Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby tenuki » Mar 11th, '11, 20:15

I was up in Vancouver this last weekend visiting teashops and happened upon an interesting topic of discussion. I had varying experiences and comments from each of the teashop owners on Chao Zhou style and wanted to get some additional input from the people here for my own amusement and learning.

What do you think 'Chao Zhou' style kung fu cha is and how do you do it?

One of the shop's owners had the following comment about one of there customers and an argument they had over chao zhou style (I have roughly paraphrased the comments):

"Haaha, I love it when XXXX comes in here and tells me what Chao Zhou style is and how I'm not crushing the leaves in my hand so I'm not doing true style. I'm _from_ the Chao Zhou region and my family is in the tea business for many generations. I learned from my grandfather. Don't tell me 'right way'. Haahahaaa.

Nowadays the bits are removed from the tea because customers think it is lower grade if that isn't done, but the bits you get from crushing are different than the bits you get naturally from the tea processing. Those are oxidized and roasted on the ends, while the ones you crush with your hands aren't. Big difference in taste. I personally feel that crushing the leaves is maybe ok if you like it, but it is new style, not authentic.

Doing it wrong. hahahahaha."


Anyway, you get the idea. I got the feeling that this particular customer was caucasian and had never been to china. This was a source of great amusement to this particular shop owner that he would presume to correct them about their own culture.

Thoughts? Comments?
User avatar
tenuki
 
Posts: 2339
Joined: Oct 23rd, '
Location: Seattle Area

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby Tead Off » Mar 11th, '11, 23:58

tenuki wrote:I was up in Vancouver this last weekend visiting teashops and happened upon an interesting topic of discussion. I had varying experiences and comments from each of the teashop owners on Chao Zhou style and wanted to get some additional input from the people here for my own amusement and learning.

What do you think 'Chao Zhou' style kung fu cha is and how do you do it?

One of the shop's owners had the following comment about one of there customers and an argument they had over chao zhou style (I have roughly paraphrased the comments):

"Haaha, I love it when XXXX comes in here and tells me what Chao Zhou style is and how I'm not crushing the leaves in my hand so I'm not doing true style. I'm _from_ the Chao Zhou region and my family is in the tea business for many generations. I learned from my grandfather. Don't tell me 'right way'. Haahahaaa.

Nowadays the bits are removed from the tea because customers think it is lower grade if that isn't done, but the bits you get from crushing are different than the bits you get naturally from the tea processing. Those are oxidized and roasted on the ends, while the ones you crush with your hands aren't. Big difference in taste. I personally feel that crushing the leaves is maybe ok if you like it, but it is new style, not authentic.

Doing it wrong. hahahahaha."


Anyway, you get the idea. I got the feeling that this particular customer was caucasian and had never been to china. This was a source of great amusement to this particular shop owner that he would presume to correct them about their own culture.

Thoughts? Comments?

I have seen some crush leaves and some who don't do it. He is correct in saying that it isn't the same when you crush whole leaves.
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3372
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby Evan Draper » Mar 14th, '11, 18:25

From reading your post, it sounds like you asked the owner, "What is Chao Zhou style?" and while he complained about other people giving him their mistaken impressions of Chao Zhou style, he still didn't bother to tell you what Chao Zhou style "actually" was. "Skillful" deflection on his part, right? :wink:
User avatar
Evan Draper
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Jan 23rd, '
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby brandon » Mar 15th, '11, 15:49

Evan Draper wrote:From reading your post, it sounds like you asked the owner, "What is Chao Zhou style?" and while he complained about other people giving him their mistaken impressions of Chao Zhou style, he still didn't bother to tell you what Chao Zhou style "actually" was. "Skillful" deflection on his part, right? :wink:


I think you make a good point that the owner attacked a strawman instead of answering the question, but I think there is a nugget hidden in his statement.

That his estimation is that the layering of the tea is conducted with broken bits 'reserved' from processing, that as a result achieved a higher oxidation and roasting than the balled up whole leaves, instead of crushing whole leaves 'on demand' to build the layers.

I've tried it both ways and I find it more of a preference than a compelling difference in the end result. Not a big surprise that three different southern Chinese I can think of now doing this in the US, all three have had different teachers and perform it differently. I guess this guy can be #4. I would like to know who this person was, would be interested to visit someday.
User avatar
brandon
 
Posts: 1539
Joined: Sep 25th, '

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby tenuki » Mar 16th, '11, 01:54

Actually we did have a good discussion about chao zhou technique and I learned a lot. I would have posted about that, but some things are not very well conveyed over the internet, ie more of a direct experience thing. The paraphrased portion of our conversation actually touched on that idea a bit.

I happened upon a couple of blogs just before the trip that explained the 'right way' to do cha zhou which prompted my questions. I tend to distrust anyone who bears 'truth' and this anecdote really hit home on that point.

What I was most struck by during the trip was the differences between every individuals idea of what it was. These are all experienced and knowledgeable tea vendors and yet a different story from each one. Who was 'right'? All of them would be my answer.
User avatar
tenuki
 
Posts: 2339
Joined: Oct 23rd, '
Location: Seattle Area

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby chrl42 » Mar 16th, '11, 06:06

Been strolling tea shops in China, and those pretty ones in Qipao who had long 'little fingers' with a trained smile on a sharp tongue, might have had brewed tea at best, but my impression was the opposite. :mrgreen:
User avatar
chrl42
 
Posts: 1492
Joined: Mar 22nd, '
Location: Beijing

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 16th, '11, 12:21

I guess the main point is, be cautious when anyone tells you something is "the only right way"? :D

Besides, I got the impression that the above mentioned Caucasian xxxx thought his way was the right way, probably because it was taught to him by some authoritative figure. And the shop owner thought his way obviously because he was brought up in Chaozhou. Whether either of them is right or wrong, I don't think either of their reasoning is legitimate for them to believe it's "the only right way".

Maybe I think too much (and it's op's fault to make me think too much :mrgreen: ) - it's not uncommon these days that people would firmly believe something is the right way because "the tea master said so..." or "the tea authority said so..." or "my ancestor said so..." It's almost like once some people fall into the mystification of tea, it becomes their interests to further mystify tea and draw more people into it. Maybe it's not entirely bad (at least more people drink tea), but I always feel there is something wrong.
User avatar
gingkoseto
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sep 24th, '
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby tenuki » Mar 16th, '11, 13:44

chrl42 wrote:Been strolling tea shops in China, and those pretty ones in Qipao who had long 'little fingers' with a trained smile on a sharp tongue, might have had brewed tea at best, but my impression was the opposite. :mrgreen:

:lol: :lol: :lol:
User avatar
tenuki
 
Posts: 2339
Joined: Oct 23rd, '
Location: Seattle Area

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby wyardley » Mar 16th, '11, 13:57

There are definitely various lineages, as with any oral tradition. I don't think there's a right or wrong way, necessarily, but you do see different styles emerge in the various areas where Chaozhou people have been living for long periods of time. My pet theory is that since so many Chaozhou people have settled in HK, SE Asia, etc, their tea brewing method, terminology, and equipment has evolved differently in each area. And of course, just plain individual variation. Many of us here in the US have learned from people who have studied at HK shops such as (but not limited to) Best Tea House, and many of these people have a similar style.

I don't know if the original post is a troll or not, but I'd be interested in seeing any links to people who are claiming that their way is the only right way to do it. Personally, I have not seen any credible sources (i.e., people who actually know what they're talking about) insisting that their way is the only right way to do it, and I would tend to simply ignore anyone who did make such an assertion.

I'm not so sure about the bits crushed during processing being oxidized differently - I'm not a tea producer, but I'd think that most breakage would happen after the tea has been partially oxidized and dried -- in other words, the bits around the edge would be more oxidized, and the bits from the center of the leaf would be less oxidized.

But I hadn't ever thought that the intent of crushing the leaves (of Tieguanyin, which is the main tea I see some people do the leaf crushing thing with) was just to emulate the time when loose tea contained more broken bits - I always thought it was to make the strength of each infusion more consistent, i.e., the broken bits will make the early brews stronger, and then give out earlier; the bigger pieces will give out more as they expand. And of course, oils from the hand / finger may trigger some minor changes in the taste, similar to rubbing dried herbs in your hand before using them. I did ask one person if teas other than Tieguanyin were ever crushed for Chaozhou gongfucha, and at the time, this person told me something along the lines of "sometimes for Phoenix shuixian, but not for Phoenix dancong or Wuyi yancha". I don't think of these as hard and fast rules - once you develop some experience and play around a little, you can determine when you might want to intentionally break some leaves.

The crushed leaves do change the taste of the tea also... to me, it adds a certain tanginess or something. I often crush the leaves with roasted Tieguanyin, because that's how I was taught, and in many cases, I prefer the results that way, but I don't think that's the "right" way (or the only right way) to do it.

The type of tea is important too. My limited understanding is that Chaozhou gonfucha is traditionally focused on (roughly in this order):
    Wuyi Yancha
    Anxi Tieguanyin
    Fenghuang Dancong / Shuixian

The sources I've read seem to imply Wuyi teas were considered the best / most famous in the early days [though reading it more closely, one of these, from the book mentioned below, seems to be talking about Taiwanese). Had an interesting discussion with Marshaln about whether oolong had even been invented yet in the early days of Chaozhou gongfucha. I had always assumed it had, but seems like it's not that clear cut. This quote from Appreciation of Zisha Teapots (砂壺匯赏), Dynasty Culture and Art Publishing House, Hong Kong, p41 (this is the book's own English translation of the Chinese text).

The congou [read gongfu] was first described in Yu Jiao's (1751-?) book Miscellanea of Chaoshan and Jiaxing in Qing Dynasty. He said that "The proper way to make congou is to obey Lu Yu's tea ceremony, but with more exquisite tea sets.


Hopefully not too much self promotion, however, I think some of the information in these two threads is also relevant:
http://teadrunk.org/viewtopic.php?id=97
http://teadrunk.org/viewtopic.php?id=45
User avatar
wyardley
 
Posts: 1921
Joined: Jan 11th, '
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby chrl42 » Mar 16th, '11, 22:10

Jiang Yu Fa is a very authorative figure of Puerh in Korea and China (born in Taiwan), he was one of those who've tasted Forbidden City's Golden Melon (oldest Puerh recorded) and the first to walked Ancient Tea Horse Road in the old fashion,

he often get asked by the Koreans, "What's the true taste of Puerh like?" - everytime he hears that he replies "it is the same as when Koreans get asked "what's the true taste of Kimchi like?""

besides talking Jeollado's Kimchi is spicy and Kyongsangdo's Kimchi is salty and contains over 20 stuffs to make sauce etc..as a Korean all I can say is, I eat it cos I love it, and having love has reasons, heck I can't live a day without Kimchi :mrgreen:

but of course discussions should go on..
User avatar
chrl42
 
Posts: 1492
Joined: Mar 22nd, '
Location: Beijing

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby takchi11 » Mar 18th, '11, 08:39

gingkoseto wrote:I guess the main point is, be cautious when anyone tells you something is "the only right way"? :D

Besides, I got the impression that the above mentioned Caucasian xxxx thought his way was the right way, probably because it was taught to him by some authoritative figure. And the shop owner thought his way obviously because he was brought up in Chaozhou. Whether either of them is right or wrong, I don't think either of their reasoning is legitimate for them to believe it's "the only right way".

Maybe I think too much (and it's op's fault to make me think too much :mrgreen: ) - it's not uncommon these days that people would firmly believe something is the right way because "the tea master said so..." or "the tea authority said so..." or "my ancestor said so..." It's almost like once some people fall into the mystification of tea, it becomes their interests to further mystify tea and draw more people into it. Maybe it's not entirely bad (at least more people drink tea), but I always feel there is something wrong.


I totally agree with you. In tai chi, the Yang Short Form 37 movement is the most popular style and widely pratice but is it correct to say that it's the right style? Yang tai chi is derived from Chen the root (e.g. like in Latin). Even Chen style has many styles these days with old frame and new frame. I think it's important to have an open mind.
takchi11
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 24th, '

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby el gringo » Mar 18th, '11, 10:03

I'm always amazed how often my thoughts on martial arts flow so easily with my thoughts on tea and its various rituals.

If there is one thing I have learnt from practicing kendo, its that virtually every teacher (or even student) has their own way of doing things, of which invariably they will tell you is 'the way'. The best way to learn from these, in my experience, is to take in as much information as possible, try each of these slightly different ways and see what works best for you, which will probably end up being a mix of all you have been told.

Another point that comes to mind is something my sensei once told me, that even though all these people appear to be teaching completely different things, they are all essentially working towards the same goal, just on slightly different paths.
User avatar
el gringo
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Jan 16th, '
Location: Wales

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby tea-awed » Mar 18th, '11, 12:02

el gringo wrote:I'm always amazed how often my thoughts on martial arts flow so easily with my thoughts on tea and its various rituals.

If there is one thing I have learnt from practicing kendo, its that virtually every teacher (or even student) has their own way of doing things, of which invariably they will tell you is 'the way'. The best way to learn from these, in my experience, is to take in as much information as possible, try each of these slightly different ways and see what works best for you, which will probably end up being a mix of all you have been told.

Another point that comes to mind is something my sensei once told me, that even though all these people appear to be teaching completely different things, they are all essentially working towards the same goal, just on slightly different paths.


+1 In other words to make tea that you enjoy :) . Isn't that the end goal?
User avatar
tea-awed
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Jan 17th, '
Location: Greece

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby takchi11 » Mar 21st, '11, 08:29

Tea-awed, you are absolutely right. That's why I like to mingle with tea people who has an open mind and who does not considered themselves as tea snobs so that the tea industry can just be as big in the US like the coffee world.
takchi11
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 24th, '

Re: Chao Zhou style Kung Fu Cha

Postby Evan Draper » Mar 21st, '11, 23:46

wyardley wrote:I'm not so sure about the bits crushed during processing being oxidized differently - I'm not a tea producer, but I'd think that most breakage would happen after the tea has been partially oxidized and dried -- in other words, the bits around the edge would be more oxidized, and the bits from the center of the leaf would be less oxidized.

Neither am I a tea producer, but I have read that breakage often occurs during the rolling process. So if I am not too far off, that would be after oxidation and firing (kill-green), yes, but before drying/roasting.
User avatar
Evan Draper
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Jan 23rd, '
Location: Philadelphia

Next

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation