During my time in China I have learned from some of the greatest tea masters about the natural and actual spiritual connection of tea. There are now some tea schools in China and other countries, but they lack the spiritual dimension, which I feel is amongst the most fundamental teachings needed to understand tea.
This is likely because most tea plantations are chosen because the area is best suited for mass production to maximize profits. They are grown in perfect neat rows. Everything looks beautiful, but what happens years down the road is a bit of environmental destruction. Many times they clear cut forests to make room for the teas on the mountains. I have seen many of these areas become wastelands of either super dry arid soil or a mudslide that completely wipes it out. This is because it is not adapted to the natural environment. Before the trees that were there kept the soil in tact. Thus, the profiteer’s primary objectives are profits at the expense of the environment and the loss of ancient tea culture.
They really understood the true energetics of tea. They understood to get truly amazing tea the tree must adapt to the environment naturally not make the environment adapt to the tea tree.
One of my tea masters, the one who has taught me more than anyone about tea is Master You. One of his teas that he works on aligns with certain stars and constellations. He says this type of wild tea actually absorbs the energy around it, including the star energy. He says these stars every night shine directly onto the tea giving it it’s unique energy.
On top of that, the wild trees are surrounded by fragrant pine forests, which the tea absorbs and adds to it’s rich flavor. The soil is rich because the area is volcanic soil. All these elements combine to create a tea that is truly unique in energy and taste. All of these things happen naturally. The tea tree is independently strong, so it does not need to be tended to, unlike most of the weak, frail small trees that grow on the massive plantations.
These wild and ancient tea trees are too big and the leaves are too few to cut by machine. They must be meticulously hand picked. Not only must they be picked by a well experienced tea picker, the timing must be perfect.
Thus, every year Master You travels to that area during the tea harvest season. He must gauge the right day, air temperature, humidity, time of day and the leaf must be perfectly ripe for picking. Once all the elements are in place he will start the picking. Only a true master, one with many years of experience can do this well.
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