Remember “Daniel” whom I met at Momo & Moomoo? He very generously passed me a copy of The Tea Bone Zen Mind Manual of Tea that he helped put together with another tea lover (“Joshua”).
While the tea scene in Singapore is not terribly vibrant (yet), I feel pretty stoked that such a gorgeous (see above), nifty book on tea can come out of this small island thanks to a few passionate tea souls. Both Daniel and Joshua painstakingly went through ancient Chinese tea texts and distilled their findings, thoughts and experiences in a well-organised, accessible manner.
The book is just over 120 pages long, but has some really interesting information on:
- Tea appreciation: Their sensible philosophy for enjoying tea (e.g. being alive to your senses, being real) can be applied to life in general. I especially like this line they cited from philosopher, Li Ao. “The brewing of tea is an expression of one’s nature and only needs to follow one’s subjective self.”
- Teas to try: The writers are objective in their recommendations – BOH Premium Gold Tea Bag is on the list ;)
- The best water for tea: Ideally, spring water from Huishan, Suzhou. Realistically, SPA Reine and Volvic for us city dwellers. The writers actually did a taste test using different mineral water brands to brew tea with!
- Chinese tea history: Did you know that the Chinese bartered tea for Tibetan war horses? Yee hah.
The writing in this manual is balanced and down-to-earth, and there’s none of that hokey-pokey orientalism that sometimes seeps in with similar books that focus on Chinese teas. For tea lovers, it’s definitely a resource worth investing in.
The Tea Bone Zen Mind Manual of Tea is sold at Tea Bone Zen Mind (20 Hoot Kiam Road, Tel: 6334-4212) for S$50.