Saturday 19th July and Sunday 20th July 2014 The ‘Chinese Gardens of Friendship‘ in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, became the venue for a tea appreciation weekend, named ‘Fragrant Cup’. The event was organised by New South Wales Governments, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
Over two day’s visitors to the gardens and attendees of the events, were treated to various aspects of Chinese tea culture. On Saturday 19th July, I had the pleasure, along with many others of attending a ‘Gong Fu Chinese Tea Ceremony’ which was presented and performed by Chistina Leung of Zensation Tea House, Surry Hills, Sydney. I must say Chistina had us all mesmerized by her performance and looked stunning in traditional dress. Being a cold winters day we all enjoyed the milky oolong she served to us, and the rolling of the warm cups in our hands. A great pleasure!
The afternoon found Suzi van Middelkoop offering an insight in to her families tearooms and the experience of running her own. Suzi of Tea By The Sea, then gave attendees tips on getting the most out of their tea and discussed various tea styles. Then she finished the afternoon off with a touch of gentle tea meditation.
Sunday morning and a winters chill was blowing through the gardens, with glimpses of sunshine breaking through. Even with these conditions, it didn’t put attendees off appearing for a presentation on the ‘History of Chinese Tea’ by myself, David Lyons. It was encouraging for me, to see so many people and great to see a mix of new faces and faces I recognised, including a group from the UNSW Tea Society. We all enjoyed some warm Chinese white, green, oolong and black teas, compliments of The Tea Centre, Sydney. It was a pleasure for me to be there, and talking about the history of tea, one of my great passions and in this case the amazing history of Chinese tea.
In the afternoon people arrived to experience the art of tea leaf reading, and appointments for readings soon filled. Suzi van Middelkoop and three other ladies conducted the readings and even though I didn’t attend one of the readings, I am assured by a friend who did, that it was very good. I wonder how many tall, dark, handsome strangers where lurking in those cups?
All in all, the weekend despite nature throwing its full wintry might at us, was a great success, with everyone taking a little sip from the ‘Fragrant Cup’.
“Thank You” to everyone who came along and helped make this event such a success.