Savoring the Chinese Art of Tea



The world’s leading tea-producing countries are China, India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Taiwan, Kenya and a few others. Tea brings people together, providing a social occasion to interact with others and enjoy their company. With Chinese teas, there is also the opportunity to savor many flavors and aromas of teas that come in a huge variety, including pu-erh and oolong, in different formats and containers, and also different times of harvest. Surprisingly, each type of tea comes from the plant Camelia sinensis. The distinction between green, white, black, oolong and pu-erh teas comes not from the type of plant, but rather from how the tea is prepared after the plant has been harvested and if it is the top leaves or the middle or lower part of the tea plant that is used, as well as the harvest season and the contour of the land.

Sheila Switzer always provides the best programs of any organization on planet Earth, and the lunches we enjoy in members’ homes put many five-star restaurants to shame with gourmet dishes to delight everyone’s palates.

Mrs. Yunhui Mao Singer hosted the AAFSW Chinese green tea presentation, explaining the variety of teas and their preparation, and allowing all of us to savor the several teas she prepared in original ceremonial tea pots and cups. It was a memorable Tea Ceremony for each one of us. A half dozen of us were welcomed to stay for more tea tasting, and we also left with a gift of a Chinese bag of tea to enjoy in our homes whenever we wanted.

We sampled many teas in tiny cups and brought the receptacles of fresh tea to our nostrils to smell the aroma of the tea that was just prepared. This was a very special tea ceremony with lots of information about the importance of tea in our lives. Chinese tea is meant to be enjoyed after or before a meal, and it is a gift from the tree of life to enjoy with the heart and soul along with family and friends.

As has become a tradition, an auction was also held at the event to benefit the AAFSW Crisis Fund, bringing in $30 from winners who went home with some delicious muffins. Thank you to our host and to Sheila Switzer for once again providing a fascinating and worthwhile lunchtime program.

Troella Tyznik