embracing a sense of deep calm and relaxation that envelopes the body and mind. It is a magical feeling, a feeling that has to be experienced to fully grasp the meaning in these words. - Cha Qi has to be felt, to be acknowledged; practiced to be rewarded; and alongside time, it will evolve our perceptions and open our mind.

Additional Note: The journey of Cha Qi can be a challenging one and becomes more so once it covers the exploration and appreciation of age teas. It takes a serious and passionate tea enthusiast to delve deep into this subject. The conditions of the tea market today make searching and obtaining genuinely good age teas a risky and time consuming affair that places a heavy financial burden on buyers. Furthermore we need to recognize that not all of us will have the awareness and sensitivity in our bodies that can be immediately called upon. It is my observation that strong medication, sickness, physical and mental stress and/or disorientation will inhibit the flow of Cha Qi and can numb the senses. To best appreciate the energy of Cha Qi I have observed that the combination of a healthy and relaxed body and a focused mind can advance its effects and heighten our own experiences. With this in mind some tea enthusiasts practice meditation and will even make lifestyle changes to better focus the mind and prepare the body for receiving and appreciating the energy of Cha Qi.

"… many of the old Puerh teas that inspire the greatest Qi in our bodies are extremely rare and expensive. In the future, such precious teas will be unavailable. It is therefore very important that they be appreciated fully while they still last and that cannot happen if those drinking them are not concentrated. The reverence of the tea and focus on it exclusively are paramount to the appreciation of Cha Qi.”, 
excerpt from the article An Elementary Introduction to the Qi of Tea by Gao You Cheng

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