Just like saying “I like drinking tea” without specifying the kind of tea from the five general categories is insufficiently sophisticated, liking Chinese tea culture without specifying a dynasty feels equally unsatisfactory. Song Dynasty is probably the most important periods for Chinese tea culture, because it bears the root of the unspeakably subtle aesthetic of tea.
Dian Cha is a popular tea making technique in Song. It involves grinding tea cake into tea powder and whipping the mixture to give an impressive milky froth. People drink Dian Cha while appreciate the froth art. Originally started as a part of the ritual in Buddhist temples, the practice was further refined by Sen No Rikkyu in Japan, and even finds its contemporary revival in latte art.
This elaborate way of making tea gives rise to the sark-glazed Jian tea bowls, which have remained in popular, and the “oil-spot” Jian bowl is still the most coveted tea bowl in Japan. Unlike the heavily oxidized teas we get used to today, most tea in Song were white or budding green, and the dark tea bowls create a pleasing contrast to elevate the visual effects.
Participants will also have the opportunities to make Dian Cha by themselves.
Join us for an experiential tea ceremony of the Song Dynasty to relive this thousand-year-long tea vogue.