Dear Asian Youth,
A boxed tea tray with a lid allowing for water to trickle down into the storage. The Gongfu pots and cups; cold and dry, awaiting the just-boiled water. Pots and cups that were hand-made lovingly and precisely many years ago regressed to youth by the moisture and warmth. The tea pet sitting at the corner of the tray, its carved and dull eyes brought to life by the pitcher releasing the tea wash. It fed on the scraps and was perfectly content without ever getting the pleasure of a first infusion. Today was Jasmine Phoenix Pearls, a hibernating phoenix with its wings unfurled by the bubbling water. The Phoenix dutifully flowed into the essence of the water, intertwining themselves, having been washed and awakened.
The first infusion was the most vibrant. An eternity of masterful brewing being poured into the aroma cup. From the aroma cup into the tasting cup. The aroma cup, a tall and slim vessel that held no tea and yet absorbed the Phoenix, it’s fragrance perfectly captured. An experience that traveled the world, curated by a farmer’s hands to be appreciated atop the tea tray. The first infusion danced on the tongue with a lively jolt to the senses. The remaining tea had the simple task of keeping the wares moist and warm. An instrument that was loved played better than an instrument neglected.
For the second infusion, the aroma was more profound, and the Phoenix had matured. The tea tray collected disregarded water and let it flow throughout every curve and duct it had. A faint sound of running water could be heard, a reminder of the lively tea dancing under the tray. Its matured counterpart sat staidly and prodded for a deeper feeling. The cups were rinsed with the previously bubbling water, its trail leading into the tray’s crevices. The walls were purified, allowing the matured Phoenix to completely envelop the cups in its aroma and flavor.
A Gongfu tea ceremony was a much-needed escape from the constant berating of the outside world. The intricacies of water temperature and steeping time were the only worries that existed on a tea tray, not bills and fading friendships. The Phoenix’s flavor and aroma was a much more satisfying pay-off than most tasks in the outside world. Reality was always going to push a chaotic and hopeless narrative. Within the ceremonial wares that rested happily on the tea tray, life was about appreciating every small detail and caring for the process more than the result.
- Lexy Kobashigawa
Tea is supposed to be an escape into tranquility and an awakening of the senses. Many careful parts are included in a tea ceremony and it's very intimate. I wanted to embody the process of a tea ceremony in a personified way and showcase how making tea is much more about the end product.
Biography: I am Lexy Kobashigawa, a junior in high school and a president of the Asian-Americans United Club (AAUC) at my school. I am passionate about writing and tea, so why not combine the two!
Cover photo source: http://www.chineseyixingteapots.com/Special-Sale-Chinese-Gong-Fu-Tea-Ceremony-Tea-Ware-Group-Experience-China-Tradition-Tea-Culture--432.html