After a deep, yet brief, weekend workshop with tea master Wu De at the beginning of 2012, I knew my tea practice would be forever changed. It’s always nice to pick up on as many nuances as possible as a student of the leaf. Wu De’s presence that weekend was so strong that it felt as if I were being gently led down a stream throughout the entire experience.
The workshop was a short discourse on Cha Dao | The Way of Tea. Being that I was already a fan and purveyor of Gongfu Tea, Cha Dao offered a level of intimacy with tea that I had been seeking when sharing at events. Granted, there are factors that must always be present when crafting a sacred space for a tea ceremony, but I had enjoyed doing my best to craft that space out of the most hectic of environments and events (think guerilla tea ceremony in the midst of thousands of attendees bustling through a giant artwalk).
Thankfully, I’ve been able to stay in touch with Wu De (his pen name is Aaron Fisher – check out the books he’s published) through a unique and extremely thoughtful tea-of-the-month club called Global Tea Hut. Each month, you receive a unique tea that was donated by the many tea farmers he knows, along with a 30-or-so-page newsletter and a unique gift. The thoughtfulness and care put into each padded envelope are nothing short of tremendous, and the teas are utterly stunning. There is no subscription fee to partake in the Global Tea Hut; instead, you simply make a donation directly to Wu De’s tea center in the mountains of Taiwan. Recently, I created a symmetrical photo of a solemn morning with a bowl and some leaves (that particular morning I was drinking a lovely sheng puerh from Laos) and from that bowl emerged a fish.