Last Saturday it was Chinese New Year. The year of the rooster according to Chinese zodiac started. To celebrate this event Sander, a guy from Holland organized a tea workshop in his little shop at the Bagijnestraat. Every year Sander visits China to buy the best tea he can get to sell it here.
I joined this workshop because I am interested in China and it is the place where I learned to drink Jasmine tea. On a trip from China to Tibet we got this tea in every hotel room we slept. From then on I drink it daily. But I was curious if there would be other tasteful Chinese teas.
We started with different kinds of green tea. This is not my favorite. Although I could taste that Sanders tea was very fresh and sophisticated. He showed us the difference between his teas and cheap teas from the supermarket. The aroma of good and fresh tea is clearly different from tea which grows down the hill or on top of it (the last one is the best). But also the way you store your tea affects the flavor. Tea must be kept out of light. So nicely designed packages with open parts are out of question. I learned a lot that afternoon!
The black teas Sander served were surprising. One tea had a butter like flavor another one tasted like granny’s bookshelf. At the end I got a bowl of Jasmine tea. A beautiful one. The leaves open like a flower when they soak up the water. I bought a package of these Jamine pearls so I can enjoy them at home.
One last tip: never throw old tea just in the sink, but use a special little ceramic creature, and pour your old tea over it. It will bring you good fortune.
Thee van Sander