Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Quick Note: Tea Tour Korea is Coming- May 2013

This is the first of a series of posts leading to Tea Tour Korea 2013.  It will also be one of the last tea tours we personally host so we want to make this tea tour as culturally rich as possible.  To that end, Tea Tour Korea 2013 will be a 'complete' tea tour with exceptional perhaps unparalleled tea and teaware experiences.  It will include:  1. Visits to selected Korean artisan tea producers,  2. Visits to selected Korean teaware artists,  3. The History of Korean Tea,  4. Meeting Important figures in the contemporary Korean Tea world,  5.  Participating in Korean Tea Ceremonies, 6. Witnessing tea being produced, 7.  Producing our own teas and  8. Investigating artists who make Tea related items     
Tea Tour Korea 2013 will be a non-profit tour hosted by us at Morning Crane Tea and Morning Earth Korea. 
Anyone can take you to Korea and introduce you to some people who make tea by hand and some ceramic artists who make teaware.  We have been told that no one else can give you the depth of a Korean tea experiences Tea Tour Korea 2013 will provide.  We will select from hundreds of possible choices the best tea producers, the best teaware artists, introduce you to some of the most significant figures in contemporary Korean Tea, take you into tea factories and have artisan tea producers teach you how to make various teas.  It is not just nokcha anymore.  You will meet personally with tea artisans who make jakseol, hwangcha, balhyocha, hongcha and ttokcha (possibly even matcha).  In addition, you can't leave Korea without experiencing some of their herbal teas.    
Will we have a temple stay?  Yes!  Will we visit Jejudo? Yes!  Will we go to historic sites? Yes!  Will we visit teashops in Seoul? Yes!  Will we visit onggi potters? Yes!  This list would in itself be a great tour to Korea but with the exception of Jejudo, they are add-ons to Tea Tour Korea 2013.  
We are waiting for the date of the Mungyeong Teabowl Festival to be announced to confirm our Tea Tour Korea 2013 dates.  That festival may be the most exciting teabowl festival in Asia.  Tea Tour Korea 2013 will be open to no more than 8 guests and we have some waiting on that list now -  including some who were with us in 2011.  Why would they return?  They have told us Tea Tour Korea 2011 was the most comprehensive tea tour they have ever experienced and while some of our visits will be the same, Tea Tour Korea 2013 will expand on the 2011 tour and will be even more comprehensive. 
Have you read Madeleine's post? Are you interested in joining us or learning more?  Contact us.  
Are you looking for illustrations?  Please wait for the follow up posts.  Those posts will not be found here but will be on the blog Tea Tour Korea 2013.  Follow that blog to learn more as Tea Tour Korea 2013 becomes a reality.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tom's Moldy Pu-erh: What Would You Do?

For a number of years I have been interested in tea and teaware.  I enjoy a wide variety of teas including pu-erh.  There is a particular large 'black oil' pu-erh made by a Korean master in Yunnan but sold in Korea that I particularly enjoy.  But what little expertise I have regarding teas is limited to Korean teas.  That limited knowledge didn't seem to bother my friend Tom.  Tom had been to China and became interested in pu-erh tea.  Tom lives in Georgia in a fairly damp climate.  He is often plagued with mold in his home. Recently he called me to ask what he should do with the mold he is getting on his pu-erh.  I guess he thought I could help.  I told him I couldn't be of much help on this subject.  I called a friend who knows teas quite well but he too couldn't help because he knows how to prevent the mold and has never had to deal with it.  So I'm hoping some of you readers can help.

As you can see the mold is gray not the yellow mold that I'm told can be toxic.  I have also heard that one can simply brush it off with a dry toothbrush.
But 'common sense' tells me there is more to this situation than simply 'brushing it off".  Wouldn't that affect the taste of the tea?   In addition that won't solve his general moldy tea problem.  I suggested that Tom buy a dehumidifier for his house  and that If he does 'brush off' the tea that he should also blow it off with his air-gun to get rid of any mold pores that will remain on the tea after the brushing.  But basically, I'm wondering if he shouldn't just throw the tea away and take precautions to prevent it in the future.  Of course there is the other big issue for Tom.  He bought the tea while in China and really hates to throw it away.  What would you do?
Here is a closer look.

Here is an even closer look.
So, what would you do?