Selected Tea Proses : LUSENET : Tea Forum : One Thread

Selected proses, letters, notes with tea theme

-- martin tai (, January 18, 1999


Elderly Min Tea

Chou Me-Nong bragged about Min Vin-sui's tea to me over and over. In the ninth month of Mu-yen, I went to the City of Liu. After landing, I visited Min Vin-sui at Peach Leave Ferry. It was afternoon, and Vin-sui was out. He came back late, and I saw a grumpy old man. No sooner than introduction, he suddently exclaimed " I forgot my cane at some one's home !" then out he went. I said to myself " I cannot afford to waste a whole day". I called again. When Vin- sui returned, it was already evening. He glanced at me, and said "Is the guest still here ? What are you here for ?" " I have long heard your reputation, I will not leave here unless I get to drink Vin-sui tea" I replied.

Vin-sui was pleased, and set up stove and brew tea himself, as swiftly as wind and storm. He led me into a room with bright windows and clean desk and filled with Thorn Brook tea pots and Chen Shuen Kiln porcelain cups. What an exquisite collection ! Under the lamplight, the color of tea looked the same as the porcelin cups, but the tea had an aggresive aroma, I exclaimed with amazement and ask Vin-sui "Where do you obtained this tea ?" "It was from the the Garden of Liang" he replied. I sipped again, and said " Don't fool me, this tea was indeed made according to Liang Garden recipe, but it doesn't tasted so" "Do you know where the tea was from ? " asked Vin-sui, hiding his smile. I sipped again, and said " How come it tasted so much like Lu Gie tea ?" "Odd, odd !" said Vin-sui, sticking out his tongue. I ask Vin-sui what kind of water he used. "Hui Spring water" "Don't fool me, Hui Spring water travelled thousands of miles how come the water moves but not the pebbles ?" "I am not going to hide the truth any more. When one fetch Hui Spring water one must dig a well, and wait in a silent night for new water to arrive, then bucket it up quickly. Mountain pebbles would line the bottom of the jar. A boat will not move without the wind, so still water creates no pebbles......" " Odd, odd !" said he, sticking out his tongue. No sooner he uttered this words, out he went. He soon returned with a kettle and pour me a full cup of tea, and said " please try this " "It has an intense aroma and rich taste. Is this spring tea ? The one I tasted before was Autumn pick " Vin-sui laughed heartily and said " In seventy years of my life, I have never met a single connoisseur like you !" We became friends.

From Book III, "Dream and Remininscence of Tao An" by Famous Ming Dynasty writer Zhang Dai(1597-1689 AD)

-- martin (, November 04, 2004.

Drink Tea with a Lady in a Mountain

From " Old Chan's Travel " -- a novel by Ching Dynasty writer Liu Erh

He saw a lady of eighteen or nineteen years old, lifting the curtain and walked in, wearing a blue cotton jacket, and a aqua color cloth skirt. She looked pretty, well proportioned, quiet, bright and relaxed.

[ The guest and the pretty hostess had a long discussion about Confucious, Taoism, Buddhism and moralists ...]

.... Zi Pin praised her profusely: " I am lucky to meet you today as a mentor...." The lady smiled and glanced at Zi Pin. He felt her eyebrows like beautiful leaves and her red lips like blossoming flower, and he felt a string a of mysterious fragrance had penetrated his flesh to its bones...

A servant bought in two old china cups of tea. No sooner than the light green tea was laid on the table, the fragrance already swamped the nostrils.

The hostess drank a mouthful of tea, goggled , then spitted out to a pit at the corner, drank another mouthful, again spitted out

" We had a lengthy discussion about the moralists, the pungent smells made my teeth stinks ! From now on only topics on moon and winds are permitted. " said she , laughing.

Zi Pin said yeah yeah, while took a sip of the tea, what an exquisite aroma ! Swallowing down the throat, he felt the aroma followed through to his inards, while saliva gushing from the root of his tongue, so fragrant and sweeet, he took another two sips, and the aroma seemed to rush back to his nostrils, and he felt undescribly good.

"What kind of tea is this, why tastes so good ?" he asked.

"There is nothing special about the tea, it is a wild tea from this mountain, so has a rich flavour. Thanks to the water taken from the spring at the peak of the East Mountain. Spring water tastes better the higher up it comes. Furthermore, the water was boiled in a sandy pot with pine needles as fuel. Three goods things add together, naturally the tea tasted good. The tea you drink being bought from the market, kind of cultivated tea, so has a weak taste, compounded with inpropriate use of water and fire, so naturally the taste will be poor."

Lie Erh, (1857-1909) an officer of Ching Dynasty, well versed in mathematics, medicine and hydrology. His novel Lao Chan's Travel was published in 1906 

-- martin (, November 04, 2004.

On Zhong Leng Spring Water

Poor people had hard time in buying tea, even harder to obtain water. A friend of the eminent writer Ou Yang Xiu[1] once bought Zong Leng Spring water. Ou Yang was quite surprised, and said "You has being a poor man , how can you afford such expensive thing ?" His friend asked for explaination. Ou Yang examined the container, and said, "The tasted of the water has gone !" Because the spring water has a strong spirit, and must be contained with gold or silver, otherwise it will go through the container, that is why poor people cannot afford such exotic water.

From " Notebook from House of Plum Flower " first published in Ming Dynasty.

[1] Ou Yang Xiu, a famous writer in Sung Dynasty.

-- martin (, November 04, 2004.

Zhong Leng Spring in Zhen Jiang , was known as" Number One spring". Ching Dynasty writer Zhang Chao described how an ancient Taoist in search of exotic water, in contrast to the mass jamming tea house to drink Zhong Leng from a well, or aristocat boiling Zhong Leng in a private boat, yet still used the water from the well.

The following is an excerpt.

Zhong Leng Spring

At January, I traveled to Tsen River. Jan 4th, I arrived at Yun county via Zhen County. Viewing from the ship, the lofty Gold Mountain shooting right from the center of waves and towering high above the clouds. The flying roofs of temple sparkled crimson, the setting sun painted the sky purple.

I was mulling over whether to land, wondering how clear the Zhong Leng Spring would be.

Next day, I hired a boat cut through waves and landed. I climbed up the mountain, strolled around the marble veranda, listened to the roaring waves smashing the rocks. Then ascended the stairs to the second level, where I zig-zagged through a tea shop, and finally reached the world reknown Zhong Leng Spring. There a stone arbour was built covering the well, enclosed by marble rails with dragon sculptures; the scales and claws of those dragons looked as if still alive. The monks in the temple relied on this well for their water supply

It was the day of Money God Festival. Tens of thousands of people came over here to rub their shoulders and worship in the temple. The tea house was completely full, hence no admittance. I went back three times and finally succeeded in having a few cups of the spring water-- I tasted it carefully, and felt it tasted no different from the water in the river ! I was doubtful, and left quietly.

I scaled the perilously steep Gold Mountain to explore its majestic scenery. Exhausted, I took a rest. While raising my head, I spotted a few lines faintly engraved on the rock, hidden underneath the green moss and clinging vines. After a round of scrape and wipe, I learned that the spring water which the ancients extolled were actually located elsewhere, amidst the Tomb of Guo Pu.

The method was get a copper bottle tied with a long rope, lower it only at high noon or midnight through the rock opening down a few feet to get to the genuine spring. If the depth or position was off a little, one would miss the real thing -- the taste of Zhong Leng Spring. I was excited, and suddenly sweating all over. However, I could'nt get hold of any copper bottle nor long rope to carry out the ancient instruction and get the real thing for drink. Guo's Tomb was situated at the south west corner of this mountain, in the middle gigantic waves; the surrounding rocks, jagged and grotesque, like a horde of strange beasts and weird monsters. It was quite a distance from the Gold Mountain, seemed so remote and unreachable, I paced back and forth, or stared at the wide river. It was late in the night, I turned back the boat, and felt at lost. I blamed myself for not up to the ancients.

A few days later, the boat sailed back from Tsen City. There as a Taoist name Gan onboard. He had a gadget concealed under his rags, making a jingling noise. I asked to see, it was a water gourd, red inside and yellow outside, about five inches in diameter and one foot in height, with three hooks at one side, linked together with a copper chain some ten feet long; about three feet into the chain a link hooked to a copper ring on the gourd cap, which can be open and shut by pulling the copper chain. A string on the cap tied a brass ball to one side of the gourd. I was curious , and asked for more information. He was mighty secretive, and declined to answer. But after a long while, he said to me: " Would you mind to follow me and share a cup of Zhong Leng ? " I leaped up, I bowed with with hand in hand and thanked him So I bid farewell to the passengers on the boat and followed the Taoist to board a night boat. Two days later, we arrived at the Township of Yun, it was already evening drum time. That night, after rain, the moon was late coming, but the sky started to opened up and not quite dim. At third drum, the boat sailed straight towards Guo's Tomb. The shore was rocky and the water rapid, we could not land. Hand in hand, we tip-toed on the river stones, only a few steps, we saw a dark and hollow stone cavity. The Taoist said, "This is it, the Zhong Leng well ! ". He fetched the gourd, with the brass ball tossed to one side so the gourd lied horizontal and lowered it about ten feet into the cavity, the Taoist operated his mechanism shifted the brass ball at the center to tip the gourd upright to collect the water; he than operated a second mechanism to close the cap tightly as if glued; he slowly withdrew the copper chain, and opened up the gourd, it was already blissfully filled with water. Hastily we returned to the boat and docked on land. We heated the water in a clay container, and brought it quickly to a boil. I borrowed the Taoist's scoop and took a sip; I felt an etheral fragrance spreading from my cheek and teeth down to my very stomach; after two or three scoops, I felt on wings, and transcended all worries of this heathen world. I exclaimed "Oh, water,water ! The ancients did not fooled us after all ! "

Next day, the Taoist bid farewell, and I too turned back my boat. On a near by boat, I saw an aristocrat in fur coat ordered a boy set up a fire to boil Zhong Leng water from the well on top.

Note: Guo Pu was the one of the founder of Chinese FengSui tradition

First posted here and in in 1996

The message Zheng Leng Spring in is still intact, the message in this forum disappeared mysteriously, now repost from copy at

-- martin (, November 04, 2004.

In ancient times, people was very picky in selection of water for brewing tea.

The folloiwng except from a Ming dynasty Chinese classic " Chang Wu Zi " by Wen Zhen Heng. We can get a glimpse of how the ancient prople treated water.


Water from Heaven

Autumn rain is best, May water second.

Autumn water is clean and cool, May water is clean and sweet. For Spring and Winter, Spring water is better than Winter water, as in Spring time the wind is mild and rain is sweet. Avoid Summer storm, as thunder and sea monster is most harmful to human. Snow essence of crops, brewing tea with snow is excellent. Fresh snow smells earthy, sligtly old snow is better. Collect snow with cloth, do not use snow from roof eaves.

Water from Earth

Flowing spring water, such as from Hei Mountain is the finest. Next come cool spring water. Clear spring is easy to get, cool spring is rare. Muddy spring would not be cool. Some spring has aroma, and some taste sweet. Sweet is common, aroma is rare; and spring with aroma is seldom not sweet. Don't use gushing water, prolong drinking of gushing water may cause head ailment. The falls from Mountain Lu and Tien Tei, is excellent for sight and sound, but not for brewing tea. Hot spring contains sulphur, not suitable for drinking.


-- martin (, November 04, 2004.

Taste Tea

Yesterday, I went along with Mr. Xu Mou-wu to buy tea at the Old Dragon Well. A dozen mountaineers shown their teas. Mou-wu sampled from each one of them, and said they were all imitations. "Genuine Dragon Well is sweet and fragrant but not chilly; any chilliness comes only from imitations in the mountain" said he. He procured only two or three ounces of real thing. I tried it, it was indeed sweet and fragrant like orchid. But the mountaineers and monks in monastry all alleged Mou-wu was wrong. However I was not in any position to judge, as conterfeits can really fool people. According to Wou-wu's accessment Tiger Hill Tea was number one. He used to buy a pound or so Tiger Hill tea for about one ounce of silver. Temple monks recognized that Mou- wu was a tea connoiseur, and dared not cheat him. Other people even paid higher prices still got immitation tea.

From Notebook of the House of Rapid Snow

Martin Tai translation , Nov, 2004)

-- martin (, November 04, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ