Monday, October 17, 2016
Dong Ding, Farmer, and Tea: When You Drink A Tea, Can you Tell If It's Good?
I am going to focus these next couples of months writing about Dong Ding tea, so that I can finally finish my stories and avoid repeating what I have written before.
From the recent three posts of my experiences with the Dong Ding farmer, I hope you get a good sense of his personality: Dong Ding, Farmer, and Tea; Dong Ding, Farmer, and Tea: This Is What I Did For Tea; Dong Ding, Farmer, and Tea: Tasting Tea.
So much had happened during my first afternoon in Dong Ding. I woke up very early the next morning. The sun had just snuck through the clouds. I love that moment, so quiet and peaceful. The only thing that greeted me was the beauty from nature. There were tea fields around the house we stayed. I decided to take a short walk and noticed they were different tea varietals, but couldn't tell which one is which.
After looking at the tea plants for a while, I saw Farmer coming. I asked, "Are these your tea plants? They look very healthy!" He gave me an intense look again and said, "No." "It looks like they are different varietals. Can you teach me how to identify them?" I asked. "Why do you want to learn that?" he said. "Well, I own a tea business. I want to learn as much about tea as possible" I replied. He then said, "That's garbage. Now answer me a question. When you drink a tea, can you tell if it's good?" That question rang like a bell in my head. I closed my eyes for a couple of seconds and then looked at him right in the eyes, "Every time I do my best." He looked at me and I felt he could sense my sincerity. He said, "Tell you mom and son that breakfast is ready." I looked at his back and thought of that question, amazed by how that question hit me.
At breakfast he said to me, "Some people come and tell me they have been drinking tea for 20 years. The moment we share a pot of tea, I realize some of them can't taste tea at all, and that's very pathetic to drink bad tea for 20 years. I don't care how much one knows about tea. If one can't taste tea, what's the point of learning all the facts about tea?" I thought that made a lot of sense. Until today, I put "tasting tea" as my number one tea learning, and I haven't told the Farmer yet that knowledge is still very important. When one can taste more, knowledge becomes alive and beautiful.
*photograhpy by Jake Knapp of Cloud 9 Photography.