Wednesday, June 28, 2006

old man's tea Even though it was nine years ago, I still remember the very first time I saw a coffee mug full of green leaves and water. I was shocked! "What is that?" My student laughed at me and said, "It's tea." TEA!?!?! To me, tea was some brown substance folded inside a small white filter (AKA: a tea bag), brewed hot, drunk cold. He offered me a little paper cup full of green leaves topped off with hot water. I tried it, and it was B.I.T.T.E.R. Now, I love that bitter drink and serve it myself. In fact, if you want to really "serve tea" in Taiwan there is an entire process that must be followed. However, unlike the Japanese tea ritual, the tea ritual in Taiwan is more relaxed. But, it does last a long time. Brew a little, pour a little, drink a little. Brew some more, pour some more, drink a little more. Repeat. This process is lovingly referred to as "old man's tea." All over Taiwan, you can find groups of people sitting around drinking tea and socializing: at a souviener shop, in a temple, at the automechanic's, in front of their homes. Everytime I see a group of people sitting around drinking tea, I think: "that could be a church!" I pray that one day it will be a group of believers sitting around discussing what God is doing in their lives as they sip their green tea at the end of the day, a Bible study group meeting to discuss the book of John, a family gathering to pray for each other and their lost neighbors. Oh, may it one day be true!! In order to reach other cultures for Christ, we do not necessarily need to "change" them. God can redeem cultural traditions in order to bring greater glory to Himself. Isn't that cool? This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty hosted and sponsored by Sallie at A Gracious Home. This week the theme was The Beauty of Coffee and Tea.
how to make old man's tea One of my writing students, Juliet, wrote about "old man's tea" for her process essay this last year. I thought in continuing the theme of tea in Taiwan I would share with you her essay. Keep in mind she English is her foreign language and this was an assignment for her class. Otherwise: enjoy learning how to make old man's tea from a Taiwanese young person! "Old man’s tea" is an old Chinese convention. It is a nice kind of rest and recreation for leisure. Many people in Taiwan like “old man’s” tea and my boyfriend likes, too. He is older that me, so he is an old man, so he enjoys “old man’s” tea. My boyfriend thinks drinking the tea can help our body’s metabolism, and make our spirits become well. Would you like your health to get better? Would you like to learn how to make “old man’s” tea? Making “old man’s” tea is not difficult when you follow these three steps. The first step to making “old man’s” tea is to get the things you need. You should choose a kind of tea you like because the tea has many different types and tastes. If you like mild flavors you should choose green tea, black tea, or wu long tea for a sweet and sharp taste. If you want to drink a fragrant, sweet tea, try one of the flower teas. They are not dry and coarse. After you choose your tea, then you need to prepare other stuff. You need to have a fire stove for boiling water, some drinking water a tea pot, tongs, tall narrow “smell cups” and a cloth. You need to have them all ready. After you have completely prepared every thing, with nothing missing, you can start to make tea. First, put tea leaves in the tea pot. Next, boil the water and pour the water in the tea pot. It should soak for about three minutes. Take the first brew and wash the tea cups with it. This makes them hot. Also, pour the first brew into the “tall smell cups” to smell the tea. But, the first brew had is messy, so the first brew is not usually drank. Then put the hot water in the pot again. Remember, do not soak for too long of a time because, the tea will have an astringent taste. Finally, the last step of making “old man’s” tea is to drink and enjoy the tea. First, give every one a smell cup and a tea cup. Then pour the second brew of tea into the smell cup. Then pour the tea from the smell cup into the tea cup. You can smell the smell cup’s scent. After wards, you can drink the tea. The tea will be hot, so you should be careful not to burn your mouth. When the second brew is gone, you can use the same tea leaves again to brew more tea. But, after soaking about five or...

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