How common is it for a tea to have cha qi? I know good Da Hong Pao is definitely supposed to, & maybe other cliff teas. What about puer? I don't think I've read anything about puer having it but I've noticed it in one I've got. How common is it for tea to have qi in it? Do other types (green, white, etc) have it?
Post by Eric (Student) on May 29, 2010 18:54:27 GMT -8
I can only respond to this question from the perspective of a Westerner. My teacher Daniel Lui often refers to a tea as giving "energy". I understand the concept from my old martial arts training and familiarity with traditional Chinese medicine, but personally, I have to say like most Westerners I'm somewhat mystified at this aspect of tea appreciation.
There's not a shred of evidence in Western science that proves the existence of qi but I'm not prepared to say that definitively means it isn't there. There is some science from China that supports the notion of qi but it's still early days for definitive proof.
Perhaps it's just the caffeine but many Chinese tea drinkers I meet say it's something else. Da Hong Pao tea that you mentioned is particularly high in caffeine.
I think there is really something to Cha Qi, but I am also open-minded to the idea that it is our perception of something (e.g. good tea) that leads us to direct our internal energy in certain ways (whether consciously or not).
I think that it's a frequent occurrence that tea drinkers may mistake the effects of tea (caffeine, for ex) for qi. I also believe, however, that those that are mindful and sensitive to the tea's energy will feel the energy itself. There are many teas that are quite low on the caffeine scale that have a different energetic vibe to it, though. Old pu'ers, aged oolongs, etc may have tremendous amounts of qi. There was an article in the "Art of Tea" magazine several issues ago that talked about how advanced qigong practitioners can sense and redirect qi when drinking tea.
I was in Taiwan a couple of years ago when I was introduced to an oolong producer by a tea expert. I journeyed to central Taiwan and brought back some of the producer's tea that had just been processed. The tea expert and I shared a pot upon my return and he said that something was wrong with the tea, that the energy felt odd. He looked at pictures on my camera from my trip and noticed that there was a giant transmissions tower in one of the tea fields, the same field that this particular batch of tea was from. This tea master is the first person to teach me about tea qi, but he added that the qi isn't necessarily just from the tea, it can be a combination of the many factors of the environment, product and ourselves that coexist in the moment. Just one take from one expert; the world of tea is vast indeed.
Hello, as this is my first post here I would like to introduce myself. I am Neil Ripski and recently shared a long afternoon with Daniel talking about this very thing while we were drinking Da Hong Pao. At his request I am here to chat about one of my favorite things, gongfu cha. The concept of qi is very misunderstood by most people in the east and west alike. Although there are major schools of thought about it most only have the idea it is a mystical energy that is within the body. The two major schools of thought revolve around the taoist alchemical practices (this is the mystical "energy" side) and the method used in traditional chinese medicine (the more scientific side) Qigong practitioners fall under both categories.... The tcm view is that the character qi is describing a relationship between two things, any two things. Thus as two people drink tea and talk they have a conversational qi between them. When practicing qigong the players look deep into their bodies at the relationships within, the feet and knees, the hips and shoulders, the mind and body, etc. This deep understanding brings an awareness of the relationships within us and as such can create borderline 'mystical' feelings within. The Taoist alchemical side is more about mind intent (yi) leading the qi from within and around the body, in qigong practices like the xiao zhuo tian 小周天, the ind leads the qi throughout the body, where the yi (mind) leads the qi will follow. These ideas are not exclusive to one another and as such interact (a relationship...) creating the various experiences qigong players feel as well as tea drinkers. A powerful cha like da hong pao is very yang in nature and activates the yang aspect of the qi in the body. (Yang aspects include warmth, rising and clarity) When Daniel and I were drinking the cha I could feel a definite rising of the qi up the spine (du mai) which is where the yang qi of the body meets around the c7 vertabrae. I think that all living things of course have a qi and tea is no exception, the nurturing and care that goes into a gongfu cha including the quality and site of the tea's origin all become a part of the tasters relationship to the cha. Cha qi is just as palpable as fa qi or qigong. It just takes a quiet mind to detect it. If others cannot yet feel it they need to relax more and spend more time with themselves, of course that is what gongfu cha is for!
In my experience, there is such thing as cha chi, which is different from the effect of caffeine. I agree with rtea that cha chi is a combination of the many factors, but however, it is hard to attribute the different proportion of a tea's chi to each factor.
Even though I believe that cha chi is different from taoist chi and from tcm chi, they are connected in certain ways. I have friends who practice qigong and tcm, who are able to feel cha chi easier than others. I personally do not practice qigong or tcm, but I can feel the cha chi through my long time tea drinking experience.
Post by wellnessandbeing on Aug 19, 2011 7:11:28 GMT -8
Of course there is Cha Qi, there is Qi everywhere. By cultivating the space to listen/ feel/ taste into the Tea and observe the subtle changes in oneself, and others if with company and the immediate environment when imbibing it, it becomes easy to observe. Different types of Tea have specific directions of Qi flow in the body. For example, most white teas can be felt affecting the upper body - chest, down the medial aspect of the arm ( Lung meridian), and releasing blockages in the neck up to the head. This is in contrast to say a Pu'er that is warming and tonifies the lower part of the body. I find Oolongs can really vary. For example, a Phoenix can really open the heart and shen (spirit) and give a great sense of space widening in all directions around one. It is easier to connect with the larger universe. A Tie Guan Yin is really strengthening and grounding first in the middle of the body and then seems to vary in direction according to individual health. It is a great balancer. A nice rock tea is a little lower to initially start, but then comes and eases the heart and creates a peaceful centeredness. Also I find people are always amazed when using smelling cups how their cup changes in fragrance depending where they place it on their body. Even more so, smelling another persons after they've had it next to a part of their body, and noticing how different it is to their cup - and they've just been poured together.
Often when I make Tea for friends, I ask them where do they feel it in their body, and it doesn't take long for them to get a sense of how it's affecting them. This is nothing to do with caffeine as suggested in some earlier posts. Also, after the first wash or pour of a tea, all or nearly all of the caffeine is gone. Say out of one of my rock teas, I get at least 10 good teapot pourings, and if making it well maybe 12 or more, so if for those who visit me and get say from the 3rd making on, there is definitely no stimulate affecting as such. And yet, they will share with me where they feel themselves changing. Much to their surprise if they're not used to noticing/ paying attention to changes in their body/ mind.
It is such a delight to partake Tea with someone who is used to observing/ sensing/ being in the moment, and besides feeling the changes that happen inside, notice how the immediate environment changes from the influence of the tea being made. Yes, I realize this could sound 'trippy', but it's not for those who are practiced in Qigong or meditative practices where shifting into other states just by changing posture, breathing differently or focusing with a particular intention moves one into another state. We're used to observing our internal and external relationships.
The other day with one of my students we practiced making 3 different Japanese green teas. She was astounded on how all three affected her very differently. And that didn't include making a Matcha (totally different again even with just whisking it up and no ceremony). For those who love and have varied experience with the greens, I'm sure you would have noticed not just in taste, but how it feels in the body the difference of Japanese to Chinese greens. Yes, the time, order and processing methods is again different, but the Qi (energy) of where they are grown influences it immensely.
Just to finish, it goes without saying, it's not just the Tea, the water, the utensils and surrounds, the tea maker and state they are in whilst making it has a huge influence on the Cha Qi. But that's another rave...
ps. I do practice and teach Qigong, so making tea these days is for me another form of my daily Qigong practice.