Friday, May 27, 2016

Zealong Tea Estate

Yesterday, we got to spend several lovely hours at the beautiful Zealong tea plantation, celebrating Ruth's birthday a little early. We had a private tour of the grounds, participated in a super-cool tea ceremony, and had lunch at the onsite cafe, which utilizes tea in a variety of ways in its dishes. It was a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience! We all have a new appreciation of tea and hope to experiment more with it in the future.

Zealong Tea Estate

The story of tea in sculptures

This series of sculptures, made of teapots and tea cups,
with a dragon head on the first pot and a dragon tail on the last one,
represents the spirit of the plantation, since "oolong" means "black dragon."

So happy to share this experience with my people!

The trimming machine is the only machine
that touches the plants while they are in the field.
All tea leaves are picked by hand.

The oversized chairs at the function center were a big hit with the boys.
(And, even with plenty of room to spread out, they are still touching each other!)

Trying on the tea picker hats

Everything about the tea ceremony was awesome--
from the table and chairs, to the process, to the five varieties of tea we got to try.
We tried a green tea, a pure oolong, an aromatic oolong, a dark oolong, and a black tea.
There are very specific ways in which the varieties of teas are prepared
and specific rules of etiquette to follow when participating in the ceremony.
The little picture in the middle on the right shows the two cups used in the ceremony.
The tall one is the scent cup, used only for smelling, and the short one is the drinking cup.
When it's time to drink, you are supposed to drink in exactly three sips:
the first for taste, the second for warmth, and the third for thirst.

A special treat:
passion fruit macaroons infused and sprinkled with aromatic oolong tea

This is not the variety of camila used for making tea,
but they are scattered throughout the plantation to give a pop of color,
as the plants from which the tea leaves come are never allowed to bloom.

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