The Second Annual ITCC Cup Warming at the Xiamen International Tea Fair was held before an audience with a voracious interest in tea. With distinguished presenters from China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Argentina, and France, the scores of attendees learned about and tasted 10 teas amid the sea of tea on display at the Fair.
ITCC Director Dan Robertson introduced the panel in turn, with translation provided by Vice Director (China) Daniel Hong and Qizhi Zhang doing yeoman’s work considering the variety of Chinese and English accents spoken. Seven countries were introduced and 10 teas presented and consumed in just under two hours. The program began with China, the host country. Mr. Huang Shuwei of Chaouzhou Chao An Propitious Cloud Tea explained the finer points of his award winning Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong oolong (Honey Orchid Fragrance). Mr. Ge of Hangzhou Genxiang Cha Chang, treated the attendees to a special Dragon Well (green tea) that was plucked from 100 year old bushes. Vice-Director (India) Rajiv Lochan presented two teas: an elegant Moonlight from Castleton tea estate and a robust 2nd flush Assam from the Halmari estate. Sensei Soren Biscaard enlightened the audience with details about Japanese teas and presented a flavorful Sen Cha and a splendid Gyokuro.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Mr. Sadath Perera elucidated about the different growing regions for Ceylon tea and presented a flowery example from the high-grown Nuwara Eliya district. Mr. Sushil Rijal of HIMCOOP a tea growers cooperative in Nepal spoke about the attributes of teas from the top of the world and the attendees sampled a flavorful black tea. Next came the presentation by Mr. Pedro Yang Chairman of the China Yerba Mate Association who introduced the group to Yerba Mate, the native drink from Argentina. Though not actually tea, Mate is consumed from dawn to dusk and traditionally sipped from a hollowed out gourd. Concluding the program was an introduction to French tea culture presented by Mr. Pierre Vrignaud, President of the French tea lovers society Vapours de the de Chine. He brought with him Marco Polo from Mariage Freres which symbolically brought things back to China.
Plans are already underway for next year’s Cup Warming. The International Tea Cuppers Club has also held an annual Cup Warming event at the World Tea Expo and members around the globe hold their own gatherings. ITCC also holds its unique Cupping Events , which focus on tasting and evaluating specific teas and regions. The next Cupping Event will investigate the prized spring-picked Japanese Shin Cha. Membership is open to all who have a passion for learning and appreciating tea. For more information on ITCC please visit www.teacuppers.com or call 630 961-0877.
Photo credit: Rajiv Lochan and Svitlana Moskalenko