In the presence of such a venerable, old tea, time becomes a distant construct. It’s only after looking down at an empty cup do we feel the profound debt we owe to the tea that taught us so much. Such a rare tea warrants listening to the tea fully, with ears and eyes open. So after a full session of tea, when the steepings last longer than how long one can comfortably sit still in a chair, we look to other methods.
We decided to save the tea for the next day. These leaves have a longevity that is unmatched. Boiling the spent leaves allowed us to hear a different song the tea had to offer, making sure to listen deeply. I brought over an earthen stove that I handmade with the soil from my grandmother’s home in rural Bangladesh. A heap of charcoal cast dancing lights on the dried mud inside it.
The fire roared and steam hissed as we threw back the old 1950’s Raw Liu Bao leaves we previously spent an entire day brewing. Crouching over an aged tea boiling away on a stove that was meant for another era made the humble patio of TSHOP feel more like the tibetan plateaus. In other cultures, distant from the land of bright lights and sleep deprived citizens, men and women still crouch over stoves very much the same way, boiling away jet black teas. Boiling tea imparts a very different sense of wonder and I am grateful we have such strong leaves that hold up to the task. It’s a good idea to boil tea leaves of aged tea or Heicha to breathe new life into it. It’s a completely different flavor than making tea in a teapot. Considering how expensive this tea is, it is a good opportunity to practice using something as fully as possible, not wasting a single drop.
The tea liquor remained a vibrant color, even after it was subjected to so many steepings. This Raw Liu Bao simultaneously cooled the body and warmed the core in waves. The energy still professed the same love through slow waltz as it did before. It was every bit as powerful. Everything in the world felt much brighter.
I appreciate all this tea has taught me. It’s endearing warmth continues, even today, as I write now, a week after it was first brewed. Thinking about how expensive this tea is, I feel good that it lasts so long. It is a clear how valuable this treasure truly is.
I hope you all well on your own tea journeys. When rare opportunities to listen to an old tea come across your way, remember to slow yourself, listen, and listen fully.