Tea & Teaware

All the proceeds support the creation of Light Meets Life!

Light Meets Life is the bigger future version of our current center, Tea Sage Hut. We plan to build Light Meets Life in the mountains nearby to Miao Li. Our current center hosts hundreds of guests a year. All food, lodging, tea and teachings are free. We operate on a pay-it-forward system. Light Meets Life will continue in that same spirit of giving. We hope to be able to host up to fifteen permanent residents and forty guests on any given day in the new center. The proceeds of this tea and teaware will be used towards the creation of Light Meets Life. Click on the pictures of any of the tea or teaware to see a full page of details!


Tea

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Please contribute what you can for this amazing 250g cake of tea. The minimum is US 108$ + shipping.
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Boundlessness is our sheng puerh cake for this year. It comes from wild, old-growth trees on Wuliang Mountain, which is some of the highest tea in Yunnan. Wu Lian g peaks at over 3,000 meters and our cake comes from old trees growing at around 2,000 meters. This tea was sourced by Master Tsai and Snow for us, who traveled to the region and chose this year’s sheng, watching to make sure the tea was picked from old trees and then carried back down the mountain for pressing. The tea was harvested from trees that are all two hundred or more years old. They are also all wild, seed-propagated, chemical-free and from rich biodiverse ecologies. Each cake was then stone-pressed by Snow’s friends in Kunming. Boundlessness is full and rich, uplifting with a stronger relationship to the sky due to the altitude. We find it sweet, with many floral notes, but with a depth and Qi that means it will also be a great candidate for aging. Our cost for this tea was around eighty dollars a cake, so the minimum donation is very affordable. We are hoping that some of you will contribute more, as is so often the case, and help us build our future Center together!
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Please contribute what you can for these ~ 200g hand-pressed cake of tea. The minimum is US 60$ + shipping.
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We were very lucky to get these four-year-old handmade tea bowls from Auntie Ai, letting us all taste what a few years can do to our beloved Mountain Gate. Also, these balls are completely handmade, including the compression. Rather than using a stone-press to make discuss cakes (bing), these balls are hand-compressed, which takes a long time and lends the tea more character. They were stored in Taiwan these four years, and have changed quite a lot. (Read more about Mountain Gate tea)

Due to inflation and rising prices in new puerh tea every year, this four-year-old Mountain Gate is actually cheaper per gram than the 2016 version is!

Each of these cakes comes hand-stamped with our own Guanyin Light Meets Life stamp on handmade rice paper. Every cake is a different weight, since they were all compressed by hand, but they are roughly 200 grams, give or take 10-15 grams. The minimum donation for each is 60$ +shipping.
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Please contribute what you can for this amazing 500g basket of tea. The minimum is US 60$ + shipping.
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Red Sun Rising is an amazing example of beautiful Qimen red tea. It comes from a rich, organic and biodiverse garden. All of this biodiversity plays a huge role in the health of the land, the trees, and, of course, the leaves used to make this precious tea. It is amazing to walk amongst the healthy hills, breathing fresh air, and to find such healthy and happy tea trees thriving in such glorious surroundings. Bending over, you could see that there was a teeming world beneath each tree, covered in moss and mold, insects and plants, all of which create the necessary biodiversity needed to make vibrant tea. We hope your cup fills you with such visions, each sip a breath of such clean mountain air.

We were also very impressed by the farmer’s dedication to organic farming. He told us that they had formed a local cooperative much like the one that Mr. Xie has formed, training farmers to use organic methods and then helping to sell some of their tea cooperatively after they have received certification. Our guide proudly pronounced that more than three hundred farmers have joined the cooperative so far!

Another unique thing about the farm where this tea was sourced is that all of the tea trees are seed-propagated, which is incredibly rare in this day and age. It is much easier for farmers to use cuttings, allowing for a uniformity that makes the farm easier to maintain and the leaves simpler to process. But as we have discussed in many issues, something natural, essential and deep is lost when the trees are not allowed to reproduce in a natural way—cross-pollinating, which creates a more vibrant, natural expression of the tea’s energy. As we walked amongst the trees, it was easy to see the result of this seed-propagation, since each and every tree was different: some had mutated to have reddish leaves, and they all were unique in size and shape as well.

The liquor of Red Sun Rising brews deep and red like its namesake. It is bold yet sweet, powerful like a dian hong, with much less strength and power, and an added delicacy and refinement that bring grace to the table. Most red teas are best enjoyed in large cups or bowls, but this tea is to be sipped, much like an oolong. The Qi is like a morning breeze—fresh and rising up the way a fine oolong does. Perhaps you taste Golden Thread in this tea. That’s because we had Red Sun Rising shipped to Taiwan in bamboo baskets like Liu An. This tea is best drunk on a clear and clean morning, with birdsong and a clear sky.

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Please contribute what you can for this amazing 250g cake of tea. The minimum is US 108$ + shipping.

Free tea box with hand-painted calligraphy included with every single cake!

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This is another very rare opportunity to drink some excellent old-growth puerh tea. This year we traveled to Jingmai with Master Tsai, who has a long-standing friendship with a local family. Snow, our guide, had already gone ahead a month earlier to make sure that we got fresh spring tea, and that they chose from older trees in the forest for our cakes. She supervised the entire process and collected the tea back to Kunming right away. Our cakes are all from old trees, ranging in age from 200 to 800 years.

The tea is stunning, with a powerful and vibrant Qi that takes you directly to the forest. These trees speak old languages we’ve all but forgotten. This is amongst the most powerful teas we’ve ever tried.

The Jingmai tea growing area covers the Lancang County villages of Jingmai and Mangjing. This stretch of 10,000mu cultivated ancient tea gardens has upwards of a thousand years of history. Scholars believe the Jingmai tea mountain was first cultivated over 1200 years ago in 696 C.E. by the ancestors of the Bulang people. The next several dynasties saw a succession of tea planting, leading to the current scale of cultivation. The Jingmai Old-Growth Tea Garden is one of the largest conservatories for old tea trees in the world. It is, furthermore, completely protected and one-hundred percent organic, living tea. In all of our travels in Yunnan, we have never visited a place with a greater concentration of tea trees. Unlike the tall trees in Ai Lao, which are very unique due to the altitude and deciduous nature of the forest, the trees in Jingmai are the more typical jungle/rainforest kind of tea tree, with twisted fairy-tale trunks and branches covered in mold, fungus, vines and other species like Crab’s Claw, which we had the fortune to add to a bowl or two. The forest here sings of tea—a song that we hope you hear through these pages!


The minimum contribution for one of these amazing 250g cakes is 108USD. You are welcome to donate anything beyond that, knowing that it will help bring us closer to building our new center! This price does not include shipping, which will be quoted to you and depend on your country. If you are interested in having one of these 200 cakes or have any questions that weren’t answered here, please contact us.

Teaware

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Please contribute what you can for this amazing teapot. The minimum is US 175$ + shipping.
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Ju Lun Ju is our favorite shape of teapot, as it is most-beloved by most all the tea teachers we know and study with. The round body makes them good for any kind of tea. We asked the potters to make ours a little taller, so that they would literally be a compromise for all kinds of tea. This simple, rustic style of pot is intentionally left unfinished: the lids often wobble, the insides are crude and all is left unadorned. We feel that this best suites the spirit of Tea, which should be a celebration of the simple, ordinary life and the natural beauty in imperfection. The open spout means you have much greater control over the pour of the pot, allowing for a greater freedom of speed and distance, which becomes important for different kinds of tea as you become more sensitive.

They say that one of the best aesthetics for tea is a “royal steed tethered to a thatched hut,” which refers to the juxtaposition of something elegant and fine with simple, rustic materials. To celebrate this, we had the Heart Sutra handcarved on each of these pots, adding some spirit and grace to what would otherwise be very simple. We had to hire an eighty-year-old carver, long since retired, to carve the pots as the young carvers don’t know how to do the entire Heart Sutra by hand anymore. The tradition of carving calligraphy, and the Heart Sutra in particular, onto Yixing pots dates back centuries. The carving is done by different artists than the pot-makers and is a discipline of mastery in its own right. Ordinarily, carving or three-dimensional decoration decreases the quality of tea you can prepare with a pot, but for some reason this influence is not there so pronouncedly with the Heart Sutra. Master Lin always shrugs his shoulders at this and smiling, saying that the Heart Sutra is the only carving he’d want on a pot. We will include Wu De’s translation of the Heart Sutra, which he worked on for over a decade, and which we chant almost every day at the Center, with each pot.

There are four pots this year. Each are made from genuine, old Yixing ore mined from Yellow Dragon Mountain. The zisha pots are made from forty-year-old clay. We have two zisha, purple clay, and two hongni, or red clay. One of each is fired in an electric kiln and the other two are wood-fired. In other words, we have a wood and electric-fired version of each clay. Please be aware the Ju Lun Ju teapots are rustic and quaint. The wood-fired pots were fired in traditional dragon kilns. They are meant to be “wabi,” or gloriously imperfect. They are intentionally left unfinished and rustic, as this is the aesthetic of humility. Also, each pot is handcrafted and so is unique, as are the carvings. The wood-fired pots likewise vary in color and darkness depending on which place in the kiln they occupied. (If you want to choose one of these pots, you’ll have another good reason to visit the Center.) Finally, some of you will surely ask about how to hold a Ju Lun Ju lid, as it has a flat button. But it also has thick sides for this reason, and that is how you hold it (as shown in the photographs). These pots are 13-140 ml.
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Please contribute what you can for this amazing teapot. The minimum is US 175$ + shipping.
More Details...
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Ju Lun Ju is our favorite shape of teapot, as it is most-beloved by most all the tea teachers we know and study with. The round body makes them good for any kind of tea. We asked the potters to make ours a little taller, so that they would literally be a compromise for all kinds of tea. This simple, rustic style of pot is intentionally left unfinished: the lids often wobble, the insides are crude and all is left unadorned. We feel that this best suites the spirit of Tea, which should be a celebration of the simple, ordinary life and the natural beauty in imperfection. The open spout means you have much greater control over the pour of the pot, allowing for a greater freedom of speed and distance, which becomes important for different kinds of tea as you become more sensitive.

They say that one of the best aesthetics for tea is a “royal steed tethered to a thatched hut,” which refers to the juxtaposition of something elegant and fine with simple, rustic materials. To celebrate this, we had the Heart Sutra handcarved on each of these pots, adding some spirit and grace to what would otherwise be very simple. We had to hire an eighty-year-old carver, long since retired, to carve the pots as the young carvers don’t know how to do the entire Heart Sutra by hand anymore. The tradition of carving calligraphy, and the Heart Sutra in particular, onto Yixing pots dates back centuries. The carving is done by different artists than the pot-makers and is a discipline of mastery in its own right. Ordinarily, carving or three-dimensional decoration decreases the quality of tea you can prepare with a pot, but for some reason this influence is not there so pronouncedly with the Heart Sutra. Master Lin always shrugs his shoulders at this and smiling, saying that the Heart Sutra is the only carving he’d want on a pot. We will include Wu De’s translation of the Heart Sutra, which he worked on for over a decade, and which we chant almost every day at the Center, with each pot.

There are four pots this year. Each are made from genuine, old Yixing ore mined from Yellow Dragon Mountain. The zisha pots are made from forty-year-old clay. We have two zisha, purple clay, and two hongni, or red clay. One of each is fired in an electric kiln and the other two are wood-fired. In other words, we have a wood and electric-fired version of each clay. Please be aware the Ju Lun Ju teapots are rustic and quaint. The wood-fired pots were fired in traditional dragon kilns. They are meant to be “wabi,” or gloriously imperfect. They are intentionally left unfinished and rustic, as this is the aesthetic of humility. Also, each pot is handcrafted and so is unique, as are the carvings. The wood-fired pots likewise vary in color and darkness depending on which place in the kiln they occupied. (If you want to choose one of these pots, you’ll have another good reason to visit the Center.) Finally, some of you will surely ask about how to hold a Ju Lun Ju lid, as it has a flat button. But it also has thick sides for this reason, and that is how you hold it (as shown in the photographs). These pots are 13-140 ml.