Hey Everyone! I’m very excited to announce that I have completed the International Tea Academy’s Online Tea Courses. Certificate ID and everything!
What’s that mean? Well to me it’s a stepping stone to understanding the origins of tea. This certification is broken into 4 courses: Foundations of Chinese Tea, Chinese Tea Ceremony & History, Ancient Chinese Science & Art of Brewing, and Ancient Chinese Science of Tea Blending and Wellness.
Taking these courses and getting the certification is not for everyone. I definitely struggled with the Chinese 5 Elements of Wellness and Qi (chi). Unless I memorize (highly unlikely) the 5 Elements that go with certain body parts, in which season, to drink tea during a certain time of day and the best tea to have to balance my Qi, I won’t be using part of what I learned. But there are some eye opening things I learned from these courses that I have (in my last two posts) and want to share with you.
1.) Drinking tea should act as a calming moment built into your day.
2.) Loose leaf tea really is better quality than tea bags, and should be given space to open when steeping. I’ve been brewing mine in the bottom of a teapot or gaiwan and pouring it into my tea cup through a strainer, since taking these courses.
3.) Factory produced tea lowers the tea quality, as it breaks up the leaves, mixes teas from different regions, and more to lower cost. Most eye opening is they sometimes use the past year’s tea to mix in tea bags and include part of the tea stem to add weight, but not flavor, to teas to lower cost.
4.) There are different ways to brew in a porcelain teapot: tea leaves first then boiling water, boiling water first and tea leaves second, and half boiling water, tea leaves and fill the rest of the teapot. All options brew a different flavor.
5.) It’s best to rebrew tea leaves within the same day. If brewed tea leaves have sat over night, they are no longer fresh and it’s healthiest to start with new tea leaves.
6.) The type of water you use to brew tea does matter. The best is rain water (if you have a clean way to harvest it). For the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, moving water is healthiest, which is why the ceremony has a constant flowing movement of the liquid.
7.) Blended teas are healthiest when they have dried fruits, herbs and flowers. Many blenders use artificial flavoring to reach the aroma and flavorings they want (sometimes even used when they do use naturally dried fruits, herbs and flowers).
8.) Drinking tea should be focused on boosting your health.
Am I still going to drink my favorite factory blended teas in tea bags? Yeah. Will I feel guilty? Eh, maybe…?
I’m very glad I’ve taken these courses and gained the certification. I have a better appreciation of the origins of tea, understanding of tea trade and processing, and best blends for wellness. However, I’m probably not going to continue pursuing an education in Chinese tea. My favorite statement made in this certification was: Now that you know the origins of tea, you can take this knowledge, use your own culture, and create tea experiences that match your life best.
Happy Tea-ventures everyone!