Sunday, May 8, 2011

tea time full of memories

We had visitors in our "under construction" new place. Old friends staying here for couple of days- long nights with beers and laugh. Sunny days with walks, chats and teas. One tea experience I have prepared for my friends was session with many personal memories for me. And now, few days later, sitting on my chair I am putting some pieces of those nice memories on my table. When I am looking at them now - all grows from Korea. Or being more precise from my Mungyeong experience on which  I had the opportunity to participate for three times. To make those reminiscences more interesting for you, dear reader, lets boil water, rise a camera and try to take some pictures...

First we have a tea bowl here. Recently it is my much-favoured matcha bowl. Here it symbolized people I met during the festival. Those people from which many of them I can call friends now. This piece was created by Elena Renker -Skilled potter from New Zeland. I love here works generally but with this one I knew from the first touch- I am going to like to prepare and drink tea from it.

Light and soft -those words are main but not only positive impresions which pop up in my mind when I am holding it. Very thin wall, sandy clay body with slim shino glaze- It is not "Japanese like" or "Korean like" but still very pleasant with whisked tea.

 Next part of the story is this Matcha...

In Korean you find word Malcha rather than Japanese Matcha. This one was made in Japan for Korean market. It contains 5% of ginseng powder. I saw using ginseng with powdered green tea many years ago here in Czech Republic. Korean tea master (and tea producer) was mixing ginseng and tea powder directly in to the bowl during his exhibition (He was invited to our country by local tea company to promote Korean way of tea) and he told us: "this is how we prepare Matcha in Korea" I was impressed! So years after, during my first visit of Korea, I was looking for this custom. I was not so successful -all Malcha we were treated to was without ginseng. And all my questions stayed without clear answers. 

Then I finally find something -Japanese matcha produced by bigger company called "greencha". It was explained to me that this is made only for Korean market so for sure the habit was not myth or custom of one Korean tea family. I was only not so lucky to meet people who prepare it this way. Anyway I brought few cans back to home and share it with tea drinkers around. If I should compare this special ginseng-matcha mixture with some good matcha I would probably use description of my friend.  He feels that "the ginseng makes it more complete." Earthy taste and energy of ginseng makes tea more "connected to ground". Your body feels good drinking it and your mind is still. Some orthodox matcha drinkers can find it to rough, without fine sweetness of high quality matcha but I like both. Unfortunately when I purchased the same product next year it was apparently made from tea of lower quality.  But as even 5% of ginseng changes it in way I like I enjoy every sip anyway.

Another piece on my table has come to our house like a present...

My  friend from Prague learns Korean tea ceremony from Sun Woo Park and she gave him few boxes of "tea ceremony sweets". And we were lucky to got one of them. What a nice savory before few sips of Malcha.

Made mainly from honey, dry fruits and rice - those cookies leave natural feeling in your mouth and prepare your stomach for malcha experience...

 The things you might not forget when thinking about spring in Mungyeong are threes in blossom -cherry three, apples or rose-bay. As reminder of it I put few blossoms in to the water. In to the woodfired, porcelain bowl with flowers frozen in ash glaze on it.

It was good idea to put those memories back on my table...thank you for reading.

By virtue of dear reader, I can show you here one of 
the new Elena’s chawans. Thank you Ho Go! Pleasant picture of compelling piece...


  1. and thank you for the wonderful post...

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  2. welcome Wuyi, glad that you like it. I belive that for native English speakers it have to a lot of fun to read my broken lenguage hahaha.

    Look forward to read your blog -I will keep my eye on it:)


  3. beautyful Elena's shino. Thanks for a link.

  4. Dear Petr,

    Having just returned from Korea, I can stimulate your memories a bit more. So many lovely memories of the long walk from the parking lot to the glorious Mungyeong exhibition park with the mountains on both sides of the small valley and the flowing, bubbling, river making its way down stream over the rocks and under the bridges that cross it. Finally, seeing the Joseon village and the large gateway leading to the main festival buildings. Cool, mountain air with drizzling rain and somewhat muddy path, my lungs are filled with the fragrance of this land.

    Many artists exhibiting this year that were not there last year as you know. Many new International potters with very good work. All in all a very good place to be for a few days.

    Speaking of Elena Renker, I also bought a chawan from her and I have asked her to work with me on my new teaware online shop. I love her tea bowls. For me, they are like shino raku. I would post a photo of her piece but I don't know how to do it or if I can on the blog.

    Many other good potters were there. Phil Rogers, Lisa Hammond, Rob Fornell, Peter Fulop, and, many others. You were noticeably absent and I complained to the organizer! Next year for sure!

  5. Dear Ho Go,

    Thank you for sharing your fresh memories. I am sure that visiting Mungyeong brought you many delightful moments. And I also look forward to be there again one day.

    I just enked my post by the picture of your new Elena's tea bowl. Thank you ! I hope your on-line galery will grow and make you happy.

  6. Petr,

    Your english is much better than my Czech...