"Tea and people resonate with each other. If you want good tea, you will find it when you are ready. Actually, it will find you."
(Jar of award-winning Dong Ding from 1975)
My Dong Ding teacher pulled a box off of a high shelf in his house and showed it to me. I’ve learned that if he’s going to let me drink something, he’ll automatically offer it to me. If he doesn’t intend to serve it, my requests might instead earn me a lecture about greed. Or one about asking stupid questions.
I keep my mouth shut as he opens the box and pulls a jar out. I am salivating already, imagining what a legendary caliber of tea like this one will taste and smell like. He gently unties the red ribbon on the jar and removes the lid.
I peer inside and the tea is beautiful. Loose, ball-like shapes and a medium brown color that reminds me of caramel. It hasn’t been touched by fire for nearly 35 years. The tea is alive: it’s earthy, but sweet, bold and energetic. I snap a few pictures and my teacher smiles and quickly places the lids back on before returning the tea back to its shelf.
“Tea finds a person when that person is ready for it. A person is ready for it when his heart and mind are clear to understand the nature of the tea water.”
As I glance at the tea placed on the shelf high above me, I feel surprisingly relieved. How many wondrous brews have I chanced to encounter, and how many more are to come my way? The treasures of the tea world are vast, and there will be many more opportunities to see and try new things.
Drink good tea and enrich your life.