THE DYING ART OF DRINKING CHINESE TEA 濒临失传的中国品茶文化

I was brought up drinking Chinese tea. Chinese tea was well… Chinese tea! I knew only one flavor: the one which I drank as a kid, pretty much like water, until I left home. I presumed everyone else had the same tea. So, it was a bit of a shock to me when I went to the UK to discover that Western tea imported from India or Sri Lanka had a wide variety of blends. I still can’t tell the difference between Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Darjeeling, let alone all the other exotic tea brands today!

But last week, I learned something. I dropped into a Chinese tea festival while in Singapore and savoured varieties of Oolong, Tikkun Yin, Pu’er poured from modern glass teapots into cute, ceramic oriental cups. The tea-master who served me was a young man called Christopher. He had spent over fifteen years learning about the varieties of tea in China- from the planting of different tea bushes, to the picking of tea leaves, to the fermenting and roasting processes. Impressive, I said. Pure passion, he replied. His one present focus is to persuade the millennials to drink tea! Which was why he and other young tea retailers like him were running the tea-tasting festival.

In the midst of the exploding coffee culture in the past twenty years, young Asians were now drinking less tea, especially Chinese tea! While trendy cafés and chic coffee roasters had sprung up all over the islands, teashops continued to attract only aging uncles and aunties. If the trend continued, Chris said, tea drinking would probably die out by the next generation. I thought hard about what he said that day, and realized that the church too is always only one generation away from extinction. If we don’t attract the young people today to “taste and see…” (Psalm 34:8) and to “drink freely of Him” (John 7:37), the church too, will soon be empty. How then, do we go out there so people can “taste” Jesus? For us, the tasting festival must happen everyday. In the workplace on weekdays and in the way we do church on Sundays!

从小到大,我一直有饮用中国茶的习惯。对我而言,中国茶就是…中国茶! 我只懂得它一种味道;就是我小时候喝过的,味道像水一样的中国茶,直到我离开家里。我以为其他人跟我一样,饮用着同样的中国茶。所以,当我去英国留学时发现从印度或斯里兰卡进口的西洋茶竟种类繁多,还真让我吃一惊。至今,我依旧无法喝出伯爵茶、英式早餐茶以及大吉岭茶之间的差别,更别说在那些市面上售卖的各种各样的茶叶品种了!

然而,在上个星期,我学会了一样新事物。我在新加坡时偶然地浏览了当时正在进行的一个中国茶展,那里的茶都是用充满现代气息的玻璃茶壶冲泡然后倒进精致的小瓷杯里,而我也有机会品尝了乌龙、铁观音、普洱等各个品种。那时招待我的茶师是一位名叫Christopher的年轻人,他花了足足15年的时间去专研中国茶文化-从种植不同品种的茶叶树,到茶叶的采摘方式,再到发酵的过程与炒茶的技术。好厉害,我赞叹说。他则回答,是百分百的热情驱使。他现在的唯一目标是想鼓励更多年轻人品茶!这也是他与其他年轻茶商协办这次茶展的原因。

过去20年,因咖啡文化的兴起,越来越少年轻的亚洲人会喝茶,尤其是中国茶!当无数的咖啡馆在世界各地开业,茶馆仍旧只能够吸引较年长的人来光顾。Chris 说,如果这个现象持续下去的话,这品茶文化很大可能在下一个年代就会完全失传。我认真地思考他说的那番话,发现原来在教会里,同样也面对这个问题:离灭绝只有一个年代之差。如果我们不去吸引年轻人去“尝尝主恩的滋味” (诗篇34:8) 并 “到祂那里喝” (约翰福音7:37), 教会最终会变得空空如也。那我们应该怎么做才能让世人“尝尝”耶稣呢?对我们而言,这“品尝祭”必须每天进行,平日在我们的职场里,还有在星期日我们如何进行崇拜!

Philip Lyn 医生牧师

By | 2018-10-02T11:51:39+00:00 September 30th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments