For those of you who've been invited to my private tea room in Oakland, CA, I want to let you know that if you're in Beijing and I'm around, you're invited to tea in my private tea sanctuary in my backyard here! I had a traditional ting (a pagoda-like structure in classical Chinese gardens) built during my last visit and saw it for the first time when I arrived here this month.
All thanks to Mr. Yang Wu, who oversaw the project while fighting cancer! He had the work crew clean and remove a lot of overgrown vegetation (my backyard looked like a jungle during my last visit), pave with slate tiles and plant bamboo and cherry and Chinese date trees. All was done within a couple of months after I visited him in the hospital last spring.
Yang joked that he asked the doctor if he could switch hospitals and the doctor said no, so I asked, what hospital did you want to move to? He said, a mental hospital because I'm going crazy in here! Anyway, he negotiated a treatment plan that allowed him to come home and only go to the hospital for a few hours a day. He oversaw the rebuilding of my backyard during his time at home. The man is amazing!
Today for the first time, I banished the wife and daughter from my private ting and cupped 13 samples of tie guan yin that arrived yesterday. I found several very interesting possibilities, including a fine Jade Tie Guan Yin I am leaning towards approving. I'm going back to Ma Lian Dao (Beijing's wholesale tea area) to test out every tie guan yin I can find and will let you know what I think afterwards.
Samples of tie guan yin ready to be cupped in the new tea sanctuary in my Beijing back yard.